One of the best things you can do if you want to manage your cholesterol levels is working out
How does exercise help maintain healthy cholesterol levels?
Strength training and getting those muscles nice and strong can help the body reduce its stores of excess fat and consequently help maintain healthy cholesterol.
When your muscles get bigger and stronger, they increase your daily calorie needs, so it is easier to stay in a calorie deficit. Your muscles also like to use glucose and fat stores for fuel, so you can get lean and reduce cholesterol levels at the same time.
This full-body workout has been designed by our nutritionist Alex Glover. Its aim is to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels through exercise and will focus on training as many muscles as you can with limited equipment and in a shortened time frame.
Please warm up before doing these exercises with some light cardio, like star jumps for a few minutes or doing some high knees (like jogging on the spot and trying to get your knees up high).
Equipment needed: Dumbbells x 2
Exercise 1: Bent over Dumbbell row
- Take both Dumbbells in your hands and stand up straight.
- Now slowly lower your upper body while bending your hips back and assume a comfortable position with the dumbbells in front of you
- Keeping your core tensed and your glutes squeezed, row both dumbbells up to your chest and lower. You should feel your back muscles working
- For any rowing exercise, don’t grip the dumbbell too tight, and really imagine you are pulling with your elbow not your wrist
- Don’t row up in a straight line, instead imagine putting your elbow in your back pocket
- Always keep a firm core and squeezed glutes
Exercise 2: Dumbbell goblet squat
- Hold the dumbbells just above your sternum (breastbone) and as close to your body as you can. Keep your hands clasped for the entire lift
- Place your feet wider than your shoulders, or wherever is needed for you to maintain a neutral spine (wide will help keep your spine more upright)
- Once you have your foot placement, imagine lowering yourself to sit in a chair and squat down, keeping your abs tensed and not letting the dumbbell sag down
- Squeeze your glutes and legs to come back up to standing, then repeat
Tip: A squat uses many muscles, so you can use a heavier dumbbell, if you choose, to really work the glutes and quadriceps.
Exercise 3: Dumbbell glute bridge
- Lay down on your back with your feet on the floor and knees bent (like a triangle)
- Place a cushion on your lap and rest the dumbbell on it
- Tilt your pelvis slightly forward by squeezing your glutes and thrust upwards so that your body is as straight as possible – like you’re trying to get your belly button up to the ceiling
- You should feel a good contraction in your glutes if you press through your heels rather than your toes. Relax back into the mat and repeat
Exercise 4: Plank
Duration: hold for as long as you can
- Place your hands directly under your shoulders on the floor (slightly wider than shoulder width – just like you’re about to do a push-up)
- Press your toes into the floor, lift up your heels, and squeeze your glutes and abs to stabilise your body. It’s like doing a push up, but you don’t come back down, instead, you hold the ‘top’ position.
- Keep your neck and spine neutral by focusing on a spot on the floor around 30cm from your hands. Make sure you keep your glutes low – so your body is in a straight line from head to toe.
- Hold for as long as you can without compromising your form or breath – 20 seconds is a good place to start.
And you’re finished!
We hope you enjoyed that workout! Try and do this routine at least once per week. You can combine it with our upper body resistance training workout and lower body workout too. Try to walk often and include some cardio like walking, jogging or riding a bike for an all-round great routine to help manage cholesterol.
Want to make sure what you’re eating isn’t raising your cholesterol levels? Try some of these healthy, cholesterol-lowering meals:
- Smashed Avocado on Wholegrain Rye with Spinach and Edamame Salad
- Vegan 3 Bean Chilli
- Fruit Salad with Fat-Free Greek Yoghurt
Last updated: 23 September 2020