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How Often Should You Exercise?

Which workout regimen do you think more effectively reduces your risk for metabolic syndrome: a 20- to 25-minute daily run, or just one 2.5-hour Sunday morning bike ride? Turns out that as long as you get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a week, it may not matter how you space it out, according to a new study.

Researchers from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario assessed 2,324 Canadian adults who were included in the 2007 to 2011 cycles of the Canadian Health Measures Survey. Participants wore accelerometers for one week to track their exercise. The participants who were already leading active lifestyles were separated out and divided into two groups. One group was asked to work out five to seven days a week for at least 30 minutes, while the other group was instructed to exercise one to four times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes. 

The study found that as long as participants accumulated a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise over the course of a week, the way they divided up their workouts had very little effect on the odds of developing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and large waist circumference that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

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