We studied the effects of 20 weeks of supervised cycle-ergometer exercise on plasma lipids in 675 healthy, sedentary, normolipidemic white and black men and women aged 17 to 65 years, participating in the HERITAGE Family Study. Fasting plasma lipids were assessed twice at baseline and 24 and 72 hours after the last exercise session and adjusted for plasma volume changes. No significant differences from the mean baseline levels were observed for total, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol and apolipoprotein B (Apo B). A significant reduction (P < .01) from baseline levels in plasma total and VLDL triglycerides was observed only in the 24-hour posttraining specimens, reflecting a response to the last bout of exercise. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol increased 3.6% for the combined group, primarily due to an increase in HDL2, with an associated increase in Apo A-1 (P < .001). No significant differences were noted in the HDL response by sex, race, or age. An inverse correlation (r = -.241) was observed between the increase in HDL cholesterol and change in body fat only in men, and the increase in HDL cholesterol was unrelated to the change in maximal oxygen uptake (V̇2max). Copyright (C) 2000 by W. B. Saunders Company.