How much should I train to stay fit and healthy?

Most people are aware that exercise and training are necessary to keep fit and is beneficial for their health, but just how much is required to achieve this? According to several national and international organisations it is sufficient to perform 30 minutes of exercise at moderate intensity on 5 days per week. In these guidelines moderate intensity is defined as activities that increase heart rate slightly, such as walking or cycling. Research has shown however that, in order to maintain health and functioning throughout life, is not enough. The American College of Sports and Medicine (ACSM), also recommends this guideline, however, they also acknowledge the fact that this will not be enough to stay fit and healthy. Therefore they recommend that in addition to being active for 30 minutes each day on 5 days each week, people also should perform resistance or strength exercise at two non-consecutive days each week. This prevents loss of muscle mass and osteoporosis and makes sure all muscle groups are trained regularly instead of only the muscles that are active during walking or cycling (e.g. leg muscles). Cardiovascular training of higher intensity is also recommended on three days each week, to increase or maintain endurance throughout life, to improve body composition and to decrease risk of cardiovascular disease. These are the guidelines for training according to the ACSM:

-Resistance exercise: On 2 non-consecutive days 8-10 exercises which target all muscle groups. These exercises should be performed with a weight or resistance with which 8-12 repetitions can be performed, preferably increasing resistance and decreasing the number of repetition during each set. (e.g. 12x 10kg, 10x15kg and in the last set 8x 20kg).

-Endurance exercise: On at least 3 days each week, 20 minutes of intense exercise which increases heart rate strongly. The intensity is high enough when no more than a few words can be uttered during training, otherwise intensity is too low.