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Despite Cholesterol Levels, Exercise Helps Men Live Longer

With the avalanche of studies I've posted this year regarding how exercise can be a boost to your health in so many ways, here's another one that benefits men: Regardless how high their cholesterol levels are, males who are physically fit can slash their risk of death due to heart disease.

Researchers collected data on more than 19,000 men (ages 20-79) who visited a clinic between 1979-95. Based on newer classifications for high cholesterol, some 42 percent of the patients surveyed required either therapeutic lifestyle changes or drug intervention -- meaning a potentially useless and toxic statin drug.

In comparison to patients with good cholesterol numbers, males who had to make lifestyle changes were at double the risk of death. For patients "needing" aggressive drug therapy, their mortality odds rose astronomically by a factor of seven.

The good news: Physically active men, no matter what their cholesterol numbers said, reduced their odds of death from heart disease by 50 percent. The reason, experts believe, exercise lowers cholesterol is that it treats the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome (these findings led one researcher to rename the condition physical inactivity syndrome).

If you're looking for the right exercise plan, I have plenty of free resources on my Web site to help you get started. I also urge you to review some of the more recent pieces posted by contributing editors and exercise gurus, Paul Chek and Ben Lerner.

Forbes.com August 29, 2005

Circulation August 29, 2005

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