It seems the latest Generation Z infatuation has moved away from technology and is now... walking.
Not just walking though, but rather, the TikTok famous “hot girl walk.”
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic coincided with the rise of TikTok, as people suddenly had an abundance of time and took to TikTok as a social media platform to spend it. Walking was, coincidentally, also becoming a popular pandemic activity as it allowed you to leave the house and get fresh air and exercise while gyms were still shut down, all while mitigating the risk of spreading the virus.
A year and a half ago, Mia Lind, a TikTok user by the username exactlyliketheothergirls, shared with the world how she uplifted her casual neighborhood stroll to what she calls her “hot girl walk.”
In an interview, Lind explains, “I also felt that walking had a strong stigma as not being a valid form of exercise so I gave ‘walking’ some rebranding as a hot girl walk.” In a TikTok video, Lind published a strict list of criteria for her hot girl walk.
There are three rules: you are only allowed to think about things you’re grateful for, your goals and how you’re going to achieve them, or as the name suggests, how hot you are. She also recommends listening to an upbeat playlist to maintain a brisk walking pace.
The extreme viral nature of the hot girl walk, or HGW, is owed to the fact that it was introduced at a time when people were scrambling for hobbies and ways to reinvent themselves. It also coincided with a steep decline in adolescent mental health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that more than a third (37 percent) of high school students report experiencing poor mental health during the pandemic. The mental health benefits of the hot girl walk became very compelling for that reason. Since its induction, people have personalized their own hot girl walks and released different playlists and tips for the act of hot girl walking.
Many health and exercise professionals have responded to the trend with all sorts of health benefits to the hot girl walk, including reduction of excess body fat and aiding in digestion or boosting moods, among other things.
Hot girl walk clubs have also been popping up with clubs in major cities uniting hundreds of women to walk together. Kylie Harris started her own hot girl walk club in Dallas. She meets every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. and can expect anywhere from 40 to 200 women to show up each day.
Harris explains she wanted to start a group of women who support women — it’s a positive space where women come to meet and mingle. They even often go for drinks afterward.
The City Girls Who Walk club is another hot girl walk club in New York City. This one was started by fitness influencer Brianna Kohn, whose club meets at Pier 45 in Hudson River Park. The club meets every Sunday at 2 p.m., where they walk along the West Side Highway.
Aside from prompting the creation of clubs that promote a sense of community, the hot girl walk has also popularized fashion trends like matching sports bra biker short sets, Set Active clothing, noise-canceling wireless headphones and the sold-out Lululemon belt bag.
The truth is, though, hot girl walks can be extremely accessible. All you really need is a pair of shoes, and you can hot girl walk anywhere and everywhere.