Walking is a great way to exercise! Just because it’s slower than running doesn’t mean you don’t get an amazing cardiovascular workout.
If you’re considering getting started with a walking routine, you might already have a number in mind. It makes sense to start with something short, like 3 miles a day, then work your way up to 5 miles a day, 6 miles a day, or 8 miles a day.
If you’re aiming to reach a total of 8 miles per day, here’s everything you need to know about the distance and how to get there.
How Far Is 8 Miles?
8 miles is just a little less than 13 kilometers—12.87 kilometers, to be exact. To reach this distance on a standard ¼-mile track, you would need to walk 32 laps.
Depending on your height and stride length, you’ll end up walking between 16,000 and 20,000 steps in an 8-mile walk.
How Long Does It Take To Walk 8 Miles?
The time it takes you to walk 8 miles depends on a number of different factors. Things like your fitness level, your weight, your pace, and the terrain you’re walking on will affect the amount of time it takes.
However, you can expect at least 2 hours of walking to reach 8 miles. Those who walk a little faster, around 4 miles per hour, can finish an 8-mile walk in 2 hours. If you walk a bit slower than that—let’s say 3 miles per hour—you’ll walk for around 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Of course, it also depends on how much time you spend stopping to rest, and if your pace slows down or speeds up throughout the walk.
Can You Lose Weight Walking 8 Miles a Day?
Yes! As long as your diet and your exercise complement each other, you can definitely lose weight by walking 8 miles a day.
The important thing is to find out how many calories you burn on average every day—including during your 8-mile walk—and ensure you’re eating fewer calories than that.
That way, your body will need to access its fat stores for energy, causing you to lose weight. Just remember—it usually takes 8 to 12 weeks of consistency to start seeing results!
How Many Calories Does Walking 8 Miles a Day Burn?
The number of calories burned will differ from person to person and daily. It depends on many factors—your weight, your walking intensity, the terrain, and how tired you are on the day, to name just a few.
However, we can get a rough idea of the number of calories burned thanks to research done by Harvard Health. They studied the number of calories burned in 30 minutes by three people who weighed different amounts while doing different activities.
Based on their findings, here’s a rough estimate of the calories you can expect to burn during an 8-mile walk:
- Walking at 3.5 mph (2 hours, 17 minutes):
- 125-lb person: 482 calories
- 155-lb person: 599 calories
- 185-lb person: 716 calories
- Walking at 4 mph (2 hours):
- 125-lb person: 540 calories
- 155-lb person: 700 calories
- 185-lb person: 756 calories
It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean you need to eat less than this calorie number in order to lose weight!
These are simply your “exercise calories”—your body will most likely burn more than twice this number daily just doing normal things like walking, breathing, and digesting food.
Use the calculator above to get an accurate number to ensure you aren’t under-eating or overeating.
What Are Some Benefits of Walking 8 Miles a Day?
There are many benefits of walking 8 miles a day. Although it might take some time to work your schedule around an 8-mile walk, it’s worth it for the health benefits!
- Lower blood pressure, better cardiovascular health: Walking may be low-impact and more relaxed than running, but it strengthens your lungs and heart. This helps to lower your chances of developing heart disease.
- Stronger bones and joints: Walking is a “weight-bearing exercise.” These kinds of exercises help to build strength in bones. Regular walking also increases both blood and synovial fluid in the joints.
- More toned body: Provided you’re eating less than you’re burning, walking is a great, low-impact way to help you lose weight and keep it off.
- Stronger immune system: The better your cardiovascular and physical fitness level, the better your body’s ability to fight off disease.
- Improved sleep quality: Tired muscles and endorphins help you get better sleep when you settle in for the night. Better sleep equals better overall health, as your body and brain heal when you sleep.
- Improved mental health: Endorphins released during exercise positively affect your mood and overall mental health. And if you walk in nature, the effect is even greater!
Tips for Getting Started Walking Every Day
Want to eventually get to walking 8 miles a day? Here’s how to start and build a sustainable walking habit.
Set a Goal
If you’re just starting, a more appropriate goal may be 3 miles a day. To go for 8 miles a day out of the gates might be a little ambitious! You can work your way up as your body gets used to it.
