Cholesterol. We hear a lot about it, most of it simply “you have to lower your cholesterol levels or you will get heart disease” but there is a bit more to this substance that needs to be learned in order to truly understand what it does, why we need it, and why we DON’T need too much of it.

First of all, cholesterol is a VITAL substance that our body produces and we need it to maintain our health. We need it make vitamin D, build cell walls, AND create a type of bile salt that is needed to help us digest food. The thing is, our bodies MAKE all the cholesterol we need, about 1000 milligrams that is produced by our liver. So, if OUR bodies make cholesterol, where does the excess come from? Of course, the food we eat.

All animals produce cholesterol, so the more animal protein and fat we eat (this includes products made from cow’s milks such as cheese and butter) the more cholesterol our bodies get. You may have heard of GOOD and BAD cholesterol, well, here’s how that works…

LDL, or low density lipoproteins, are the BAD kind. Although we need some of this, this is the kind that can build up on the walls of our blood vessels and cause blockages leading to heart disease, and potentially heart attacks. HDL, or high density lipoproteins, are the GOOD kind. HDL actually moves cholesterol back to the liver where it can be processed and removed from the body, therefore the more HDL you have, the better your body is able to regulate the health levels of cholesterol in the body.
So, how does exercise come into play?

The fact of the matter is, exercise, intense REGULAR exercise, helps to generate more HDL by the liver. Therefore, the more you exercise, the higher your levels of HDL, and the lower your overall cholesterol levels. In addition, by increasing your heart rate and blood flow in your vessels and arteries by intense exercise, it is less likely that LDL levels will build up as plaque will occur. It needs to be said, and said AGAIN AND AGAIN that these processes can occur in the body very quickly, so it is vital that you stick with a consistent and very rigorous exercise routine. So many people think that their weekly backyard football game with the guys is enough, but it is NOT. You need as much as 45 minute to an hour of exercise everyday to truly affect the levels of cholesterol in your body. In addition, by limiting the amounts of animal fats and proteins you take in on a regular basis, you make the negative not as hard to counteract.

Now for the bad news…many studies have concluded that some folks will have high cholesterol levels no matter HOW MUCH exercise they do. This is because either the liver produces too much, or the cholesterol they take in builds up along the walls of blood vessels extremely quickly. It is important that you check your cholesterol levels regularly and if diet and exercise alone cannot control your levels, you should take the medication as prescribed by your doctor.

Author's Bio: 

Emile Jarreau, aka Mr. Fat Loss, is fascinated by health, nutrition and weight loss. For more great info about cholesterol for losing weight and keeping it off visit