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Does cardio work like biking lower your cholesterol?

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Does cardio work like biking lower your cholesterol?

Old 04-27-05, 06:38 PM
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I just had a physical two weeks ago before I decided to get into biking, anfeverything is good for a 44 year old ex-jock who wasn't really working out, just walking alot (BP 100-70).

The only thing was my cholesterol was a bit high at 250 ( I like good food, unfortunately). My doctor now has me on a diet low on fats and more veggies, but i'd like to know if biking helps fight heart disease and bad cholesterol?
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Old 04-27-05, 06:48 PM
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Definite yes on the heart disease part, but mixed on the cholesterol part. I've been told by several specialists, who I know mainly from cycling, that a lot of the cholesterol picture is a function of family genetics and diet. Some apparently are just inclined to have higher levels of cholesterol, but diet and excercise can both lower and control it. Some can eat whatever they want and never have a problem with it, no matter what their level of fitness is.

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Old 04-27-05, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Sincitycycler

The only thing was my cholesterol was a bit high at 250 ( I like good food, unfortunately). My doctor now has me on a diet low on fats and more veggies, but i'd like to know if biking helps fight heart disease and bad cholesterol?
sydney only partakes of proletarian grub. sydney's vet is totally blown away by sydneys lack of any symptoms of advanced age.Maybe it's just good genetics YMMV.
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Old 04-27-05, 06:56 PM
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I ride anywhere from 7500 to 10,000 miles in a year. I just had my cholestrol checked and it was way high. I don't eat great all the time, but I don't eat terrible either. Stupid genetics.
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Old 04-27-05, 07:42 PM
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Diet and genetics play a huge roll in cholesterol. Doesn't matter how hard you exercise if you don't eat right.
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Old 04-27-05, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Sincitycycler
I just had a physical two weeks ago before I decided to get into biking, anfeverything is good for a 44 year old ex-jock who wasn't really working out, just walking alot (BP 100-70).

The only thing was my cholesterol was a bit high at 250 ( I like good food, unfortunately). My doctor now has me on a diet low on fats and more veggies, but i'd like to know if biking helps fight heart disease and bad cholesterol?
Unfortunately diet and exercise will only lower your LDL (the bad stuff and the cholesterol linked to heart disease) a small amount maybe something like 3-8 % at most, but there is no way to tell until it is tried as some people show more dramatic results. Your LDL number is also the cholesterol that your doctor will use to guide your treatment, in many ways it may be more important to know this than your total cholesterol number. The good news is that it wasn't so high that he/she started you on cholesterol lowering drugs at this time, although that may be an option in the future. Also your BP looks great.

The plus side to riding your bike is that it can raise your HDL (the good cholesterol, you want a number over 40 for HDL), while also controlling your weight, as being heavy can contribute to high blood pressure and diabetes (although both of these also have a strong genetic component as well).
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Old 04-27-05, 07:51 PM
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for me it was losing weight that dropped my cholesterol levels. I have lost 115lb in 4 years, and my cholesterol levels are now within normal, and so is my blood pressure and my glucose levels..
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Old 04-27-05, 07:58 PM
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I am 31, my brothers are both 35 and 38. The 35 yr old had bad cholesterol, doesn't exercise much. The older brother is probably at lethal levels due to diet and drinking, but won't ever get a checkup. I exercise regularly, either with cycling or martial arts or weights, and although I eat and drink plenty, my numbers have been normal. I attribute that to the exercise.
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Old 04-27-05, 08:21 PM
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Cycling helps with any cardio-vascular problems, but only if you eat right.
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Old 04-27-05, 08:38 PM
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Not sure if cycling did it, but I'm 54 and I cycle year round, albeit only on weekends due to a silly thing called work. In any case, my total cholesterol is 139 and the ratio of good to bad puts me in the lowest 2% for risk of heart attack.
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Old 04-27-05, 08:45 PM
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I recently read a study in one of the medical journals. The research showed that people who exercised and ate right could also further decrease their LDL cholesterol levels by eating blueberries. Blueberries are really high in antioxidants, and it's thought to help fight the bad cells in your body- LDL cholesterol and diseases like cancers. But the key is to eat them fresh- as in NO processed blueberries.

