Exercise and Dyslipidemia

Dyslipidemia refers to abnormal levels of blood fats or “lipoproteins”, the carriers that move fat around the body. The most common dyslipidemias are high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) and HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol). This can lead to other chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

How does exercise help?

Adults with cardiovascular disease and are overweight/obese, regular exercise can:

  • Decrease triglyceride levels
  • Produce increases in HDL cholesterol 

Benefits on cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels are often greater with dietary changes or a combination of exercise and diet than exercise alone. Despite this, exercise alone has other benefits for individuals with dyslipidemia such as:

  • Assisting with weight loss and management
  • Improving cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Improving cardiovascular disease risk

What exercise is best?

Aerobic exercise is beneficial for the management of dyslipidemia and also improves your heart health, blood vessels and cardiorespiratory fitness. Examples may include:

  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Team sports

Resistance exercise is beneficial for improving dyslipidemia and promoting healthy muscles and bones. Examples may include:

  • Weightlifting
  • Body weight exercises
  • Resistance band exercises
  • Circuit training

You should strive to achieve 150-300 minutes of aerobic exercise a week at a moderate intensity. Aim to do resistance exercise on 2-3 non-consecutive days per week.

Make sure you choose activities within your physical capabilities to avoid any risk of injury. If you have any questions or concerns about starting an exercise program that is right for you, seek guidance from your medical practitioner and a referral to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.