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Exercise Linked to Long-Term Lipid Improvements in Men

Men participating in program for 20 years saw larger changes at first, then gradual improvements

THURSDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Regular exercise has beneficial effects on lipid levels that persist for many years in middle-aged and older men, according to research published in the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport.

Masaru Teramoto and Lawrence A. Golding, Ph.D., of the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, analyzed data from 20 previously sedentary men -- initially aged 30 to 51 -- who participated in an exercise program for 20 consecutive years. The 45-minute class met five days a week during the academic year and four days a week in the summer.

The researchers found that lipid values -- low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol to HDL ratios -- improved significantly over the study. The most substantial changes occurred during the first year, but improvements continued gradually in the following years. Before beginning the program, the men's LDL, HDL, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels didn't meet the optimal levels specified by the National Cholesterol Education Program, but they did during the study.

"Although lipid changes may be more noticeable during the early years of participating in a regular exercise program, lipid improvements continue over time and potentially even after 20 years of participation. Therefore, lifetime physical activity should be promoted to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, which will improve mortality and morbidity of coronary heart disease and increase longevity," the authors conclude.


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