Exercise has the potential to protect against heart disease in a variety of ways. Christian K. Roberts, from the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues assessed the molecular behavior of high-density lipoprotein, a.k.a. the “good cholesterol,” in young men who weight trained regularly, as compared to sedentary counterparts. The researchers found that the men who didn’t exercise were more likely than those who weight trained to have dysfunctional HDL, which was associated with numerous other risk factors for heart disease, including high triglycerides and a higher trunk fat mass. That finding held true regardless of the men’s weight, which suggests that maintaining a so-called healthy weight isn’t as important for healthy cholesterol function as being active by regularly performing strength training. “Chronic [resistance training] is associated with improved HDL redox activity,” the authors observe. “This may contribute to the beneficial effects of [resistance training] on reducing cardiovascular disease risk, irrespective of body weight status.”
Roberts, C.K., et al. (2013). Untrained young men have dysfunctional HDL compared with strength-trained men irrespective of body weight status. J Appl Physiol. 115:1043-1049.
—Dr. Bob Goldman
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