Here's a link to some explanations about blueberries and its properties: https://www.newstarget.com/001505.html

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Old 04-27-05, 08:49 PM
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Frozen blueberries work as well. Often times frozen fruits are even better for you than supposedly fresh ones. See frozen fruits are typical frozen immediately while fresh fruits are shipped to you and apparently more nutrients are lost during the shipping process than the freezing.
Plus frozen blueberries taste great in smoothies.

Another great thing for antioxidants is Pomegranate juice, drink loads of it because you can't find a much better source of antioxidants.
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Old 04-27-05, 10:19 PM
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[QUOTE=larue]Frozen blueberries work as well. Often times frozen fruits are even better for you than supposedly fresh ones. See frozen fruits are typical frozen immediately while fresh fruits are shipped to you and apparently more nutrients are lost during the shipping process than the freezing.
Plus frozen blueberries taste great in smoothies.

Another great thing for antioxidants is
Pomegranate juice
, drink loads of it because you can't find a much better source of antioxidants.
Pomegranate juice
I've never heard of this. Does it come in concentrate form or can you buy it like a gallon of Tropicana orange juice? Does it taste decent?
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Old 04-28-05, 06:33 AM
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Diet and exercise can significantly lower cholesterol levels. Three years ago, my LDL to HDL ratio was 6.4. (Anything over 5.0 is regarded as high.) I was told by my doctor to exercise and see a dietician. I changed my diet to high fiber/low fat and started riding my bike 45 minutes per day. The result was that I dropped 25 lbs and lowered my cholesterol ratio to 4.6 in just over six months.

That's almost a 40% drop.

Genetics certainly plays a part in high cholesterol but you shouldn't believe the fallacy that you're a slave to your genetic predisposition when it comes to cholesterol. The 40% drop in cholesterol levels (without taking statins) I experienced in only six months dispels the myth that you can only lower your cholesterol a small amount through diet and exercise.

The diet part wasn't too hard to adapt to. Gone were such things as:

* Butter
* Cheese
* Cream
* Greasy pizzas
* Juicy steaks and burgers
* Bacon
* Trans fat laden baked goods
* etc.

In were:

* Whole grain cereals
* Nuts
* Fruit
* Vegetables
* Legumes
* Fish
* Skim milk
* Olive oil
* Etc.

An added benefit of low fat diets such as this is that you get to eat a lot more because low-fat foods contain fewer calories than high-fat foods. A gram of protein and carbohydrate each contain 5 calories. A gram of fat contains 9 calories. Want to shed weight to better climb those hills? Lower your fat intake and the weight will melt away.

Apart from the health benefits, the cholesterol scare made me fall in love with cycling. My 45 minute fitness rides have now turned into 2-3 hour rides. My life is richer today because my doctor had the wisdom to suggest exercise and diet instead of statins to lower my cholesterol.
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Old 04-28-05, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by bbccyclist
Diet and exercise can significantly lower cholesterol levels. Three years ago, my LDL to HDL ratio was 6.4. (Anything over 5.0 is regarded as high.) I was told by my doctor to exercise and see a dietician. I changed my diet to high fiber/low fat and started riding my bike 45 minutes per day. The result was that I dropped 25 lbs and lowered my cholesterol ratio to 4.6 in just over six months.

That's almost a 40% drop.

Interestingly, My LDL to HDL ratio was quite good, but my overall Cholesterol was still very high. I cut out some foods from my diet and am scheduled for a recheck tomorrow. We'll see how it goes.
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Old 04-28-05, 07:12 AM
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I'm guessing your doc did all the bloodwork okay, but sometimes a low fat diet causes your triglyceride levels to spike and you can have heart problems (like heart attacks). Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglycerides.

I sprinkle a little flax meal on the cereal I eat before rides. Flax is hands-down the most concentrated source of omega-3 you're going to find, and a few spoonfuls will give you a week's healthy dose. I've also read that omega-3 fatty acids increase your metabolic rate.
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Old 04-28-05, 08:07 AM
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I just added in omega 3 fatty acids to my diet. I'm going to see if it makes a difference in my results when I go for my next physical.

