- By Ammy Phoenix
High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. If you’d rather make lifestyle changes than take medication, or if you’d like to help your medications effectiveness in reducing cholesterol, try these 5 healthy lifestyle changes!

LOSE WEIGHT
Oh haha Ammy, thanks! Why didn’t I think of that! Of course I know it’s not as easy as that, but if it helps inspire you in your effort, losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can help significantly reduce cholesterol levels.


EAT FOOD FOR YOUR HEART
Even if you have years of 100% junk food, making a few changes in your diet can reduce cholesterol and improve your hearts health.


EXERCISE ON MOST DAYS OF THE WEEK
Regardless of if you’re overweight or not, ANY exercise can reduce cholesterol. ANY! Go for a walk, do a couple of sit ups while watching TV! Anything! And, even more awesomely, if you can do 30 minutes of moderate physical activity can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol! Just be sure that you can keep up the changes you decide to make, and if you’re not sure, get your Doctor or Fitness Professional (Hi!) to assess you before you start any physical activity.


STOP SMOKING
I can’t even explain how good not smoking is for you. I know, once again, I’m asking a lot, but did you know, that if you stop your bad cholesterol goes down, HDL cholesterol goes up, and your blood pressure decreases. And! After quitting for only one year, you risk of heart disease is half as much as that of a smoker. Within 15 years, your risk of heart disease is similar to someone who never smoked. It’s really worth trying to quit, I promise. 

DRINK IN MODERATION
I know I just met cha *hic* but you’re the best friend I EVER had *hic*.
If you do choose to drink alcohol, just remember that for healthy adults, moderation means, one drink a day for women of any age, and men over 65, and two drinks a day for men under 65. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke.


REMEMBER, THESE ARE ALL LIFESTYLE CHANGES
Lifestyle changes are tough! There is a reason that you’re not doing these healthy things already! It means sacrifice and change and it’s hard! Sometimes just making a small change, one by one, bit by bit, you can settle in to your new healthier lifestyle. Just remember to be nice to yourself, you’re doing a great job and you should be proud of yourself for how hard you’re trying already!

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