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A Little Physical Activity has a Measurable Impact on on LDL-C and ApoB

Updated: Apr 4

  1.  Lavie, C. J., Jackson, A. S., & Blair, S. N. (2017). Changes in fitness and fatness on the development of cardiovascular disease risk factors.


In a world where cardiovascular diseases (CVD) loom as prominent health concerns, understanding the interplay between lifestyle choices and heart health is crucial. Among various lifestyle factors, physical activity, encompassing walking, running, and other exercises, emerges as a key player in modulating lipid profiles, specifically Low-Density Lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and Apolipoprotein B (ApoB).

LDL-C and ApoB: The Troublesome Duo

LDL-C, often labeled as 'bad' cholesterol, is notorious for its role in atherosclerosis, the buildup of fats, cholesterol, and other substances in and on artery walls[1]. ApoB, a primary protein component of LDL-C, serves as a marker for atherogenic particles, potentially offering a more nuanced risk assessment for CVD[2].

The Power of Steps: Walking and Running

Walking: The Gentle Warrior

A study by Murtagh et al. (2015) revealed that brisk walking for approximately 30 minutes a day, five days a week, resulted in a reduction of LDL-C by an average of 5%[1].

Walking, especially at a moderate pace, enhances enzyme activity that removes LDL-C from the bloodstream by up to 10%[3].

Running: The Vigorous Crusader

Lee et al. (2017) demonstrated that regular running could lower LDL-C by up to 10%[4].

The intensity of running stimulates enzymes like lipoprotein lipase, which plays a vital role in lipid metabolism, thus reducing ApoB levels by approximately 7% in those with elevated levels[5].

Exercise: Beyond the Basics

Resistance Training

Not just aerobic exercise, but resistance training also contributes to lowering LDL-C. A study by Kelley and Kelley (2009) found that resistance training reduced LDL-C levels by approximately 3-4%[6].

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT, involving short bursts of intense exercise followed by rest, has been shown to reduce ApoB in individuals with high cholesterol levels by up to 5%[7].

The Biological Underpinnings

Physical activity enhances the liver's ability to clear LDL-C from the blood.

Exercise induces changes in the size and density of LDL particles, shifting from small, dense particles (more atherogenic) to larger, less dense ones, with a significant increase in large LDL particles and a decrease in small, dense LDL particles by up to 15%[8].

Increased physical activity raises levels of High-Density Lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c), which aids in removing LDL-C from the bloodstream.

Conclusion: Every Step Counts

In summary, regular physical activity, be it walking, running, or structured exercise, is a pivotal component in managing LDL-C and ApoB levels. This not only mitigates the risk of CVD but also promotes overall health and wellbeing. Embracing an active lifestyle is less about monumental efforts and more about consistent, everyday choices – because, in the marathon for heart health, every step truly counts.


  1. Murtagh, E. M., Nichols, L., Mohammed, M. A., Holder, R., Nevill, A. M., & Murphy, M. H. (2015). The effect of walking on risk factors for cardiovascular disease: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised control trials.

  2. Sniderman et al. (2019). ApoB and cardiovascular risk assessment.

  3. Thompson, P. D., Buchner, D., Pina, I. L., Balady, G. J., Williams, M. A., Marcus, B. H., ... & Wenger, N. K. (2003). Exercise and physical activity in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

  4. Lee, D. C., Sui, X., Church, T. S.,

  5. Kraus, W. E., Houmard, J. A., Duscha, B. D., Knetzger, K. J., Wharton, M. B., McCartney, J. S., ... & Slentz, C. A. (2002). Effects of the amount and intensity of exercise on plasma lipoproteins.

  6. Kelley, G. A., & Kelley, K. S. (2009). Impact of progressive resistance training on lipids and lipoproteins in adults: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

  7. Batacan, R. B., Duncan, M. J., Dalbo, V. J., Tucker, P. S., & Fenning, A. S. (2017). Effects of high-intensity interval training on cardiometabolic health: A systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention studies.

  8. Kraus, W. E., Slentz, C. A., Houmard, J. A., Duscha, B. D., Knetzger, K. J., Wharton, M. B., ... & McCartney, J. S. (2006). Exercise training, lipid regulation, and insulin action: A tangled web of cause and effect.

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