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Exercises that encourage gentle stretching and focusing on breathing, such as yoga and tai chi, may not only improve your cholesterol levels, but also clear your mind, enhance your balance and strengthen your whole body. A recent review of 32 studies on yoga performed by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that yoga helps reduce blood pressure, body weight, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. In one of the studies, people who took a four-day yoga program then practiced yoga at home saw their LDL levels and triglycerides go down and their total cholesterol fall 30 milligrams/deciliter on average after 14 weeks.
The ideal workout for your mind, body and especially your heart may well be a combination of all of these types of exercise. The bonus? Mixing up your exercise lessens the likelihood that you will overuse any one body part and get injured, and also minimizes boredom, which may make you more likely to stick with your exercise program. Try going for a brisk walk one day, lifting weights the next and taking a tai chi or yoga class the third day.
Reviewed By: Kerry Prewitt, M.D., FACC