Walking Can Help You Lower Your Cholesterol

By Erin Palinski-Wade

Walking can help you lower (or balance) your cholesterol to healthy levels. Cholesterol is a waxy, fatlike substance produced by the liver and found in all the body’s cells. It is also found in some of the foods you eat. Cholesterol is needed to make vitamin D as well as many hormones. In your body, substances called lipoproteins package and transport cholesterol to your cells.

Two kinds of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol in your body are high‐density lipoproteins (HDL) and low‐density lipoproteins (LDL). Having a healthy ratio of these lipoproteins is important to your health.

HDL cholesterol, otherwise known as the “happy” cholesterol, is the cholesterol you want to have a high amount of. This form of cholesterol is like a garbage truck, picking up and transporting cholesterol back to the liver, which then removes cholesterol from your body.

LDL cholesterol, or “lousy” cholesterol, is the one you want to have less of. High levels of this cholesterol can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries, which over time may lead to deadly blockages.

Knowing your cholesterol levels is important, as elevated levels may increase your risk of heart disease. In addition to knowing your levels of HDL and LDL cholesterol, you also want to assess two additional blood lipids: total cholesterol and triglycerides.

Total cholesterol is a measurement of HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and other lipid components. Triglycerides are the fats flowing through your bloodstream from the food you eat. You should aim to have your levels of total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides checked annually or more often if elevated.