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October is National Cholesterol Awareness Month - Here's How to Get Yours in Check

Bowls of healthy food
Health and beauty
October 2020
Reading time 5

This month is National Cholesterol Awareness Month

Often when brought up in conversation cholesterol can have a bad rep, we're here to show you why this isn't necessarily always the case.

‘There are two kinds of cholesterol, the good and the bad. The good cholesterol, known as HDLs (high density lipoproteins) transports the “bad” LDLs (low density lipoproteins) around the body, preventing a build-up of LDL which can cause blockages in the arteries and can lead to heart disease and even a stoke,’ explains Dominic Bowser, senior trainer at Sound Mind and Body Gym.
‘Not all cholesterol is bad, and opting for certain lifestyle choices can help outweigh the bad with the good. This includes maintaining a healthy weight, keeping active and not smoking. Your diet and exercise are the key habits to achieve these positive lifestyle choices.’
Diet is key for balancing these molecules, and sticking to Mediterranean themed dishes which are full of fruits and vegetables is a good way to maintain a balanced diet. Not only will these dishes be filling, the ingredients are nutrient dense and they also include lots of fibre which will aid your digestive system. A Mediterranean diet will also help keep you fuller for longer and will aid in controlling weight gain.
‘As always exercise is key and is one of the best ways to reduce bad cholesterol. Even small daily exercises can play a big role in balancing and managing this molecule. Small changes such as taking the stairs, cycling to work or even standing instead of sitting really do make the difference if done on a daily basis. As long as your breathing is heavier and your heart rate increases it will be working its magic,’ he explains. 

Research has shown a combination of both aerobic and cardiovascular exercises as well as weight training work best to reduce cholesterol, especially when done regularly. Try to use your large muscle groups such your legs, back and chest muscles to get the most from your workouts.
Dominic shares his top exercises to help with reducing bad cholesterol:
20 x lunges
10 x press ups
5 x pull ups
Repeat the above four times without any rest – it will take around 10 minutes, and work every muscle in your body, get your heart and lungs going and help reduce your weight and lower your cholesterol.

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