How Men Can Delay Normal Spikes In Cholesterol By Up To 15 Years

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Men who keep fit may find they delay normal age-related increases in blood cholesterol levels by up to 15 years, a new study suggests.

It is common for cholesterol levels to rise with age and then decrease later in life, the study authors explained in background notes. Previous studies have shown that high cholesterol levels can be a risk factor for heart disease. Regular physical activity can lower this risk, the researchers said.

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“Exercise and being fit helps keep arteries clear by lowering ‘bad’ [LDL] cholesterol and boosting ‘good’ [HDL] cholesterol,” explained study author Dr. Xuemei Sui, an assistant professor at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C.

“It also reduces other risk factors for atherosclerosis [narrowed arteries] and blood clots, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and stress,” Sui said.

The study was published online May 11 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

For the study, Sui and colleagues used data from health examinations performed during the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas. The long-term study ran from 1970 to 2006, and included just over 11,400 men, aged 20 to 90. Each took an exercise test on a treadmill to determine their baseline aerobic fitness level.

Researchers measured total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides (another type of blood fat), HDL cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol (the total cholesterol level minus the good HDL cholesterol) in study participants.