During the COVID-19 lockdown, 22-year-old Mia Lind, also known as @exactlyliketheothergirls on TikTok, was looking for a way to get out of the house and focus on her physical and mental health. After documenting her own daily walks on social media, using a #hotgirlwalk hashtag, Lind launched a wellness trend that at last count has generated more than 272 million views on TikTok.
Women with a variety of fitness goals and backgrounds are hitting the sidewalks, streets and trails via #hotgirlwalk to share their journey toward better physical and mental health.
“This challenge isn’t about losing weight but helping you achieve your goals,” shared Lind on TikTok.
According to Lind, a “hot girl walk” ranges from approximately two to four miles each day. Workouts typically last around 45 to 60 minutes. Participants are urged to walk outdoors whenever possible and take a photo of “something beautiful” they notice during their workout. In addition, Lind encourages walkers to write down three goals before venturing out — one personal, one professional and one social — and to check the status of these goals around every two weeks.
Via TikTok, Lind discussed the origins of hot girl walk, which began during a rough patch in her life. “I’ve always been super extroverted, but COVID plus a hard breakup left me alone with my thoughts for the first time. One of my friends recommended going on walks as a way to get out of the house,” she said.
Participants have shared their own transformations with benefits such as improvements in mental health and fitness, more appreciation for the outdoors and psychological clarity. Some walkers take the extra step of turning off — or at least turning away from — their cell phones for a few moments.
Such benefits can help employees managing home and work life — whether they work onside, a hybrid schedule or remotely from the office. Lind’s relatively simple but bold suggestions could also offer companies inspiration on how to boost their employees' health and wellness programs.
“Anytime you start working out, it changes the way you feel, both physically and mentally,” said Kari Pearce, creator of PowerAbs and PHIIT. “Exercising, in general, is so good for you mentally and physically. Just the simple act of moving your body, getting your blood pumping and raising your heart rate releases feel-good hormones that can boost your mood.”
Exercising outdoors offers the added advantage of enhancing both the experience and the results.
“When you exercise outside, the physical and mental health benefits are even more prevalent,” Pearce added. “Spending time with nature and the natural light gives you a healthy dose of vitamin D, which may help reduce stress and depression. Also, people who exercise outside tend to work out for longer periods, which means they burn more calories overall.”
Pearce added that the hot girl walk trend is an excellent way to get people interested in walking on a regular basis.
“Because no matter your fitness goals or current fitness level, walking is a great way to take some time for yourself, get your body moving and give your mind a little reset,” she said.
For hot girl walk participants who choose to ditch their cell phone during their workouts, there can be additional rewards.
“I make a point to leave my phone behind or turn it on silent when I go on my walks or mini runs,” Pearce shared. “I do that because sometimes life gets a little crazy, and I need to take some time for myself.”
The popularity of hot girl walk may be due in part to its focus on simply walking, an inclusive, no-cost activity that is easy to incorporate into daily life. In addition, a hot girl walk can double as a social activity if friends, family or colleagues tag along.
“There are plenty of ways to get active, but walking is one that works and is easy to stick with,” Pearce said. “Not only will you improve your health, but you may just find that you enjoy it — which is a huge bonus. And who knows, maybe you'll even start setting some fitness goals for yourself along the way.”
Since creating #hotgirlwalk, Lind shared on social media, “So many of you have reached out to me telling me how powerful the hot girl walk has been for you.”
Image credit: Ayelt van Veen via Unsplash
Janice Phelan is a communications consultant and freelance writer based in the Kansas City metropolitan area. She has also worked as a journalist and public relations professional with extensive experience in education, health and wellness, workforce development and nonprofits.