Influence of lifetime cross-country skiing on plasma lipids and lipoproteins

J. Stray-Gundersen, M. A. Denke, Scott M Grundy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Low concentrations of total and LDL cholesterol are associated with minimal risk of atherosclerosis. Aerobic exercise has been similarly associated with a low risk of heart disease. The literature is inconclusive as to whether there is an association between total and LDL cholesterol and exercise. Further, previous work has, almost exclusively, examined male runners. Therefore, we examined 176 male and female cross-country skiers, participating in the National Master's Championships, for body composition, dietary habits, exercise habits, and serum lipid levels. Our results show markedly low concentrations of serum LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol, as well as the expected high concentrations of HDL cholesterol and low concentrations of triglycerides, in these lean skiers. Their diets contained 30% fat, and they exercised 9 h weekly. Although it is difficult to separate the effects of diet, leanness, and exercise on the lipid profile, it is apparent that the lifestyle led by these people is associated with a lipid profile that confers an extremely low risk of atherosclerotic disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-702
Number of pages8
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1991


  • Body composition
  • Cholesterol
  • Crosscountry skiing
  • Exercise
  • Lipoproteins
  • Nutrition
  • Triglycerides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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