Two hours may or may not be too much cardio exercise, because it all depends.

It depends on what kind of cardio exercise you want to do for two hours. It also depends on your goals and how you feel after the cardio activity is over. 

Two hours are way too much cardio if it’s in the form of high intensity interval training (HIIT). You need only eight, even just five, “cycles” in a HIIT session to reap its fat-busting, heart health and anabolic benefits.

However, the two hour cardio rule can be bent even with HIIT. But I don’t mean two hours worth of HIIT.

In fact, stop at 8-10 cycles: no more. That’s what I do on a two hour mountain trail session.

I’ll do scorching HIIT up steep hills, but will stop between six and eight work intervals, maybe 10.

But then I’ll continue on with the hike because I want to be out there for 90 minutes to two hours; the remainder of the time is spent walking up moderate grades and jogging milder grades and level courses. And then there’s downhill cantering.

So, despite the initial HIIT portion, I’m still able to enjoy a great hiking/trail run excursion. You can too.

Many people hike or bike for several hours; that’s more than two hours of cardio, and they do just fine.

As a former member of the Colorado Mountain Club, I used to go on all-day hikes.

Some CMC hikes cover more than 10 miles in one day, with levels ranging from moderately difficult to very difficult, with significant elevation gains.

This is a lot of cardio and as long as one is prepared with the essentials such as plenty of water, this is not excessive.

This kind of training, though, won’t have much appeal to those trying to build muscle, as they may believe that too much cardio will interfere with muscle growth.

There is a bit of truth to this, but I once saw a man who was built like Mr. Universe (had no shirt) on a very long mountain trail — he had jogged up the entire thing!

To jog up this trail (a mountain behind the famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado) nonstop requires a lot of training; nobody can just pull this off without substantial trail running experience.

A lot of trail running obviously had not interfered with this man’s significant muscle development. I was amazed that someone so bulked up could efficiently jog up that big mountain.

Classes

Jahn-Rheine 1885 e.V

Two hours of cardio classes back to back are just fine if you’re mentally up to it. Aerobics class instructors do this all the time, sometimes three classes in one day.

People who train for marathons, 5K’s and other long-duration races including for charity do cardio for two or more hours all the time.

The only real impediment to a two hour cardio session would be an injury, illness, lack of conditioning or lack of time.

Cardio can come in different forms, such as basketball and tennis, which recreational and competitive (non-professional) people can easily spend two or more hours doing.

On the other hand, if your goal is primarily weight loss, two hours of cardio are absolutely not necessary.

It’s one thing to be in the majestic mountains for a few hours, or spending lengthy periods training for an event.

But fat loss does not require long aerobics sessions, let alone two hours. Just 25-30 minutes of HIIT will get the job done beautifully.

Fat loss goals aside, if you enjoy the idea of spending two hours engaged in cardio activity, feel comfortable with it and are free of injury or pain, then by all means, keep doing it; it’s so much better for the body than sitting before a TV for the same length of time.

Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.