In 17 men, aged 27 to 54 years, with myocardial infarction 2 to 10 months before the current exercise study, we aimed to determine whether 3 months of exercise training, at a level designed to elevate high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC), would be associated with changes in endogenous sex steroid hormones and postheparin lipoprotein and hepatic lipases, and whether the changes in sex hormones, lipids, lipoproteins, apolipoproteins, and physical activity were interrelated. Supervised bicycle ergometry, 30 minutes, 3 days per week, eliciting 75% of maximum heart rate, produced a significant training effect, with a 26% increase in the duration of the exercise test at a standardized, submaximal workload (P less than or equal to .001), and a reduction in heart rate measured at a standardized submaximal workload, P = .08. After 3 months' training, mean HDLC increased 23% (30 to 37 mg/dL), P less than or equal to .001, mean apo A2 increased 19% (43 to 51 mg/dL), P less than or equal to .001, and the ratio of total cholesterol (TC) to HDLC decreased 26% (P less than or equal to .01), while estradiol (E2) levels decreased 45% (50.1 to 27.8 pg/mL), P less than or equal to .0001. After 1 and 2 months' exercise, TC (12% [P less than or equal to .001], 11% [P less than or equal to .01]), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLC) (13% [P less than or equal to .01], 12% [P less than or equal to .01]) were reduced. Hepatic lipase decreased 16% (P less than or equal to .01) and 16% (P less than or equal to .05) after 1 and 3 months' exercise. There were no significant changes in apo A1, lipoprotein lipase, testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), or weight. By stepwise regression analysis, after 3 months' training, 66% (P = .0025) of the variance for the increase in HDLC from baseline to day 90 was accounted for independently by a decrease in triglyceride (F = 13.2, P = .003), by reduced heart rate on a fixed submaximal load (F = 12.7, P = .0035), and by a decrease in hepatic lipase (F = 5.5, P = .036). A modest, achievable exercise program can have significant cardiovascular benefit for men after myocardial infarction by ameliorating their hyperestrogenemia, reducing TC and LDLC, improving the TC to HDLC ratio, and elevating HDLC and apo A2. The increment in HDLC was related independently to improved capacity to sustain submaximal exercise and to exercise-induced reductions in triglyceride and postheparin hepatic lipase.