Walking seems to be the fitness trend that just keeps growing. In 2020 and 2021, many of us picked up the habit out of necessity. The Covid-19 pandemic closed gyms and fitness studios across the country, so a daily walk became one of the few opportunities for exercise available to us. As of 2021, people were walking more miles per person than they had since 2002.
Now, as restrictions have lifted, our obsession with walking has only continued to grow. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), walking remains the most popular form of exercise. And if TikTok is anything to go by, walking for fitness is creating more buzz than ever. Viral treadmill walking trends like 12-3-30 and the Taylor Swift Treadmill Strut have racked up millions of views.
Hot girl walk is the latest walking trend to take TikTok by storm. And while this fitness trend does promise to keep you fit, it isn’t necessarily what you might think. Unlike some previous fitness trends, the hot girl walk isn’t just about physical fitness – it’s about mental fitness, too.
What is the hot girl walk anyway?
The hot girl walk isn’t what it sounds like. While you may think it’s all about walking to look ‘hot’, it’s actually about walking to feel hot.
The hot girl walk was coined by TikTok user Mia @exactlyliketheothergirls in 2021. As she explained in one video, the hot girl walk in its purest form is a daily four-mile walk outside with an inspirational podcast or a carefully selected motivational playlist – Mia even shared her own on Spotify. But that’s not all.
“A lot of people are thinking that the hot girl walk is about weight loss, but it’s not,” she said. “The biggest transformations are the ones that start internally.”
Mia explains that the hot girl walk consists of thinking about three specific things for the entirety of the walk:
- What you’re grateful for
- Your goals
- How hot you are
The general idea is about encouraging yourself into patterns of positive thinking. You should avoid fixating on to-do lists or worries or relationship problems. Instead, you think about positive things in your life – and, of course, it wouldn’t be hot girl summer if you didn’t also think about how hot you are, too!
What are the benefits of the hot girl walk?
The physical benefits of walking have already been widely acknowledged in the medical community. Daily walks have been shown to improve everything from cardiovascular health to mobility.
As one 2014 study showed, walking offered incredibly similar physical benefits to running when it came to reducing hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes.
A 2022 study even found that “brisk” walking could help to slow the biological ageing process.
But the hot girl walking trend goes beyond just the physical side of things. It’s also about improving mental health and self-esteem through mindfulness and positive thinking – and, of course, an hour-long break from screens.
“Getting out of the house and getting some fresh air can help improve your mental health,” Lucy Arnold, founder of fitness brand Locket Loves, tells us. “Getting the heart pumping, fresh air and some scenery can be just what you need to help clear your mind and help you think.”
In theory, it should help to reduce anxiety, stress and unhealthy thought patterns, while also improving self-image. After all, by spending an hour reaffirming your own hotness, you might just feel a little more – well – hot.
Why positive thinking works – and how the hot girl walk risks getting it wrong
At a glance, it’s easy to see why the hot girl walk appeals to a lot of young women. Recent studies have found that mental health has, on the whole, been deteriorating for young people over the past few years. And, in 2019, a staggering 50% of people aged 18-24 claimed that they worried about their body image.
For many people with anxiety or poor self-esteem, toxic thought patterns can make things worse. By encouraging yourself to think in more positive patterns, you may be able to start rewiring the mind to think about your life and your body more kindly.
“Positive affirmations are good for you, telling yourself you are worthy and worth it,” says Arnold. “Thinking about all of the wonderful things you are capable of, and what you have accomplished and what you hope you achieve can be a great way to boost your self and your mood.”
However, on the other hand, there are some elements of the hot girl walk positive thinking that may not work quite as well as some TikTokers claim.
“Sometimes it’s good to just switch off,” Arnold continues. “If you force yourself to think of things daily then it will become more of a chore and something you don’t necessarily want to do. This can then make you feel bad about yourself which is in direct contradiction of what you are trying to achieve.”
Like other overly prescriptive meditation techniques, it’s easy to feel like you’re ‘getting it wrong’ on a hot girl walk, especially when you struggle to keep your mind focused on the three things you’re ‘allowed’ to think about.
And then there’s the focus on ‘hotness’. While feeling confident in your body is a huge part of mental health, the incessant focus on being a so-called ‘hot girl’ may make the hot girl walk feel exclusive for some people. Many TikTok videos feature women showing off their ‘hot girl walk’ outfits or filming themselves feeling hot on their walks. So, this trend can feel a little contradictory – while the aim is to focus less on looking hot and more on feeling hot, TikTok can make it hard to separate the two ideas.
Plus, it may make some people feel that hotness is, after all, purely about looks. Maybe it was only a matter of time before TikTok gave us the girlbossification of walking!
Tips on making the hot girl walk work for you
- Find out what feeling hot means to you. Maybe it’s more about being strong, mobile and kind to yourself and less about your body or your fitness clothes.
- Be a little flexible. Remember the four miles, the playlist and the three-point thought rules are all made up. Take inspiration from the trend and create your own routine that suits your schedule – you’ll be far more likely to keep it up this way.
- If you can’t get outside for an hour-long walk, you can still practise positive thinking. “Tell yourself each day something positive, even if you don’t think it’s a big thing,” Arnold suggests.
Overall, it seems that the hot girl walk has the potential to be great for you, both physically and mentally. But like a lot of TikTok trends, it has a tendency to try to be two conflicting things at once. While it’s easy to focus on the aesthetics of the hot girl walk, remember, it really is about how it makes you feel.