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Infinity walk: Benefits of following an 8-shaped pattern

Infinity walk: Benefits of following an 8-shaped pattern

Walking in a pattern of the number eight or the infinity symbol improves neuromuscular coordination and aids weight management, say experts
Walking in an 8 shape is beneficial for weight management, neuromuscular activation and improving proprioception, among others
A long-exposure shot captures the trail left by the smartphone light of a man practising eight-shaped walking. (Photo by Anantha Subramanyam K / Happiest Health)

Walking, benefits notwithstanding, can get a tad boring, especially if it’s done following a similar pattern day in and day out – be it intensity or the path you trace. The chance of boredom magnifies when done in a limited space. Enter infinite walking or walking in an 8 shape.

In 8-shaped walking, one walks tracing a pattern of the number eight (8) or the infinity symbol. Initially, it was developed to improve neurological connections in individuals. Later, this style of walking was adopted as a variation of the traditional form (straight-line walking), which is beneficial for weight management, neuromuscular activation and improving proprioception, among others.

Benefits of walking in an 8 shape

Walking in an 8-shaped pattern improves one’s coordination and balance. It also enhances their sensory integration and cognitive abilities, say experts.

“Walking in an 8 shape offers the same health benefits as regular walking,” says Megha Choudhary, a physical therapist and health advisor from Ahmedabad. “It helps in weight management. It increases metabolism and improves muscle endurance, which in turn improves bone strength. It prevents and helps in treating conditions like high BP [blood pressure] and diabetes.

Walking in an 8 shape requires a relatively higher level of focus on the task. “That improves concentration,” says Dr Sai Teja Yerraboina, general practitioner from Mangalagiri, Andhra Pradesh. “Since people focus intently, it distracts them from feeling low or depressed.”

How to walk in an 8 shape?

An article published in the International Journal of Creative Research Thoughts lists the following steps for 8-shaped walking:

  • To start with, the activity should not be random. Mark or create an 8-shaped pattern on the floor, demarcating the positions as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on. You can also keep an object at the start and end points for reference.
  • Proceed from position 1 and follow the 8-shaped pattern, progressing through positions 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 before returning to position 1.
  • Do not walk too fast or sloppy and focus on your breath while walking.

When people walk in an 8 shape, they interact with the points of reference in the pattern. For example, when an individual starts walking from the starting point, they focus on the next point by looking at it. As their eyes are focused on that point, their body will move accordingly. There will be natural neck, shoulder and leg movement focused on the point.

“While walking in an 8 shape, a distance of three feet [minimum] should be maintained between points,” says Choudhary. “This makes the walk easier. If the reference points or the objects placed at different points are close, everything will seem too near and disturb the flow of the walk. If there is enough distance, the person will not feel dizzy as well.”

Beginners can start at a slower pace. 8-shaped walking can be done anytime and anywhere, and allotting 10–15 minutes a day for this is sufficient. However, it’s just a supplementary exercise that should be clubbed with other workouts.

“Compared to straight-line walking, 8-shaped walking will improve coordination, shoulder movements and arm swing or upper body movement. This will help activate the whole body. However, apart from 8-shaped walking, one should exercise regularly and follow a proper diet,” says Choudhary.

Managing dizziness during an infinity walk

A person walking in an 8 or infinity shape is not likely to feel dizzy if it’s performed at a comfortable speed (at their own pace and time). In addition, they can keep chairs at some reference points while walking. If they feel dizzy, they can sit on those chairs for some time and then continue at a slower pace.

People with back complications, knee issues or any other orthopedic conditions should tread carefully as the body twists while walking in an 8 shape. The pain or other symptoms could aggravate if the necessary precautions are not taken. Wearing a knee cap is a must for those with knee issues.

Walking in an 8 shape enhances neurological functioning

The brain is divided into two hemispheres: the left and right hemispheres that control the right and left sides of the body, respectively.

“Apart from improving eye and neck movement, 8-shaped walking activates both hemispheres. It constantly promotes communication between both regions and improves balance, coordination and trunk movements,” notes Choudhary.


  • Walking in an 8 shape provides the same benefits as regular walking. Besides improving neuromuscular coordination, it also improves focus and sensory motor skills.
  • Beginners should start slow and increase the pace gradually.
  • An infinity walk or an 8-shaped walk can be done anywhere and anytime. Doing it for 10–15 minutes a day is sufficient.

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