This month’s topic is based around cholesterol, a subject I wrote about a couple of years ago but I still get many people asking for information in relation to this very important naturally produced steroid. First of all though, many thanks to the feedback to last month’s editorial on ‘Exercise and Fluids’, hopefully the knowledge gained will help some of my clients change from the alcoholic variety to the non-alcoholic type!!!! As with so much of our language the word ‘lipid’ is derived from the Greek word lipos, meaning fat, which obviously makes sense. Lipids come in various forms, including cholesterol and triglycerides, and problems start when the levels in the blood stream become too high due to the regular physiological abuse of our own bodies, in other words our own lifestyle can affect the levels of cholesterol.
Exercise and Blood Lipids (fats & Cholesterol)
Moderate alcohol intake
Effective stress busters
In-effective stress busters
Which lifestyle suits you?????
Contrary to popular opinion cholesterol is a very necessary and vital component of cell walls, organelles and specialised tissue products, and as such is very important for tissue repair and maintenance. In order for lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) to be transported in the blood they need to be attached to protein, hence the term ‘lipoprotein’. Cholesterol is divided into two main types, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), good cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), bad cholesterol. In simple terms, high levels of LDL and low levels of HDL are bad, and lower levels of LDL and higher levels of HDL are good.
LDL- bound cholesterol
The low-density lipoproteins are part of the process for transportation of cholesterol to the tissues. Raised levels of LDL can lead to an accumulation of lipids on artery walls, causing the growth of atherosclerotic plaque. This plaque progressively narrows the artery and in time will restrict the flow of blood to the heart’s coronary arteries and a much higher risk of a coronary incident.
HDL- bound cholesterol
High-density lipoproteins positively act as a vehicle for the removal of excess blood-borne lipids, taking them to the liver to be metabolized, which of course is want we want. A blood profile, therefore, that shows a high level of HDL and a low level of LDL will significantly reduce the risk of developing atherosclerotic heart disease and subsequent MI (myocardial infarction), i.e. heart disease.
The effect of exercise on cholesterol
Higher levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), tend to be found in those who live a bad lifestyle, especially the sedentary and overweight. By combining better nutrition with regular exercise, you are more likely to see a reduction in adverse blood lipoproteins, and reduce the build-up of atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries, therefore less likely to suffer coronary conditions and other related illnesses.
As far back as 1909 the then ‘English Education Authority’s Syllabus” for teaching physical education included a reference by the author Leonard Hill, in which he stated:
‘’There is no lesson which needs to be learnt by man, for it was known by the ancient Greeks: healthy mental development cannot advance without muscular development. Let the indolent women and the hard work semptress scrub floors and the lazy man or hard-worked scholar dig the ground for two hours a day and half the medical profession would starve for lack of patients’’.
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