By now, you'll likely have heard of the Hot Girl Walk - a TikTok trend with nearly 300,000 million posts.
While you might just dismiss it as another social media trend, new research from Hunkemöller found that we're really paying attention to these trends in the wellness sphere, with over a quarter of Brits - 28%, to be precise - trying a viral health-related trend in the last year after seeing it online.
Today marks National Walking Day and so, in the name of journalism, I decided to give it a go. I've been curious about the Hot Girl Walk for a while - I'm normally quite sceptical about these viral trends as more often than not, the creator originally posts them for views, rather than real regard for their follower's health and wellbeing. That said, a daily walk sounded like something I could get on board with (especially after a March that ran at a thousand miles an hour).
Hot Girl Walk: As a Health Editor, my take on the trend
How to do a Hot Girl Walk
First up, a little about what the walk actually entails - because believe it or not, it's not just walking. Far from it.
Mia, a Tiktok user who calls herself the creator of the Hot Girl Walk, came up with the idea for the global phenomenon back in 2020. Picture it - we're peak lockdown, our mental health is suffering, and she makes a Tiktok about how she's boosting her own mental health.
Then, it goes viral. Millions of people all around the globe jump on the trend and rave about how it's boosted theirs, too. She encourages a four-mile walk (that's 6.4km, to those of you who prefer kms) outdoors in nature while listening to a motivational playlist or inspiring podcast.
But there's one catch: while on your walk, she encourages you to only think about the following three things:
- What you’re grateful for
- What your goals are
- How hot you are.
Yep, you read that right (and no, you weren't the only one to immediately think of Paris Hilton).
The main aim of the HGW (Hot Girl Walk) is simple: to boost your physical health. The NHS advises aiming for 10,000 steps a day, and there are a whole host of benefits of walking - everything from better heart function to boosted joint health.
The other key element? It promises to help improve your mindset, too, by utilising elements of reframing negative thoughts and manifestation. Think about it: 45 minutes of positive thinking are sure to have an effect on any day.
What I thought when trying the Hot Girl Walk
Time to give it a go. I set myself a challenge. One Hot Girl Walk a day, 45 minutes a go, for seven days a week. What would I learn? Would I struggle to squeeze it in or revel in the time outdoors?
Spoiler alert: it was the latter. I chose to head out for my walk first thing. Why? Because our bodies respond well to natural light first thing (thanks, circadian rhythm).
Day one and getting my steps in around my local park with a mint tea in hand, I’m sleepy but find it a soul-soothing way to kick off the week. Plus, I notice it helps my energy levels once I do get to my WFH desk.
Day two, and marching through Hyde Park surrounded by tourists isn’t quite as calming, but I still get to my desk with a clearer headspace feeling more prepared to tackle the day than if I’d been doing emails for 45 mins on public transport.
Later in the week, on a day when I’d started work earlier, I tried a HGW when I hit my 5pm slump. I actually preferred this time, in a way, as it helped me to wind down for the day and end my screen time.
On the affirmation front - I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t marching around my local park repeating how hot I was. That said, I did use it as an opportunity to repeat some personal affirmations, reflect on my week, and generally have some "me" time, which I enjoyed.
Rather than solely listening to motivational podcasts, I actually turned my phone off for a few of the walks later in the week to prevent myself from mindlessly taking it out of my pocket and scrolling for no reason. I didn’t feel comfortable going out without it alone but felt turning it off was a good middle ground as I could turn it on in an emergency.
One of the days I didn't manage the full four miles as I simply didn't have enough time that day to squeeze it in. But IMO, it shouldn't be about hitting an arbitrary mile marker anyway, rather, getting the fresh air and taking some time for your mental health. Forty five minutes might be a lot for busy mums or shift workers, so what's key, as I always say, is doing what works for you.
What the experts reckon about the Hot Girl Walk trend
Fair to say I was a fan - but what do the experts reckon? Well, Delia Rutherfoord-Jones, a Fitness First personal trainer, reckons that the HGW can be a great way to boost physical and mental fitness. "If it makes you feel good and helps to build your confidence, mindset and mentality, then go for it," she encourages. "Regular exercise outdoors or on a treadmill has great health benefits promoting longevity, heart and lung health, as well as calorie burn.”
What about his thoughts on Tiktok trends generally? Well, as I pointed out in my 2023 wellness trends piece, James Barr, also a Fitness First personal trainer, reckons most are worth approaching with caution. "Interestingly, a lot of the trends that are so popular online have been debunked as simply being fads or having no scientific truth behind them. However, the number of views certain hashtags or even individual videos have, show how much faith we put in strangers online — without any real evidence to back it up," he shares.
"For those who are genuinely instead in getting their physical and mental well-being in check, don’t put your hopes on trends you see on TikTok. Instead, listen to the experts, reach out to a personal trainer or simply get your body moving and you’ll start to see results.”
So - will you be giving the Hot Girl Walk a go?
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Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Senior Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, nine-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She's won a BSME for her sustainability work, regularly hosts panels and presents for events like the Sustainability Awards, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.
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