Your doctor may have explained to you time and time again about your cholesterol. Speaking in layman’s terms about “good” cholesterol versus “bad” cholesterol or perhaps, he/she gave you a more extensive lesson on HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and your total cholesterol. While there are many medications available to treat bad cholesterol, there is so much more you can do to ensure your cholesterol stays in check.
First of all, it is important to define “good” versus “bad” cholesterol and what those numbers mean to you. “Bad” cholesterol are the LDLs and the triglycerides, and while genetics has a heavy impact on these numbers, you can maintain some degree of control through proper diet and physical activity. When it comes to reading your numbers, you want your LDL levels to be less than 100mg/dL. “Good” cholesterol are the HDLs, the number you want to increase, shooting for a number above 40mg/dL. It is very difficult to raise HDL levels, but the best and most effective way to reach those high levels is through plenty of regular physical activity.
To really monitor your cholesterol levels, take a good look at your diet. Are you consuming alot of saturated fat? It is time to really take a look at which macronutrients you are consuming and how much of each you are routinely consuming. If you are at risk for high cholesterol or already have elevated levels, consider the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet recommended by the National Cholesterol Education Program of the Institute of Health.
Next, you should sincerely consider a gym membership or dusting off your running shoes. Just 30-60 minutes of moderate physical activity daily can make a huge difference. If you are not sure about what types of activities to try, check out the group fitness schedule at any of these local gyms, find one or several you enjoy, and make the commitment to attend.
- Equinox Fitness Clubs
- Sports Club LA
- David Barton
- LA Fitness
- Downtown Athletic Club
If you prefer outdoor activities, the sun is already shining and the days are perfectly beautiful here in Miami. Go for a nice jog on the beach, take a walk on the sand, or hop on a bike and check out some of the exciting trails Miami has to offer. If all this still seems too athletic, never underestimate the power of window shopping. Walking around an outdoor mall, like The Village of Merrick Park, or a large shopping center is far better for you than being plopped on the couch. Start there and, just maybe, your feet will eventually find their way to the gym.
Finally, get your cholesterol checked every year. Try to keep your total cholesterol below 200mg/dL. Other habits that will help you maintain healthy levels include avoiding use of tobacco products, maintaining a healthy weight, and, if necessary, consult your doctor about medications that can assist your progress until you reach more manageable levels.
Whatever you choose, please do something to make a change and/or prevent the worst. Keeping a close watch on your cholesterol levels is just one step in the right direction to prevent many chronic diseases and lengthen your life.
Want more information on cholesterol levels? Check out The American Heart Association’s website for more details.
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