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National Cholesterol Awareness Month 2019

National Cholesterol Awareness Month 2019

October marks an important time, National Cholesterol Awareness Month 2019!

Everyone has cholesterol! It is a fatty substance made in your liver and found in your blood. Maintaining healthy cholesterol is an important factor to keep our bodies functioning correctly, but too much bad cholesterol can be unhealthy.

There are two types of cholesterol – good and bad. Having high levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol can be caused by unhealthy lifestyle habits, which leads to fatty deposits in your blood vessels. This makes it harder for blood flow and can form blood clots, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. High levels of ‘good’ cholesterol keeps a healthy balance and takes the bad cholesterol back to the liver so it can be broken down and removed from the body.

Regular exercise, a healthy balanced diet and occasionally medication can help maintain healthy cholesterol by strengthening your heart, lower bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol in your body.

Let’s take a look at the guidelines to maintain your cardiovascular fitness and maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

The American College of Sports Medicine guidelines recommend adults to participate in moderate intensity aerobic physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week. If you break this down, adequate exercise can be achieved in thirty to sixty minutes of moderate intensity exercise for five days per week. Or, twenty to sixty minutes of vigorous intensity three days per week. This can easily be achieved no matter what lifestyle you are living, and can fit in to your busy schedule!

Resistance training is great for building muscle, strength and enhancing your lipid profile. A progressive weighted or resistance band exercise programme will help you achieve your fitness goals! Training major muscle groups two to three times per week will help us adults gain strength and improve fitness.

Think about activities such as walking, running, cycling, swimming, step machine, treadmills etc. there are plenty to choose from, you just need to think about what works best for you!

If this is new for you, start with short bouts of training and slowly progress to longer time. It may be you are exercising for about fifteen to twenty minutes.

  • Do not forget to include a five minute warm up and cool down.
  • Moderate activity level – you are slightly breathless, however you can still hold a conversation during activity.
  • Vigorous activity level – you feel breathless enough that you cannot sing a song.

Things to help along the way…

  • Keep hydrated – Drink plenty of water!
  • Wear appropriate footwear.
  • Get family or friends involved to keep you motivated.
  • Record your exercise to help stay motivated and to see progress– distance/time/how you felt during exercise.
  • Mix it up a little! – think of trying new activities, exercise groups and health clubs in your community.

Remember, take control of what you can control! HAPPY EXERCISING!

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