Participants who had short periods of physical activity adding up to 30 minutes a day showed similar health benefits -- including lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels and reduced waist size -- as those who followed a more formal exercise program, according to a study in the American Journal of Health Promotion. Researchers also found those who had shorter bouts of exercise had an 89% likelihood of not developing metabolic syndrome, while those who followed a structured exercise regimen had an 87% chance.

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