Physical activity and its effects on lipids

Curr Cardiol Rep. 2003 Nov;5(6):488-92. doi: 10.1007/s11886-003-0112-2.


Physical activity is an important component of weight control, and is widely recommended to prevent and treat obesity-related complications such as diabetes and coronary heart disease (CHD). Although the cardiovascular benefits of increased physical activity are likely multifactorial, much of the attention has been focused on the known high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol-raising properties of regular physical activity. Physical activity, however, can also reliably lower triglycerides and favorably affect both low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and HDL particle sizes. Limited data on resistance exercise suggest that this type of physical activity may reduce LDL cholesterol. Although these lipid effects are modest and variable, they are likely to be particularly important in reducing the morbidity and mortality from CHD on a population level, and may be especially important in patients with atherogenic dyslipidemia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins / metabolism*
  • Motor Activity / physiology*


  • Lipoproteins