Resistance Exercise Improves Cholesterol Levels

Recent research demonstrates that high intensity resistance training using weight machines and free-weights improves cholesterol levels as much as aerobic exercise in previously sedentary young women.

Many of the benefits of resistance training have been known for some time, including increased strength, bone density, joint health, and improved body composition. However, it was thought that only aerobic training would help reduce cholesterol levels. Now, it has been shown that young, healthy women who participated in a 14 week high-intensity strength training program involving both machines and free weights, significantly reduced their total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels compared to a control group. Studies have linked lower levels of both total and ``bad'' cholesterol to a lower risk of heart disease.

Prabhakaran B, Dowling EA, Branch JD, et al. Effect of 14 weeks of resistance training on lipid profile and body fat percentage in premenopausal women. Br J Sports Med. 1999; 33(3):190-5