Posted on Jul 12, 2016, 6 a.m.
Maintaining a high level of cardiorespiratory fitness may delay age-related increases in blood cholesterol levels by up to 15 years.
Age-related changes in cholesterol are known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides all increase in middle-age and then decrease with advancing age, while the reverse is true for HDL or “good” cholesterol. However, research conducted by Xuemei Sui, MD, MPH, PhD, assistant professor at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, and colleagues suggests that it might be able to delay these changes in cholesterol levels by more than a decade by maintaining high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness (the body's ability to supply oxygen to the muscles during exercise and the muscles ability to use that oxygen). Study results showed that men with lower cardiorespiratory fitness had a higher risk of developing high cholesterol in their early 30s, whereas this did not occur in men with high cardiorespiratory fitness until they reached their mid-40s. Furthermore, men with low cardiorespiratory fitness developed abnormal HDL and non-HDL cholesterol levels around their early 20s and mid-30s, respectively, while those with higher cardiorespiratory fitness had normal levels for their entire lifespan. "These findings suggest that improving cardiorespiratory fitness levels may delay the onset of dyslipidemia," said Yong-Moon Mark Park, M.D., the lead author of the study. "Promoting this healthy lifestyle factor may also help to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease."
Park YMM, Sui X, Liu J, Zhou H, Kokkinos PF, Lavie CJ, Hardin JW, Blair SN. The effect of cardiorespiratory fitness on age-related lipids and lipoproteins. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015;65:2091-2100.