Set a mile goal, so you have something specific to work towards each time you go out for your walk. Finding the optimal distance for you may take a bit of time.
You can start out with one mile and see how you feel. If it was easy enough for you, try upping it to two miles, then three, and so on. But try and settle on a distance that’s quite doable but isn’t so easy that it doesn’t feel challenging.
Create a Plan
If you plan on walking every day, you might wonder why creating a walking plan is necessary. Research shows that following a walking or running plan has better success than just winging it!
Even if you do the same thing every day, write it down in plan form. This could be a task on your to-do list every day on the calendar, or you could create a plan in your chosen app to follow it each day.
Find a Support System
If you’re more of a do-it-alone person, you don’t have to involve anyone else in your walks. But if you need a bit of accountability and support, it’s a good idea to find some kind of support system.
This could simply be telling your family or a close friend about your plan and asking for support and encouragement. Or, you could join a walking club or even an online group, with people at the same level as you.
This will give you some accountability, as well as introducing you to people in a similar position to you who may be able to offer advice and encouragement.
Choose the Right Shoes
Your shoes can make or break your walk. If you overpronate—roll your feet inwards more than average when you walk—you should wear a stability shoe, so double-check this before you aim for 8 miles a day in the wrong shoes!
It’s fairly easy to find out if you overpronate or not. We highly advise not skipping this over—wearing shoes that aren’t right for your feet can result in discomfort and even put you at risk for injury.
Be Selective About Clothing
Choose clothing that’s light, loose, and comfortable to walk in. Make sure it’s soft against the skin and doesn’t cause chafing, because you’ll be wearing it for 2 hours or more at a time.
Quick tip: avoid cotton clothing. It absorbs sweat, so you’ll walk in damp, clingy clothing… Which is uncomfortable and can cause chafing.
Choose Your Routes In Advance
It’s a good idea to work out a few routes that are 4 miles one way and 4 miles back. That way, you know exactly where to walk to get your 8-mile walk in, and you won’t find yourself either stranded miles from home or having to walk around the block a few more times to hit the 8-mile mark.
If you have a compatible device or app, you can create routes and save them for later.
Warm Up and Cool Down
Don’t forget to warm up before and cool down after your walk. Doing dynamic stretches should be enough to warm your muscles before you head off. Some static stretching afterward will help to ease any tightness.
Make It Interesting
Think a 2+ hour walk might be boring? Try to spice it up as much as you can. If you enjoy walking to a good beat, you can listen to music while you walk. We recommend bone conduction earphones so you can still hear what’s going on around you.
Or, you can make it a game. Set yourself a list of things to spot during your walk—a small dog, a red flower, someone wearing brown pants, etc—and tick them off as you go.
You could also walk with someone else. This will give you plenty of time to chat and catch up! Everyone’s idea of fun is different, though, so find something that works for you.
Track Your Progress
You can use your smartwatch or fitness tracker to keep track of things like distance, time, calories burned, and steps walked. This makes it easy to compare from walk to walk and see how you improve.
If you don’t have a smartwatch, you can always write things down in a training log or journal. You can also include notes about any niggling injuries or pains you experienced during the walk, the weather, and anything else notable.
Keep in mind that if you’re walking on a treadmill, the calorie counter may be inaccurate. If you want more accurate data, investing in a smartwatch is wise.
Pay Attention to Nutrition and Hydration
This is important, especially if you’re walking to lose weight. You’ll need to make sure you’re eating fewer calories than you burn but still enough calories to fuel you through your days.
Even if you’re not walking to lose weight, you’ll find that your walks go better if you fuel yourself with healthy, nutritious food.
Don’t forget about hydration, either. Whether you’re waking in the heat of the day, after dark, or indoors on a treadmill, it’s essential to stay properly hydrated.
Listen to Your Body
Walking 8 miles can be taxing on the body! If your body isn’t getting enough rest between each walk, it can show some unpleasant signs, including fatigue, a weakened immune system, frequent injuries, and a lack of motivation.
Pay attention to your body and rest when you need to. In fact, we highly recommend getting at least one full day of rest each week to give your body some breathing room. If your body is telling you it needs to rest, let it!
Your routine won’t be ruined if you skip a day here and there. Just get back to it the following day—or a few days later—and continue with your walking plan.