Walking is one of the most popular and accessible ways for people to exercise and get active. When determining how much exercise one should get, an important consideration is understanding calories burned from various activities. For many, walking 8 continuous miles may seem quite ambitious. Just how many calories does this distance equate to?
This article will provide a detailed overview of how many calories the average person can expect to burn walking 8 miles. We’ll explore how this can vary based on different factors like speed, terrain, individual stats and more. Read on to learn just how significant of a calorie burn walking 8 miles really provides.
Determining How Many Calories Burned
Before diving into calories for 8 miles specifically, it helps to understand how calorie burn from exercise is calculated in general.
The most common equation used is called the Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET). This represents the amount of energy expended by the body relative to being at rest. For all activities, a MET score is assigned based on intensity and exertion required. That MET value is then multiplied by a person’s weight in kilograms and the duration in hours to calculate calories burned.
For reference, a MET of 1 means a body is expending the same energy as at rest. Vigorous activity may require 6 METs or more. Using standard tables, walking at a moderate pace equates to approximately 3 to 4 METs. Running can spike closer to 9 METs depending on speed. This MET system allows calorie burn to be reasonably estimated for all types of common activities.
With this foundation of METs now understood, we can explore how it applies for walking 8 miles specifically.
Calculating Calories Burned from Walking 8 Miles
Most standard calorie burn calculators suggest that a 160 lb person will burn approximately 413 calories walking at a moderate pace for 8 miles, which equates to about two hours of activity. This lands at about 3.5 METs.
However, this can vary more significantly based on a few key factors:
Faster speeds require greater energy expenditure, increasing MET values. Casual walking often lands between 2-3 mph, while purposeful walking is often between 3-4 mph. Here’s a breakdown of how speed impacts calorie burn for an 8 mile walk:
- Casual pace (2 mph): About 300 calories per 8 miles
- Moderate pace (3 mph): About 413 calories per 8 miles
- Brisk pace (4 mph): About 550 calories per 8 miles
- Very brisk pace (5 mph): About 688 calories per 8 miles
As you can see, shaving just 30-60 minutes off can add over 100+ extra calories burned in the same 8 mile distance.
Terrain and Incline
Obviously walking 8 miles on a flat sidewalk will require less effort than variable terrain. Individuals who incorporate more hills or inclined terrain can further boost calorie burn. This requires increased muscle exertion, raising MET values higher.
As another example, an 8 mile walk with varied/hilly terrain could reasonably burn 550+ calories for many people.
Naturally, individual stats like sex, weight, height and age can all impact rate of calorie burn as well. Here are some trends:
- Weight: Heavier people burn more calories covering the same distances. Greater energy is needed to move more mass, while a 120 lb person burns fewer calories than a 180 lb person at the same speeds.
- Sex: Men tend to burn more calories than women for identical activities, often 10-20% more. This is tied to increased muscle mass and aerobic capacity that is typical for males.
- Age: As people age, potential calorie burn declines as resting metabolism slows and fitness levels decrease. A 20 year old may burn 30% more calories than a 60 year old at the same intensities.
- Fitness: Individuals improve aerobic capacity and metabolic rates with consistent training over time. As fitness improves, calories burned at fixed speeds/distances increase.
Accounting for all these factors can mean a difference of +/- 50% calories for the exact same 8 mile walk. It reinforces why generic estimates provide only general guidance. Real calorie expenditure can vary substantially.
Calorie Comparison to Other Exercises
While walking 8 miles constitutes significant activity, how does it compare to other common exercise options for total calorie burn over that duration?
Here is an overview of calories burned from a few comparable aerobic choices:
- Walking (moderate pace): 413 calories
- Running (10 min miles): 750 calories
- Elliptical (vigorous effort): 800 calories
- Cycling (12-14 mph): 650 calories
- Swimming freestyle: 700 calories
As the numbers reinforce, most other vigorous efforts tend to burn incrementally more calories per hour than casual walking. This aligns with their higher MET values from increased intensity and muscle engagement.
That said, walking still makes for an excellent choice given it’s accessibility and harm-free impact. Ensuring one sustains a brisk pace with varied terrain through the full 8 miles enables calorie totals to approach some other activities.
Weight Loss Impact from 8 Mile Walks
When aiming to lose weight, maintaining a sustained calorie deficit is key for gradual loss over weeks and months. So how might walking 8 miles several times per week contribute toward ending a calorie shortage?
