According to a new study, doing exercise improves your cholesterol profile, even in the absence of weight loss. Researchers from Duke University have shown how exercise affects the level of 'good' and 'bad' cholesterol in the body. Cholesterol is transported throughout the body attached to protein molecules, the combination being known as lipoprotein. High levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL or 'bad' cholesterol) are linked to heart disease, while high density lipoprotein (HDL or 'good' cholesterol) is said to be protective.
The researchers studied 75 sedentary overweight men and women, dividing them into four groups. One undertook high-amount/vigorous exercise, the equivalent of jogging for 20 miles a week. Another did low-amount/vigorous exercise, the equivalent of 10 miles a week. A third did low-amount/moderate intensity exercise, as if they were doing 10 miles of brisk walking a week. The fourth group did no exercise.
At the end of the study, the participants who had taken exercise had far better cholesterol profiles than those who did not. Indeed, not exercising was actually linked to a deterioration in cholesterol profile. The amount, rather than the intensity, of exercise seems to be the deciding factor. So if you are sedentary, move just a little to improve your cholesterol.