In 2007, the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association amended their recommendations on physical activity for the promotion and maintenance of health. The recommendation states that “to promote and maintain health, all healthy adults 18-65 years old need moderate intensity aerobic (endurance) physical activity performed for a minimum of 30 minutes 5 days per week, or vigorous intensity aerobic activity for a minimum of 20 minutes 3 days per week.” They also recommend moderate intensity resistance training at least 2 non consecutive days per week.
At One on One, we differentiate between training for health and training for fitness. Health is defined as “the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit; especially: freedom from physical disease or pain.” We define fitness as “having the physical ability to do what you reasonably may want to for the rest of your life.” It is important to recognize the differences among these key terms. A healthy individual is considered to be free from disease, but may not be necessarily fit. A fit individual is not only healthy (free from disease), but has the aerobic capacity, muscular strength/power, and joint range of motion to permit them to participate in life as they choose. We believe strongly in training for fitness.
Individual exercise prescription almost always changes as an individual’s goals, lifestyle and fitness level changes. Exercise intensity, frequency and duration can all be manipulated to accommodate these changes with little negative impact on one’s level of fitness. The key is to remember that, when decreasing one variable, there must be a corresponding increase in another. We believe (and studies have shown) that it is the total volume of exercise that has the most impact on one’s health and fitness.
Our experience has shown that those who exercise most days of the week for 30 – 60 minutes per session, with a mix of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic and anaerobic physical activity are the most successful in acquiring and maintaining optimal fitness. We have also seen those who gradually decrease their frequency of training, without making the corresponding modifications in intensity and duration, almost always experience a decrease in their fitness level.
The minimum exercise frequency to maintain fitness is two moderate to high intensity exercise sessions per week for a minimum of 60 minutes. Remember, this is to maintain fitness only. Other fitness goals, such as body fat reduction or increases in muscle mass, require a greater total volume of exercise.