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    Old 06-18-2006, 01:00 AM   #1
    oxx2832
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    My cholesterol/exercise questions

    I am 23 years old. I do not smoke or drink and I am not overweight. I just had blood work done because I was signing up for a new health insurance provider. Everything was fine in the blood work except my cholesterol total level, which was 215 and my LDL - cholesterol level which was 148. The doctor said those levels were "ok" but that I should exercise.

    My family's heart problems, that I know of, are that one of my grandmas died of a heart attack at the age of about 75 and my father had triple or quadruple (I think quadruple) biopass surgery at the age of 49 to unclog his arteries. I don't think he had a heart attack, he just had symptoms of something that could be major so he went to the hospital and they did the surgery. He, that I know of, has experienced no heart issues since, and he is now 61 years old.

    I eat relatively well, though I only eat 2 bigger meals a day. I eat no desserts or snacks. Sometimes, due to time, I only eat 1 really big meal a day. I only do this anywhere from 0 to 2 times a week.

    Before I got my blood work done I did not do exercise routines. I had blood work done 3 years ago and the doctor said I should exercise because my cholesterol was a little high then. I didn't exercise, instead I ate healthier (slightly bigger dinners, no more desserts or snacks).

    Since I found out my latest blood work results I have decided to do some exercise. I started to do jumping jacks indoors. I prefer not to do outdoor exercise activities because I am not an outdoor person. I only want to do indoor exercise if possible. So far I have been doing 160 jumping jacks in a row per day. I think this is probably not enough and I will likely increase it to 200 or 240 in a row per day. But I still don't know if it is enough. I don't plan to change my eating habits. And I prefer to only do 1 exercise routine, like just jumping jacks, not jumping jacks and jump rope, for instance. If I need to do more jumping jacks, then I will just do more of them per day. How many should I do a day? And in how many sessions per day?

    My cholesterol levels may have been high for the past few years, or longer. The first time I had blood work done was 3 years ago, and that is when I found out my cholesterol was a little high, but nothing else on my blood work results was out of range. Since my cholesterol level was at least a little high for at least the past few years, if I exercise, then should I be fine health wise for the long term? And since my cholesterol levels were only slightly high, would doing only moderate amount of exercise lower them so I would be in range for both of the cholesterol levels?

    I would appreciate advice on my cholestorol levels and my mentioned exercise routine and any other thoughts. Thank you.

     
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    Old 06-18-2006, 06:13 AM   #2
    Fathersson
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    Re: My cholesterol/exercise questions

    Well, for good cardio health, the general guidelines do not discuss any specific exercise. They talk about intensity and duration.

    The most recent detailed study by the Institute of Medicine found that what we all really should be shooting for is one continuous hour of intense aerobic activity each and every day. Intense aerobic activity means getting your pulse up to 65%-85% of your age specific maximum heart rate (220-your age) and keeping it there for that full hour (eg. if you're 23, then your max. is 197, and your target pulse zone is 128-167). Note that you should also include a warmup (ie. gradually build up to your target rate), and a cool down with stretching (mainly to avoid stress injuries), so your hour of activity at your target pulse, actually translates into more like 90 minutes of time for the full workout session. Of course, if you have been sedentary, you need to work up to those numbers gradually.

    Of course, on full hour workout every day is pretty hard to schedule for anyone. But any exercise can bring some benefits (the IoM study was focused on determine the maximal benefit only).

    In my opinion, a minimum of three 30+ minute workouts a week is a good goal (more and longer is better). Anything less then that is going to be hard to sustain, since you would be struggling to just stay in shape, let alone develop better fitness, so every workout would be a killer, instead of becoming something enjoyable, sustainable, and beneficial.

    As far as how much exercise causes "x" decrease in cholesterol, no one knows, and it is probably highly variable among people. The only fact is that sedentary people, on average, have higher cholesterol levels than active people. Some people have huge drops in their cholesterol after getting into a regular exercise program, others not so much.

    Jumping jacks - these are high impact, so you may not like what they do to your knees, ankles and hips over the long run. Also, doing just one such activity, for 30 or more minutes per workout? I would never be able to keep that up.

    My workouts at home use a recumbent exercise bicycle and an elliptical cross trainer. I spend 45 minutes 5 to 7 mornings per week on them (that includes a 5 minute or so warmup), but I mix up how much time on each machine, and I listen to books on CD while I work out. Every other day I also do some resistance weight training to keep muscle tone, but my focus is on the cardio stuff mainly. My target heart rate is 145-155, but this has been refined from the calculated one based on ECG monitored exercise sessions during cardiac rehab. One of the biggest changes I made after my heart attack was making time for these workouts. For me, to be sure I really will do them, I schedule them in the morning, before work - that means getting up dang early on weekdays! After nearly a year of that, I do really feel much better for the whole day - the high energy workout just really does energize me for the whole day (and I do in fact feel less alert and awake when I do miss a morning's workout).

    Finally, I'll just say as far as diet, the key thing is what you eat, not when or how often you eat. To control cholesterol, you need a low fat, low-to-moderate carb (yes, that means keeping both fat and carbs down, so not a traditional Atkins diet), high soluble fibre diet. That means lots of fruit, veggies, whole grains, some nuts (they are good in moderation, but they do have a fair amount of fat). Avoid fast food completely - a single fast food burger and fries can have more dietary cholesterol in one meal then anyone should ingest in a whole week.

    P.S. Just a good 30 minute brisk walk each day can do wonders for a person - eg. walking at 3.5-4.5mph (a 15minute mile), either outside or on a treadmill. If on a treadmill, increase the incline as well, to increase the intensity.

