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Change Your Lifestyle, Improve Your Cholesterol Part 2

Not many people realise just how beneficial to your health doing regular exercise is for your body.
Anything other than just sitting or lying down all contributes to physical activity that is good for our hearts and ultimately us. By participating in some form of movement it will help to raise high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol, known in the medical world as “good” cholesterol.
As with anything that is outside of your normal habits to date, a quick consultation with your doctor at Mountain Medical Centre will ease your mind as to how much you should do and for how long. Your doctor knows your body and knows how much extra exercise you can take, so seeking his/her advice will put your mind at ease. 10 – 30 minutes a day for at least five times every week is a good workout for you. Or, you could be more active in this area by attending a dance class such as Zumba, ballroom, line-dancing or Samba or anything similar and really go for it for at least 20 minutes three times a week.
A safe side-effect from all of this new activity will also help you to start on a weight loss programme. Here are some of our thoughts on physical exercise to make it less of a chore and more fun:

  • Taking part in a team sport that you really enjoy
  • Investing in a bicycle will encourage you to bike to and from work every day
  • Using your lunch hours as THE time every day to go for a swift walk

Sometimes it might be necessary to encourage a friend along to either walk with you or to exercise with. That way you have someone to talk to during your activity time, thereby making time go faster; and at the end you will not even notice the distance or time, however, your body will feel the difference.
Quit Smoking
Who would have thought that even by reducing and even quitting smoking would improve the level of your HDL cholesterol?
Benefits can be felt very quickly! Like within 20 minutes!

  • After only 20 minutes, blood pressure and heart rate recovery is improved.
  • Within the first three months, blood circulation is far more active and your breathing would have improved tremendously.
  • Within that first year, your risk of potential heart disease will have been halved as against measuring it when you were a full-time smoker

Weight Loss
What you take into your mouth adds to the extra kilos your body carries. It doesn’t take very much and suddenly you are a balloon. Getting rid of those extra kilos is a little more difficult, however, with persistence your cholesterol levels will improve heaps by you just shedding the extra weight. You don’t have to be drastic about it either. Start with small baby steps

  • Replace sugary drinks with filtered tap water
  • Snacks could include pretzels or air-popped popcorn – do not over-indulge
  • Sweet cravings can be replenished by eating sweets with little or no fat – jelly beans are good
  • Purposefully seek out ways of moving around – e.g. take the stairs at work and not use the lift; park further away from your place of work so that the walk to get there is longer; stand more often while cooking; mow your own lawns and weed your own garden rather than get in contractors; walk during office breaks

The Taking In of Alcohol
Too much alcohol can lead to

  • Higher risk of cholesterol problems
  • Addiction
  • Strokes
  • Heart failure
  • High blood pressure
  • Losing your driver’s licence
  • Mental strain
  • Developing violence towards friends or vulnerable family members
  • Passing out and not knowing what went on for several minutes or hours of your day
  • Stress on your body and brain

Accept the consequences and be conscious of drinking less no matter what your age. Alcohol is what it is, and it can be mind-numbing.
We at Mountain Medical Centre are here to advise you and to help remedy your cholesterol problems whether through medication, advice or through counselling. Whatever path needs to be taken, make sure you keep up with your lifestyle changes to help boost the effectiveness of prescription drugs, if you need them.

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