My HIV combo has pumped up my cholesterol. Which exercises, if any, can help lower it?    

—Flying (too) high

Studiessay consistent cardiovascular exercise can drop your total and badcholesterol (LDL), while boosting your good cholesterol (HDL).

Youcan choose from a variety of cardio workouts: treadmill, aerobics, stepmachine, walking, biking, swimming and light to moderate strengthtraining. I recommend combining two activities per workout to challengedifferent muscles and increase your stamina and strength. Some guides:
Frequency: At least three times a week—I like five.

Duration:It depends on your fitness level: 10 to 15 minutes for beginners; 15 to45 for intermediate; 30 to 60 for the very fit.

Intensity: Gofor light to moderate. In strength training, too much intensity mayraise your blood pressure—not good for lowering cholesterol. Aim for anexertion level where your heart rate rises but you’re breathing, notgasping. Here are two good routines—one if you go to a gym, one if youdon’t. Start with what your fitness level allows—you can always golonger next time.

Gym: Do squats, then lunges—both withoutweights. Then do some leg presses, using 50% of the maximum weight youcan handle. (Don’t know your max weight? Use your own weight as astarting point.) Do three sets of 12 to 15 reps of each exercise, withno more than 60 seconds rest between sets. Then do 10 to 30 minutes oflight to moderate stepping on the treadmill or step machine.

Nogym: Try interval training, combining moderate and light activities.For example, alternate three to five minutes walking with three to fivejogging. Keep it up for as long as your fitness level allows—over time,you’ll be able to go longer.

Along with a healthy diet,routines like these can knock down triglycerides as well ascholesterol. Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.Keep at it. Over time, you’ll see results in your lab tests—and howmuch better you feel.

+Jeffrey Gross Is A Certified Fitness Trainer Based in Chicago

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