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Walking 8 Miles a Day: Benefits and How Long Does It Take?
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Walking 8 Miles a Day: Benefits and How Long Does It Take?

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by Isabel Mayfield | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on January 13, 2023
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8 min

Walking 8 miles a day burns a lot of calories and brings many health benefits. It can take a few hours, but you can also see benefits with a shorter walk.

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Up for a long and enjoyable walk? 8 miles may sound like a lot. It’s an admittedly challenging distance, but it doesn’t have to be exhausting.

Walking 8 miles a day can take as little as two hours, but it all depends on your pace. Walking at a brisker pace brings greater health benefits.

It will also help you burn hundreds of calories at least, making it a great activity for losing body fat. All the more so if you pair it with a healthy diet that promotes a caloric deficit. 

Read on to discover how much time you need to walk 8 miles and how many calories you’ll burn. We’ll also take a closer look at the benefits of walking this distance. 

How Long Does It Take to Walk 8 Miles?

Walking at an easy pace of 3 miles per hour, you need around 2 hours and 40 minutes to complete an 8-mile walk. 

At a brisk pace of 4 miles per hour, you can walk 8 miles in as little as 2 hours. For this, you have to maintain a challenging 15-minute-per-mile pace. 

Apart from your walking speed, many factors can determine how much time you need to walk 8 miles a day. Think fitness level, age, sex, body weight, incline, season, and weather. 

At the very least, allow yourself 2 hours to complete a long walk of 8 miles. If you are only starting to exercise or carry extra pounds, allow yourself 3 hours or even more. 

After all, 8 miles is 12.9 kilometers or the equivalent of 32 laps on a standard running track. No mean feat!

Good to know: 8 miles amounts to around 16,896 steps for a male with an average stride length of 2.5ft (0.762m). That’s around 19,200 steps for a female with an average stride of 2.2ft (0.67m).

How Many Calories Do You Burn Walking 8 Miles?

Walking 8 miles can help you burn anywhere from 400 to over 1,000 calories. How many calories you burn walking 8 miles depends on your walking pace, body mass, and incline. Walking 8 miles a day at a very brisk pace on a steep trail burns more calories. 

To estimate the calories you burn, you can use the metabolic equivalents (METs) listed by the Compendium of Physical Activities

The METs vary from 2.0 for a very slow, strolling walk to 9.8 for a very fast 5 miles per hour 3-grade walk. More movement of the arms may help you maximize the calories you burn.

To find out calories burned per minute:

MET x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200

Next, multiply the result by the total number of minutes you need to walk 8 miles.

Imagine that you walk 8 miles at a pace of 2 miles per hour in 3 hours and 51 minutes. The calculations would look like this:

2.0 x 3.5 x 80 / 200 = 2.8 (calories burned per minute)

2.8 x 231 (minutes) = 646 calories

Not bad!

But having to manually calculate calories burned while walking can be a pain. It’s easier to follow a personalized walking plan created by coaches. 

Walking.Diet is the world’s easiest-to-follow walking plan for weight loss. More than a walking plan, it features a personalized diet plan created by nutritionists to help you burn more calories faster.

Walking.Diet
Walking Plan for Weight Loss
  • Offers walking training plan
  • Provides warm-up and cool-down workouts before and after walking workout
  • Includes KETO desserts cookbook
  • Offers the articles about food and nutrition, walking gear
Our rating:
4.6
Get Your Personalized Walking Plan

Losing weight healthily and sustainably becomes easier when you combine walking with eating healthy, low-calorie meals. 

Walking.Diet also features a companion app that can help you track your walks, meals, and progress every step of the way. It’s like having a walking coach in your pocket. 

10 Benefits of Walking 8 Miles a Day

More than making you feel good, a walking habit brings with it significant benefits. Read on to discover the physical and mental health benefits of walking 8 miles a day. 

#1 Weight loss

Walking several miles a day enables a significant calorie burn. Without the stress on your joints and body that come with running and other intense forms of exercise.

You start burning calories the moment you get out of the door. 8 miles of walking can burn hundreds of calories, more than short sessions at the gym. A walking routine can help you lose weight gradually.

What’s more, research from 2015 indicates that a short walk can curb cravings for sugary snacks. Together with the calories burned, this can compound the effects of walking on weight loss.

#2 Reduces the risk of serious diseases

Walking every day at a brisk pace counts toward the 150 minutes of weekly physical activity recommended by the Physical Activity Guidelines. This reduces your risk of heart disease, according to a meta-analysis

A 2016 study found that moderately active people have a 26% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to sedentary people. 

The weight loss benefits of walking also help protect you from type 2 diabetes, a disease often associated with being overweight. 

What’s more, research from 2021 suggests that moderate to brisk walking can help protect against multiple types of cancer. 

#3 Improves your fitness level

A daily walking habit can help you transition from sedentary to active without the risk of overuse injury. Brisk walking can help accustom your heart and body to physical activity. You can then take the gains you make walking with you on runs or to the gym. 

Quite simply, walking at a moderate to brisk pace is a convenient way to improve your fitness. No need for costly equipment. Just a pair of walking or running shoes and a hydration bottle will do. 

#4 Reduces stress

Walking stimulates the release of endorphins, brain chemicals that induce relaxation. To maximize the stress reduction effects of walking, walk in nature whenever possible. 

