Improving HDL cholesterol is accomplished through a mix of physical activity and healthy lifestyle changes. A typical sedentary adult can boost HDL by 5 percent within two months by exercising 30 minutes most days, reports Mayo Clinic. Losing weight is also another good way to raise HDL.
Limiting fat intake to mainly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts and fish is an important lifestyle change to improve HDL, according to WebMD. Quitting smoking is one of the highest impact changes, with a potential 10 percent gain in HDL, reports Mayo Clinic. Consuming only moderate amounts of alcohol, about one or two drinks daily depending on age, is another HDL-enhancing lifestyle habit.