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“It was a bummer, and we felt cooped up,” Lind says. “My mom kept telling me and my sister to go for a walk outside. So we did, and, little by little, I started to feel better.”
Over the course of the pandemic, Lind developed what would become one of TikTok’s biggest fitness crazes yet — the Hot Girl Walk. Her video describing the Hot Girl Walk has garnered over 750,000 views, and the #hotgirlwalk hashtag has millions of views and a billion Google hits.
Here’s how it works: Walk. Every day. Ideally, about four miles. And while you walk, you can think only of the following: Your goals. What you’re grateful for. And how hot you are.
For that last part, Lind is riffing on the Hot Girl Summer trend brought to us in July 2019 by Megan Thee Stallion, a rapper who eventually released a song of the same name. The genius behind Hot Girl Summer is that it’s not about physical appearance; hotness is a state of mind, after all.
But unlike many fitness trends, the key principles behind the Hot Girl Walk — walking and mindfulness — are backed up by research.
Among other benefits, regular walking has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, improved memory and cognition, lower stress, improved mood and a lower risk of premature death.
“Walking’s best attribute is its simplicity,” says David Sabgir, a cardiologist and the founder of Walk With a Doc, a community of physician-led walking groups.
Sabgir says Lind’s four miles may be challenging for many people. “Fortunately, we derive benefits from even small walks, and those benefits only increase as our step count goes up,” Sabgir says. “150 minutes a week or more is a wonderful goal.”
Practicing gratitude, meanwhile, has been linked to increased overall well-being — it’s associated with greater patience, increased happiness and stronger relationships.
“While double-blind placebo-controlled studies of the Hot Girl Walk have not been conducted, there are plausible mechanisms for how it may boost well-being and self-rated subjective hotness,” says Glenn Fox, a neuroscientist at USC Marshall School of Business who specializes in the neural correlates of gratitude, empathy and neuroplasticity. “Those undertaking Hot Girl Walks may benefit from gratitude’s virtuous cycle, beginning with exercising both one’s mind and personal volition, reducing distraction, and focusing on personal abundance and strengths. The benefits of the Hot Girl Walk may be theoretically unlimited.”
Readers may be wondering: Is the Hot Girl Walk only for … hot … girls? First, remember that hot is a mind-set, and second, if “girl” doesn’t describe you, feel free to cross it out and write in your preferred descriptor. That’s what Rob Kirkpatrick did when his daughter, Ceara Kirkpatrick, a wellness and photography influencer on TikTok and Instagram, launched a challenge she called Walk Girl Summer.
“I made a calendar that my followers could use to keep track of their progress,” Ceara says. “My dad printed it out, crossed out ‘Girl,’ and wrote ‘Dad’ above it.” Thus, Walk Dad Summer was born.
Ready to start your own Walk Girl Season? Here are some tips for mastering the Hot Girl Walk.
Remember, the purpose is not about becoming an ideal body type or look, or achieving an impossible fitness goal. “The point of the Hot Girl Walk is to channel something that is already inside you to increase your physical and mental well-being,” Lind says.
Do what you can. Ceara Kirkpatrick opts for a 45-minute walk rather than Lind’s four miles. “If you’re not feeling it, just go for five minutes,” she says. “Every little bit counts.”
Get outside. While you can do the Hot Girl Walk on a treadmill, it’s really meant to be done outside, preferably in nature. “Walking outside allows me to focus on the present moment,” Kirkpatrick says.
Make it a no-judgment zone. “Instead of being critical, try being curious,” Lind says. “Notice when thoughts are becoming self-critical and gently bring them back to things you’re grateful for.”
Go with friends. If quiet contemplation isn’t for you, ask a friend to join — or give someone a call as you walk. And look for Hot Girl Walking Groups in your area — Ceara Kirkpatrick’s Girls Who Walk Facebook group is a great place to start.
Don’t forget safety. If possible, try to walk during daylight hours in an area with sidewalks. If you’re listening to music, skip the noise-canceling headphones. Always be aware of your surroundings. “If your instincts are telling you something is wrong, turn around,” Rob Kirkpatrick says. Dad wisdom for the win.
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