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ECU and Duke reseachers say exercise lowers cholesterol

(Nov. 7, 2002)  —  Researchers at East Carolina University and Duke University have found that exercise can promote lower cholesterol, even in people who are not losing weight.

In a study published Nov. 7 in the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers also found that higher levels of exercise lead to even better cholesterol readings.

Dr. Joseph Houmard of the Human Performance Lab at ECU, said the research "is getting us a little closer to determining what type of exercise program works best for reducing risk for coronary artery disease, the No. 1 killer in the U.S. "

"The key finding of the study," Houmard said, "was that individuals who worked up to jogging about 20 miles per week exhibited the most benefits in terms of their plasma lipids and thus risk for coronary artery disease

"Milder intensity exercise or a lower amount of intense training improved parameters compared to a sedentary control group who did not exercise at all; however, the benefits were not as great as in the 20 mile per week group."

The study assigned sedentary, middle-aged, overweight men and women to three different exercise programs for six months. The research was designed so that the participants did not lose weight.

Houmard said, "The great finding in all of this was that the benefits were achieved without weight loss. These findings are important because they suggest the type of exercise program that should be used and positive adaptations can occur with exercise and minimal weight loss.

 


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