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Best Workouts to Prevent Heart Disease

If you have high cholesterol, the first thing your doctor may do is put you on a drug to lower it. But did you know there’s a nondrug way to lower your cholesterol fairly quickly? It’s called exercise, and Cheatsheet not only offers a list of exercises that can help with this, but explains how performing each one can change the size and composition of cholesterol particles in your blood, which helps prevent heart disease. Weightlifting, yoga, walking, jogging and doing chores that require movement (think: vacuuming) around the house are all good for fighting heart disease.

One of the biggest, fattest surprises that you’ll ever run into in the world of health care is when you learn that cholesterol really isn’t the demon you’ve been taught to fear. The real killers in your diet are refined carbs, sugar and trans fats, most of which are found in processed foods that line grocery store shelves and, sadly, your cupboards and fridge. So, one of the first things you can do to help your heart and health, even before you think about exercise, is to purge your life of processed foods.

Focus on healthy fats and fresh vegetables and fruits, with moderate proteins — which I discuss in my book, “Fat for Fuel,” — and you will begin rebalancing your body’s chemistry, especially if you couple it with intermittent fasting. That, in turn, will stimulate your immune system and even will help lower your insulin levels. Yes, that means ditching classic vegetable oils and low-fat foods some dieticians try to push on you, but that’s the point: Vegetable oils and low-fat foods (which often are loaded with chemicals and sugars to make up for the loss of taste when you take fat out of a food) are NOT good for you, no matter what some “experts” say.

When it comes to heart-healthy exercise, all of the featured article’s suggestions are great, as increasing your activity any way — including just making it a goal to sit as little as possible — is good for your heart. If you’ve already had a heart attack, exercise is vitally important, as it helps lower your risk of death from a future heart attack. (By the way, your cholesterol has nothing to do with your heart attack risk.)

If your doctor approves, you can move into more intensive workouts that get you “in the zone.” Besides high-intensity interval training (HIIT), my personal favorite is the Nitric Oxide Dump, which can be done anywhere, any time. But, no matter what your approach to exercise, I cannot stress enough the importance of tracking your heart rate and paying attention to your target heart rate zone to give yourself and your heart the best workout possible.

I also recommend core work, strength training and stretching, as well as achieving 10,000 to 15,000 steps a day.

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