If you’re trying to reduce your “bad” cholesterol level — low-density lipoprotein (LDL) — you’ve probably been told to get plenty of aerobic exercise. Along with that, consider including weight training in your fitness program to improve your cholesterol levels and, ultimately, your heart health.

Exercise and Cholesterol

An important part of improving your cardiovascular health and preventing heart disease is reducing the cholesterol in your blood, specifically the LDL cholesterol that clogs arteries and can put you at risk for heart disease, heart attack and other health problems, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Increasing your HDL (the “good” cholesterol) can actually help because HDL carries cholesterol back to your liver so it can be flushed out of your body.

If you’re like many Americans, you’ve been told that your LDL is too high and that you should take steps to reduce it — by limiting saturated fat in the food you eat and by increasing physical activity, according to the CDC.

In years past, the main focus of that physical activity has been on aerobic exercise, also called cardiovascular conditioning or simply “cardio” — the kind of exercise that gets your heart pumping faster, such as running, jogging or cycling. But there may be good reason to incorporate weight training into an exercise program for high cholesterol.