The United States recommends people get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. But after a recent study, researchers think that people should put more stress on the latter than the former — it may just prolong your life.

After following 204,542 middle-age and older adults for over six years, researchers Klaus Gebel and co-author Melody Ding noticed a trend based on their exercise habits. Participants who performed more vigorous activities (jogging and aerobics) had a lower risk of mortality (around 9 to 13 percent lower) than participants who reported engaging in more moderate activities (gardening and gentle swimming).

Gebel said in a press release:

"The results indicate that whether or not you are obese, and whether or not you have heart disease or diabetes, if you can manage some vigorous activity, it could offer significant benefits for longevity."

The researchers suggest that health officials take note, and consider encouraging more vigorous activities among people.

Ding added:

"Our research indicates that encouraging vigorous activities may help to avoid preventable deaths at an earlier age."

It's not to say that every activity you engage in has to look like a Gatorade commercial. The researchers said that participants who reported some vigorous activity had their risk of mortality drop by 9 percent. But those who put in a little more effort to their workouts more of the time had a 13 percent lower risk.

Gebel said:

"Previous studies indicate that interval training, with short bursts of vigorous effort, is often manageable for older people, including those who are overweight or obese."

It's not just for older adults, though. The benefits of interval training have been said to help all age groups in recent studies — more so than any sustained exercise. But the more we age, the more important fitness becomes in order to maintain our waistlines as well as our minds. Patricia Bloom refers to fitness at the "the real fountain of youth."

Read more at EurekAlert!.

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