Based on the baseline estimate of 413 calories burned per 8 miles, here is the potential cumulative impact:
- Walk 8 miles once per week: Burn 413 calories
- Walk 8 miles three times per week: Burn 1,239 calories
- Walk 8 miles five times per week: Burn 2,065 calories
- Walk 8 miles six times per week: Burn 2,478 calories
As you can see, regularly walking 8 mile distances just a few times weekly creates significant compounding effects for extra calorie burn. When combined with dietary reduction in calories consumed, this calorie deficit drives measurable weight loss over time.
It’s why regular walking of lengthy distances makes for such an invaluable contribution for many seeking to lose excess body fat through caloric reduction. The walking itself requires no equipment, monetary cost or learning curve beyond having adequate shoes and preparing joints/muscles through gradual ramp up in volume.
Typical Pace Breakdown for 8 Mile Walks
When setting out to walk 8 continuous miles, most people find it beneficial to break the journey into segments of different intensity levels. Attempting to maintain maximum speed the entire way often results in premature fatigue or injury risk.
Here is one example of a modulated pace plan:
- Pace: Moderate (3 mph)
- Intensity: 60% max heart rate
- Objective: Warm up muscles, acclimate cardio to workload ahead
- Pace: Brisk (3.5 mph)
- Intensity: 70-80% max heart rate
- Objective: Increase calorie burn, sustain faster rhythm
- Pace: Moderate (3 mph)
- Intensity: 60% max heart rate
- Objective: Cool down, let heart rate decrease
Adjustments can be made based on fitness or desired intensity. But in general, bookending with easier paces makes physiological sense based on ramping up and winding down energy systems. The middle segment targets working harder when the body is adequately primed.
This type of planned modulation better allows an 8 mile distance to be completed regularly without overtaxing the system. Moving briskly the entire way may undermine recovery or motivation over time for many walkers.
Tips For Injury Prevention Across 8 Miles
While walking is considered low impact, covering 8 continuous miles does accentuate injury likelihood if risk factors are not properly managed. Here are some key strategies:
- Choose Appropriate Footwear – Shoes should provide ample cushion and support especially in heel and arch. Replace every 300-500 miles.
- Strengthen Muscles and Tendons – Calf, quads, hamstrings play a major role in gait and shock absorption.
- Gradually Build Distance – Slowly increase average mileages first before attempting 8 mile benchmarks.
- Cross Train – Complement walking with some biking or swimming to alleviate repetitive stresses.
- Listen To Body – Take extra rest or cut back volume if pain signals arise anywhere.
- Fix Imbalances – Common issues like hip weakness or tight IT bands heighten injury chances.
- Maintain Ideal Weight – Every extra pound of mass multiplies ground reaction forces significantly.
With prudent preventative care, an 8 mile walking distance poses low injury likelihood for most adults absent other health complications. Being attentive and responsive to warning signs remains key.
Nutritional Considerations to Optimize 8 Mile Walks
Alongside training factors, nutritional support can enhance the caloric, metabolic and recovery processes related to lengthy walking bouts:
- Hydration – Sip about 4-8 oz H20 every 15-30 minutes during walking depending on sweat rates. Dehydration degrades all system processes quickly.
- Carbohydrates – Keep glycogen levels stable by replenishing glucose via fruits, juices or sports drinks during longer duration low intensity activities.
- Protein – Needed for rebuilding and repairing muscle tissues strained from extended use. Target about 0.5g / kg bodyweight per meal in the 1-2 days afterwards.
- Micronutrients – Magnesium, sodium and calcium help neurotransmitter functioning during activity and best absorbed through whole food sources like bananas, nuts, seeds, whole grains.
Tuning diet not only fuels better daily performance, but means the body reaps fuller benefit from each successive walk. This allows fitness enthusiasts to walk further, faster and more often.
Alternative Options Once Comfortable With 8 Miles
For those who adapt well to walking 8 miles consistently, new horizons open for varied training additions that substantially kick up calorie burn:
Incline Walks – Seek routes with extended elevation gain and loss rather than flat ground
Stair Climbing – Walking endless stairs engages muscles uniquely.
Weighted Vests – Gradually add torso load in 5-10 lb increments up to 40+ lbs.
Backpacking – Challenge cardio and muscular endurance carrying weighted pack for miles
Race Walking – Perform walk intervals at max sustainable pace for improved speed and form.
The adaptability of walking allows for remarkable scalability in terms of intensity techniques compared to most other exercises. Approaching miles differently prevents plateaus by forcing new stimuli over months and years.
