Researchers from the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina have determined that higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness may delay increases in blood cholesterol levels by up to 15 years for men. These increases, which commonly occur with aging, tend to rise until middle age before declining after age 60, when cardiovascular disease may already be established for many individuals.
“Age-related changes in cholesterol levels are usually unfavorable,” says Dr. Xuemei Sui, assistant professor of exercise science and a co-author on the study. “Our study sought to determine how cardiorespiratory fitness might modify the aging trajectory for lipid and lipoproteins in healthy men.”
It is well known that higher levels of cholesterol are associated with chronic heart disease. These risk factors can be modified, however, with higher levels of physical activity. Yet there is limited evidence from previous studies that demonstrates the effects of cardiorespiratory fitness on lipids, such as cholesterol or fat, due to age in a longitudinal data set.