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Old 04-28-05, 08:15 AM
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My cardiologist & GP says that you may be born with the genetics for higher risk for heart disease, but you can still control the other factors that also contribute via.....

DIET -
1. Eat less animal fats by advoiding or limiting egg yolks, bacon, fatty cuts of beef,
2. Control sugar levels by eating less starches & simple sugars (high blood sugar levels are not good for the body's internal organs),
3. Control salt intake (prevents high blood pressure that will cause the heart to work harder),
4. Eat more fiber (helps body get rid of cholesterol),
5. Eat more fruit & vegetables for more fiber,
6. Eat more fish (omega 3 fats are good for the body),
7. Get more niacin in diet to help increase hdl cholesterol which is good cholesterol,


EXERCISE -
To help control weight & also increase hdl cholesterol


By the way, I've been told that a serving of lean beef is fine to hae every now & then, but how many realize that a 3 oz. serving (1 serving) is about the size of a deck of cards?. If you're watching your cholesterol, think twice before digging in.
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Old 04-28-05, 09:24 AM
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This is what UpToDate, a very respected medical online/CD reference source has to say. In brief, there is significant benefit, especially if compared to sedentary/no exercise, the incremental gain of very intense exercise versus moderate exercise seems less clear:



INFLUENCE OF EXERCISE ON LIPIDS — Early cross-sectional studies comparing middle-aged male runners to sedentary men suggested a beneficial effect of exercise on lipoproteins [3,4]. The runners had significantly lower serum levels of total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol, very low density lipoprotein (VLDL)-cholesterol, and triglycerides, and a higher concentration of high density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol.

Subsequent studies have found variable results when looking at the effect of exercise on the lipoproteins measured in a typical lipid profile [5-17]. However, these studies have varied in design, length of follow-up, and exercise intensity, making it difficult to form definitive conclusions.

In one of the best performed prospective studies, 111 sedentary overweight men and women with mild to moderate dyslipidemia were randomly assigned to one of four groups (show figure 1) [18]:

High amount, high intensity exercise for eight months, the caloric equivalent of jogging 20 miles (32 km) per week at 65 to 80 percent of peak oxygen consumption

Low amount, high intensity exercise for eight months, the caloric equivalent of jogging 12 miles (19.2 km) per week at 65 to 80 percent of peak oxygen consumption

Low amount, moderate intensity exercise for eight months, the equivalent of walking 12 miles (19.2 km) per week at 40 to 55 percent of peak oxygen consumption

Control group


Compared with controls, all exercising groups had potentially beneficial changes in plasma lipoproteins, including a decrease in very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) triglycerides and an increase in the size of LDL particles. An increase in HDL cholesterol and particle size and the largest effects on LDL were seen only with high amount, high intensity exercise. None of these improvements, except for those in HDL cholesterol and triglycerides, would have been detected by a standard lipid profile. The beneficial effects of exercise on lipoproteins occurred even though there were only small decreases in body weight, suggesting the effects were due to the exercise itself rather than weight loss.

The amount of exercise made a larger difference on plasma lipoprotein concentrations than the intensity of exercise. The effect was graded, so that higher amounts of exercise were associated with greater benefits in lipoproteins. Nevertheless, even low amounts of exercise were able to limit or prevent much of the weight gain and worsening of the overall lipoprotein profile that was observed in the control group.

Other studies have confirmed the graded effect that the amount of exercise has on serum lipoproteins [17,19-23]. The concept that the amount of physical activity is more important than the level of fitness with regard to improvement in the lipoprotein profile is supported by a study that randomly assigned 149 men and 120 postmenopausal women to one of three exercise programs for two years [17]:

High intensity (73 to 85 percent peak heart rate) group-based; there were three 40 minute session per week

High intensity home-based.

Low intensity (60 to 73 percent peak heart rate) home-based; there were five 30 minute sessions per week


Serum HDL-cholesterol did not change at one year but showed a small but significant increase above baseline at two years in subjects in the two home-based programs. The elevation in HDL-cholesterol was more pronounced in the low-intensity program, suggesting that increased frequency of exercise may be important and that maximum increases in fitness (as seen with high intensity exercise) is not required.
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