In a study published in the International Journal of Sports Performance, researchers sought to obtain insights into the influence of blood cholesterol levels on high-level physical training. Here is the study abstract Lipoprotein and Lipid Profiles of Elite Athletes in Olympic Sports.
The study looked at nine different Olympic sports and compared the concentrations of the following biomarkers:
- Total Cholesterol
- Total Lipids
- VLDL (very low density LDL)
- % distribution of HDL, LDL, and VLDL of elite athletes
The average ages of the participants was 22 and they had been training regularly for over 3 years in their athletic specialty. They were matched against a control group with an average age of 26, who were sedentary, i.e. no exercise. The athletics studied included soccer, basketball, volleyball, boxing, wrestling, judo, sailing, skiing (slalom), track (two groups), and throwing-jumping.
- The athletic group had significantly higher HDL than the controls
- The athletic group had significantly lower LDL than the controls
- Specifically, boxing, judo, and long distance running had significantly lower VLDL levels
- Additionally, volleyball, short distance and long distance running showed significantly lower %VLDL
- Further, judo, boxing, short and long distance running all demonstrated lower triglycerides
- Finally, wrestling, skiing, and throwing-jumping did not seem to differ much from the controls
Exercise clearly matters when it comes to having better health. Personally, I believe that the concerns about cholesterol are way over-hyped by the medical community and the media. However, if you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, get off your couch and exercise. You do not have to be an Olympic level athlete. Just start moving. Exercise is far more effective than statins. Statins come with a host of negative side effects and are not actually effective according to the research, but that is another post for another day.
Comparatively, do you know what side affects you will get from exercising? Lower cholesterol, lower body fat, healthier brain and body, and you’ll look better naked. Now that’s a worthy investment.