A 2022 study found that a long walk in nature reduces the activity in brain regions responsible for processing stress. 

That’s not to say you should give up your walking habit on rainy days. Walking in place or on a treadmill can also have stress reduction benefits. 

#5 Boosts your mood and wards off depression

Walking is also one of the best forms of exercise for mental health. Research indicates that walking for at least 30 minutes improves mood and reduces anxiety and depression. 

More than releasing endorphins, walking has a social aspect to it. When you walk outdoors, you get closer to other people. 

It can reduce feelings of social withdrawal, which may persist in the case of other types of exercise, such as exercising in an empty gym early in the morning or late at night. 

#6 Improves sleep

Trouble falling asleep? Often waking up feeling tired? A daily walking habit could do wonders for your sleep. 

A study published in 2019 analyzed the effects of a daily step increase on 59 participants over 4 weeks. It found that walking more improved sleep quality and made it easier for people to fall asleep. 

Ideally, you want to walk during the day rather than late at night. A long, intense walk at night may keep your body geared for activity during the early hours of the night. This may make it harder to fall asleep. 

#7 Improves muscle endurance and balance

Walking helps you develop a stronger lower body. This, in turn, will improve your balance. Walking long distances will also increase your muscle endurance. 

The longer you walk, the easier it will get to walk long distances at a brisker pace. The muscle endurance gains you make transfer to other activities, such as running. 

Walking won’t bulk up your calves, quads, or hamstrings like weight lifting exercises for the legs, but it will tone and strengthen your leg muscles and boost their endurance. 

#8 Ups your energy levels

Long walks engage your body without exhausting it. Walking as a regular exercise boosts your energy levels by increasing oxygen flow and cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine levels.

By improving your health and sleep quality, it can have a long-lasting effect on your energy levels. 

So, next time you’re feeling tired, think twice about that energy drink or extra cups of coffee. Why not go for a walk instead? Walking can energize you without the jitters and sleep disturbances that often come with a high caffeine intake.

#9 Boosts your immune system

Regular walking makes your body use more oxygen, alters blood counts, and reduces inflammation. Together, these effects help to strengthen your immune system, protecting you from respiratory illnesses and possibly other diseases. 

A study of 1,002 participants found that those who walked for at least 20 minutes a day for 5 days a week had fewer sick days. 

#10 Adds years to your life

Walking at a moderate to fast pace can add years to your life. A study of over 50,000 British walkers found that walking can extend your life by reducing your risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease or cancer. 

Walking at a pace of at least 4 miles per hour has the strongest impact on your mortality risk. 

Is Walking 8 Miles a Day Too Much?

Walking 8 miles a day may be too much for most people. While walking this distance is less tiring than running it, the amount of time it takes makes it impractical. As we’ve seen, you need, at the very least, 2 hours to cover this distance. 

If you have the time to walk 8 miles a day, you can go for it. Walking won’t put as much stress on your joints as running. It will also help you burn hundreds of calories and lose weight. 

Losing extra pounds through walking may take longer than with more intense exercise. But you may find it less demanding. What’s more, it encourages you to spend time outside. 

The bottom line is that walking 8 miles a day isn’t too much if you’re in good shape and have the time for it.

A Word From Our Coach

Walking on a daily basis can help you lose weight and improve your physical and emotional health. It’s one of the simplest types of exercise. And one that, while not as rigorous as going to the gym, you can maintain in the long run.

With that in mind, make sure you’re walking at the right pace. Aim for at least a moderate to brisk walking pace. Use a fitness tracker or smartphone app to measure your pace.

Walking 8 miles a day may not be feasible for the average person. But you can still walk several miles a day, five days a week. All of this helps you reach the minimum 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, bringing notable health benefits.

If you haven’t exercised lately or carry extra pounds, start with a comfortable walking distance. Increase this gradually by 10% every week or according to your personalized walking plan.

Going from sedentary to walking 8 miles a day may not be easy. But then you don’t have to walk that much to experience the health benefits of walking. Instead, aim for at least a half hour of walking at a moderate to brisk pace.

Wear a pair of walking or running shoes. They will make it easier to maintain a fast pace while also cushioning your feet.

And as any certified personal trainer will tell you, don’t forget to bring a water bottle with you. Whether you’re going on a short walk or a long one, it’s important to stay hydrated.

Conclusion

Eager already for an 8-mile walk? Or at least a half-hour walk? Here are the things to remember before you head out:

  • Walking 8 miles a day can help you lose weight in a healthy way.
  • You burn more calories walking faster and on a steeper incline (and if you weigh more).
  • You don’t have to walk 8 miles a day to experience weight loss and the health benefits of walking.
  • Shorter walks have many of the benefits of longer walks.
  • Even 30 minutes of walking at a moderate to brisk pace, 5 days a week, can work wonders for your health and support your weight loss journey.
  • If you’re set on walking 8 miles every day, build your mileage gradually.
Walking.Diet
Walking Plan for Weight Loss
  • Offers walking training plan
  • Provides warm-up and cool-down workouts before and after walking workout
  • Includes KETO desserts cookbook
  • Offers the articles about food and nutrition, walking gear
Our rating:
4.6
Get Your Personalized Walking Plan
Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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