Will Exercise Really Lower Triglycerides?

Exercise can help you lower unhealthy triglyceride levels.

Start with 20-30 minutes of aerobic activity -- anything that gets your heart rate up. Do that 5 days a week, and your numbers may drop. The best part? You reap the benefits of exercise even if you don’t lose weight.

Pick a Triglyceride-Trimming Exercise

Aerobic activity ("cardio") offers the best results. Find things you enjoy, and have a backup plan for those days when your first choice isn’t possible. If you haven’t been active in a long time, check with your doctor first. Choose any of these:

  • Basketball
  • Bicycling
  • Elliptical
  • Jogging at a steady pace
  • Jumping rope
  • Kickboxing
  • Racquetball
  • Soccer
  • Step aerobics
  • Stair climbing (traditionally or on a machine)
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Walking briskly
  • Zumba

Add Strength Training

While working with weights hasn’t been shown to lower triglycerides, it can still boost the results of aerobic exercise. Stronger muscles burn more calories all day, not just after a workout. And burning calories results in weight loss, which lowers triglycerides.

If you’ve never lifted weights, learn proper form from a professional so you don’t hurt yourself.

Tricks to Boost Your Results

Simple Ways to Fit In Exercise

Don't stress if it’s hard to get in a 30-minute workout every day.

"You don't necessarily have to set aside a period of time when you put on your jogging shoes and sweatpants and go running," says Robert Bonow, MD, former president of the American Heart Association. "You can just be active throughout the day."

Start gradually. Squeeze in 10 minutes of exercise, and build up to several times a day. Here are a few ways to add some activity into your schedule:

  • Stand up and pace whenever you talk on the phone or while you watch TV.
  • Challenge yourself to keep adding in steps until you get up to 10,000 steps a day. Wear a pedometer all day to track your steps.

Once you get your exercise routine down, improve results even more with a healthy diet. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment, and enjoy better health.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on October 06, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:

Michael Miller, MD, director, Center for Preventive Cardiology, University of Maryland Medical System.

Tracy Stevens, MD, cardiologist, Saint Luke's Cardiovascular Consultants, Kansas City, MO.

Robert Bonow, MD, past president, American Heart Association; Max and Lilly Goldberg Distinguished Professor of Cardiology, Northwestern University.

Slentz, C. Journal of Applied Physiology, Aug. 1, 2007.

Plaisance, E. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2008.

Cox-York, K. Metabolism, published online Sept. 11, 2012.

American Diabetes Association: "Morning Exercise Lowers Triglycerides."

News release, American Heart Association.

Miller, M. Circulation, May 24, 2011.

Wesleyan University: “Cardinal Bodyweight Strength Program.”

Healthy Women: “Start Strength Training for Good Health.”

Plaisance, E. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, April 2009.

Kessler, H. Sports Medicine, June 1, 2012.

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