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Table 2 Evidence-based exercise recommendations for maintaining/improving cholesterol levels in different patient groups

From: Differential Effects of Aerobic Exercise, Resistance Training and Combined Exercise Modalities on Cholesterol and the Lipid Profile: Review, Synthesis and Recommendations

Patient group Cholesterol targets Exercise recommendations
Healthy Maintain low LDL cholesterol and triglycerides; increase HDL cholesterol Increase physical activity to >30 min/day 5 times weekly [16, 17]; prolonged moderate-intensity aerobic exercise at 70–80 % HRreserve [43], combined with low-intensity resistance training at 50 % 1 RM [23]
Elevated cholesterol (dyslipidaemia) Reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides; increase HDL cholesterol Increase physical activity to >30 min/day 5 times weekly [16, 17]; prolonged moderate-intensity aerobic exercise at 70–80 % HRreserve [43], progressing to 85 % HRmax [35, 36], combined with moderate- to high-intensity resistance training at 75–85 % 1 RM [23, 40]
Elevated cholesterol (dyslipidaemia) and limited mobility (disabled, elderly populations, etc.) Reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides; increase HDL cholesterol Increase physical activity as much as is feasible [16, 17]; resistance training progressing from 50 to 75 % in major muscle groups [23], can be incorporated into circuit sessions and maintained at moderate intensity [43]
  1. HDL high-density lipoprotein, HR max maximal heart rate, HR reserve heart rate reserve, LDL low-density lipoprotein, RM repetition maximum