You already have heard that physical exercises help in decreasing cholesterol levels. Physical exercises may help you to achieve healthy cholesterol levels in two ways:
By decreasing triglycerides levels
By elevating HDL (good cholesterol)
Regular physical exercise may decrease triglycerides levels by up to 40%, and may increase HDL levels (good cholesterol) up to 8 mg/dl, as stated by Patrick Mcbride, MD, MPH, and director UW Hospital and Clinics' Preventive Cardiology program.
A new study from the Virginia University concluded that weight training only lowers cholesterol levels by a small amount, however its impact is strong enough to decrease heart disease risk. In this study the researchers found a significant drop of 3 percent in total cholesterol, a 5 percent in LDL (bad cholesterol), and 6 percent drop in triglycerides, which cause a large impact on heart disease risk.
While these numbers look significant, the weight loss caused by weight training leads to the improvement in cholesterol levels. Future studies need to focus on differentiating the weight loss effect and the real effect caused by specific training protocols as on cardio and weight training.
It is common knowledge of the majority of the people that losing weight is good for our health and that lowering cholesterol level is essential for an increase in lifespan. But it is not necessary to bulk up to experience the benefits of weight training. In fact if you are an average person you may want to go for the lean muscle look, where you may actually feel healthier without suffering any injuries. For the lean outcome you need the right balance in between cardio and weight training. Building muscle does increase your metabolism and will recruit more of your fat storage to be used in order to maintain these muscles. That's why it is essential to weight train. But don't forget the cardio exercises, even better if performed as interval training. Biking, treadmill, or elliptical machine, any of these can help you achieve proper cardiovascular health.
Weight and interval training associated with healthy eating habits (the latest by itself is enough talk for another article), will improve your lean muscle mass and endurance, lower your cholesterol and triglycerides levels, decrease chances for injuries due to lack of activity, and help you live healthier. Now that's what being truly fit is about.