    P.P.S. You should be looking at exercise for more then just controlling cholesterol. A sedentary person could have great lipid numbers, and still have major health issues. The benefits of exercise for cardiac health certainly go far, far, beyond just lowering cholesterol.

    Last edited by Fathersson; 06-18-2006 at 06:30 AM.

     
    Old 06-19-2006, 04:36 AM   #3
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    Re: My cholesterol/exercise questions

    Lord,

    How I would LOVE to be able to manage an hour a day 6 times a week on the elliptical trainer. I get a little over 30 minutes 4 times a week at 80% of my maximum heartrate and THAT seems like slavery!
    But as a New Yorker without a car I mange to clock several additional miles on my sneakers every day.

    With a half hour of jumpihng jacks daily, I think most people would need knee surgery after the first few months.

    If you want only ONE indoor exercise, make it treadmill or elliptical work! Without machines, then make it 1/2 hour of STAIR CLIMBING (oh, SHOOT me!)

     
    Old 06-20-2006, 12:52 AM   #4
    oxx2832
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    Re: My cholesterol/exercise questions

    What is the best exercise to do indoors without equipment? I don't have equipment and a gym is not nearby. Also with very inexpensive equipment, what is the best exercise to do and what equipment is needed?

     
    Old 06-20-2006, 06:47 AM   #5
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    Re: My cholesterol/exercise questions

    Do you have a staircase anywhere in your house or apartment? When I can't run outside I set the kitchen timer and do 45 minutes to an hour of simply climbing and descending the staircase from our basement to our kitchen. You don't have to go at a brisk pace to get a nice heart rate. I can even read while I am doing it.

    Jane

     
    Old 06-20-2006, 06:50 AM   #6
    Fathersson
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    Re: My cholesterol/exercise questions

    There are also those small home trampolines, for running in place without impact

    eg. like these - [url]http://www[/url].[ REMOVED ]

    Or how about a stationary bicycle? You can get a good upright bike for only a couple-to-few hundred dollars (recumbent's are pricier, but if you have back problems, they are more comfortable). A used one would be even less.

    Last edited by moderator2; 06-20-2006 at 05:07 PM. Reason: product names are allowed - websites are not - whether or not you personally benefit

     
    Old 06-20-2006, 04:25 PM   #7
    JaneM
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    Re: My cholesterol/exercise questions

    There are always exercise tapes when you don't want to spend money on equipment. There are tons on the market from low-impact aerobics to high-impact. There are even tapes designed for different levels of walking (Sansone) done in the home. All are very inexpensive and there is a great variety. Usually your local library will have copies of different ones, so check out a few to see if you like any of them before buying any.

     
    Old 07-31-2006, 07:59 AM   #8
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    Re: My cholesterol/exercise questions

    I am 23 years old and never had problems with my knees. I do NOT want to do exercise outdoors. I just want to do it in my apartment with no equipment. I don't want to pay for equipment at this point. I would just like to do jumping jacks. Like 100 jumping jacks a day and that is it. Are you sure this will hurt my knees? And if I do 100 jumping jacks a day for 3 months or for 6 months straight (or possibly more), will my cholesterol level go down to normal level?

     
    Old 07-31-2006, 06:47 PM   #9
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    Re: My cholesterol/exercise questions

    There is no guarantee any exercise, jumping jacks or whatever will definitely lower your cholesterol, but it certainly can't hurt. Usually U have to incorporate more then one thing to get a decent workout, but good luck with the jumping jacks, like I said, it might just help.........
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    Old 08-01-2006, 05:19 AM   #10
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    Re: My cholesterol/exercise questions

    oxx,
    Jumping Jacks are VERY hard on the knees and ankles. That landing puts an awkward sideways force of your entire bodyweight on the outside of your ankles....and the INSIDE of your knees.
    It's a terrible exercise.

    Like many of those old army exercises they were based on ZERO knowledge of physiology.

     
    Old 08-01-2006, 08:32 AM   #11
    oxx2832
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    Re: My cholesterol/exercise questions

    I do jumping jacks on carpet. I try not to jump up and down too hard. Its like doing jump rope. Any other thoughts?

     
    Old 08-01-2006, 12:52 PM   #12
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    Re: My cholesterol/exercise questions

    Not trying to be nasty here, but you don't want to do exercise outdoors, you don't want to use any equipment. Do you REALLY want to exercise at all?

    What about what someone else suggested and getting workout tapes or is that considered "equipment"?

     
    Old 08-01-2006, 02:47 PM   #13
    oxx2832
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    Re: My cholesterol/exercise questions

    I want to exercise, but apparently the way I want to do it will "hurt my knees".


    I don't recall a mention of getting a workout tape with no equipment but I'm unsure of this. I haven't heard anyone mention an exercise I can do indoors that doesn't require equipment and that will accelerate my heartrate. No, climbing the stairs doesn't count. I only want to exercise indoors and there are no stairs in my place.

     
    Old 08-01-2006, 05:29 PM   #14
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    Re: My cholesterol/exercise questions

    Post #7 was where the tapes were mentioned by Jane:

    Here is her answer to U:

    There are always exercise tapes when you don't want to spend money on equipment. There are tons on the market from low-impact aerobics to high-impact. There are even tapes designed for different levels of walking (Sansone) done in the home. All are very inexpensive and there is a great variety. Usually your local library will have copies of different ones, so check out a few to see if you like any of them before buying any.

    I think if U have no stairs in your apartment and wish to just continue with jumping jacks, there is not alot more anyone can offer for suggestions.
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    Old 08-01-2006, 05:38 PM   #15
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    Re: My cholesterol/exercise questions

    I did just think of something else you could do. If your town is big and has a decent sized phone book, tape it up with duct tape and use it as an aerobic step.

     
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