If you’ve been cleared by your health care provider to exercise at this level and have gradually increased your fitness level so you can tolerate a 90-minute workout, go ahead. Long workouts build endurance; they don’t reduce fitness. But there are some things to consider.
Does completing a moderate-to-vigorous workout make you more likely to sit around for the rest of the day? Although a recent study says no, the exercise sessions in this study were shorter than 90 minutes. Pay attention to how you feel after a long workout. Are you more active, or less? If a 90-minute walk drains your energy, consider cutting back.
Walking is an excellent weight-bearing exercise with many health benefits, but it’s possible to do too much. Long walks, day after day, can aggravate existing back, hip, knee, or foot issues, and, like too much of any type of exercise, can lead to overtraining .
The optimal length for daily walks depends on your health status and fitness goals. Walking for 30 minutes, 5 days a week is plenty for health; increasing that to 60 minutes, 5 days a week offers even more benefits. If you’re getting ready for a distance event, it makes sense to do a longer workout once a week. If you’re walking for general fitness or weight loss, vary your weekly routine to include shorter, higher-intensity walks along with your longer, slower walks. You could also try interval training, where you speed up for 30 seconds to 2 minutes or so — or increase your incline grade — and then slow down to your normal pace for an equal amount of time, and repeat.
To keep your exercise program fun and effective — and to prevent overuse injuries — mix it up. Swap out a couple of walks for something else — like swimming, a fitness DVD, or a bike ride each week.
The foundation of a successful exercise program is to do something you enjoy. With a few tweaks, you can create a well-rounded program that keeps you walking for years to come.