For the committed walker targeting high calorie burn, exploring these advanced weighted and inclined variations will pay ongoing dividends. They expand metabolic flexibility and efficiency in utilizing fat for fuel during low intensity aerobic demands.
Additional Health Benefits Beyond Calorie Burn
Clearly 8 mile walks provide tremendous calorie burn. But increased activity of this nature imparts a host of additional health markers beyond just weight management when adopted consistently.
Some of the prominent benefits include:
Aerobic Fitness – Sustained walking drives cardiovascular adaptation, increasing VO2 max capabilities and endurance that provides health gains and longevity.
Improved Blood Markers – Active individuals see improvements in key markers like cholesterol profiles and blood pressure over time.
Muscular Toning – Walking utilizes all major muscle groups in both lower and upper body, creating subtle but meaningful toning to leg and core muscles especially.
Mental Health – Physical activity strongly supports decreased risk of anxiety and depression due to hormonal and neurochemical changes during exertion.
The collective impact of these adaptations and more contribute to significant decreases in morbidity and mortality risks for those completing regular moderate-vigorous physical activity compared to sedentary peers.
Best Practices for Burning More Calories Over 8 Miles
Looking to maximize caloric expenditure on your 8 mile walks? Here are some key tips to implement:
Walk Daily – Increased frequency burns more total calories through compound effect.
Vary Intensity – Incorporate periodic bursts of faster paces throughout route.
Include Hills – Blend flat and inclined terrain to engage more muscles.
Use Nordic Poles – Upper body engagement equals greater energy needs.
Wear Weight Vest – Adding load increases difficulty substantially.
Track Progress – Use fitness watch or app to monitor improvements over time.
Accounting for Post-Exercise Afterburn
An often overlooked component of total calorie burn is excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), also called afterburn. This represents elevated calorie burn in the hours to days following intense training sessions as the body works to recover homeostasis and adapt to stress signals.
Nearly all HIIT and resistance training drives some component of EPOC. But recent research confirms lower intensity aerobic activity like walking also contributes, especially as duration increases beyond 60+ minutes.
For a robust walk of 8 miles, EPOC may represent an additional 25-50 calories burned in the day or two afterwards. Not a massive contribution but one nonetheless. It also relates to some of the elevated metabolic benefits of routines involving more cardiovascular-based activity.
Over months and years of sustained training, these marginal additions after each bout do begin compounding in a measurable way as well. It’s why regular adherence makes such a difference long-term for walking and weight management rather than sporadic and occasional efforts.
On average, walking 8 miles a day at a moderate pace burns around 400-500 calories. For heavier individuals or those walking at a brisk pace, this calorie burn can surpass 600+ calories.
Yes, significant incline and hill climbs during an 8 mile walk can increase calorie burn by 25% or more compared to walking on flat ground. The greater exertion levels required activate more muscle groups.
Walking moderate distances fasted generally poses little concern for most. But attempting longer durations like 8+ miles without fuel before or during can lead to feeling lightheaded, fatigued and undermine performance. Consuming some carbs/protein prior provides support.
Pace plays a major role, but most can complete 8 miles between 1.5 to 3 hours depending on factors like terrain, rest breaks, traffic lights and fitness level. A moderate 20 minute per mile pace equates to 2.5 hours total.
While step counts vary substantially by stride length, the average individual takes approximately 12,500 to 15,000 steps to complete 8 miles. This depends greatly though on speed and anatomy.
Dynamic stretches beforehand raise core body temp, enhance range of motion and reduce injury likelihood. Static stretching afterwards aids delayed onset muscle soreness and flexibility. Just don’t static stretch cold muscles.
Walking 8 continuous miles certainly qualifies as an ambitious undertaking for most people. Yet for healthy adults without injuries or restrictions, it remains an attainable goal that delivers tremendous health and fitness value when completed consistently. It can serve as either a standalone activity or be integrated as part of cross-training routines that blend other exercises.
The baseline estimate of approximately 400 calories burned indicates immense caloric impact. This figure can vary based on walking pace, terrain, sex, weight, fitness and other individualized factors. When combined with other sound nutrition principles, sustaining multi-mile walks 3+ days weekly supports measurable fat loss over time.
Beyond just calories, consistent walking provides noteworthy improvements in cardiovascular health, mental wellbeing, blood metrics like cholesterol and blood sugar regulation and increased longevity. The exercise accessibility and gentle learning curve enables adoption by wide-ranging populations.
So for those seeking an exercise program aligned around fat burning and health promotion, walking 8 miles in a single session represents a worthy anchor. One that delivers results across performance markers and quality of life measurements when completed routinely.