Is the Hot Girl Walk more than a fitness fad?
If you haven’t already heard of the Hot Girl Walk, chances are you will.
The latest TikTok fitness trend has gotten the attention of everyone from millions of the platform’s users to news publications around the world. But while many embrace it as a novelty, it’s really what one website aptly calls a rebranding. Behind the catchy name is a combination of wellness concepts that have been a part of many of our daily lives for years.
Hot Girl Walk creator Mia Lind herself agrees, confirming that the trend is a rebranding of walking, which she felt was looked down on as a legitimate form of exercise.
Let’s take a little stroll to get to know 2022’s hottest wellness trend.
What is the Hot Girl Walk?
In 2021, TikToker Mia Lind decided to share an idea that had kept her going during the pandemic, something she eventually dubbed the “Hot Girl Walk.”
A Hot Girl Walk involves taking a walk while listening to your favorite music and thinking only about your goals, what you’re grateful for, and how hot you are. The goal is physical and mental self-care, not losing weight.
The Hot Girl Walk has won over laypeople as well as experts who praise it for tackling three health issues at the same time:
● physical activity (which a majority of US adults need more of, according to the CDC)
● mental self-care (To cite just one troubling statistic, 30% of US adults are currently experiencing symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.)
● self-esteem building (According to a 2019 survey, 50% of adults ages 18-24 said they had body image issues .)
Is the Hot Girl Walk for everyone?
Most of the press around the Hot Girl Walk doesn’t mention whether anyone who identifies as something other than a girl can participate. But the positive energy around the Walk makes it easy to think everyone is welcome.
Some fans have taken the initiative on their own. For instance, wellness influencer Ceara Kirkpatrick’s father participates, calling it the Hot Dad Walk instead.
Although it started out as a solo activity, many people do the Hot Girl Walk with a friend or in groups. In fact, Hot Girl Walk groups are becoming increasingly popular across the US.
What about hot girls who can’t walk the recommended 4 miles a day? Many people are doing what works for them, whether reducing the distance or measuring their walk by time instead of miles.
Is the Hot Girl Walk here to stay?
The Hot Girl Walk has millions of fans and seemingly nearly as many participants, if TikTok users’ posts are to be trusted. It’s also sparked some parodies and spin-offs (including the Rich Mom Walk and the Grumpy Girl Stomp), a sure sign of something’s cultural influence.
But will it last or will it be a sort of time defining wellness trend we look back on with kitsch nostalgia?
One thing that may give the Hot Girl Walk some staying power is the fact that the elements that make it up have existed long before the Hot Girl Walk. In fact, walking has been among the top physical activities for US adults for decades. So it’s more a question of whether or not the name itself will have staying power.
What could hurt the Hot Girl Walk?
The Hot Girl Walk is beloved for its promotion of both physical and mental well-being. But there are some less positive sides that may threaten to stop the Hot Girl Walk in its tracks.
Earlier this year, wellness influencer Kate Glavan started something on her own TikTok account called the Fugly Hag Stroll. Instead of being a parody of the Hot Girl Walk, Glavan’s version has a point to make:
I appreciate the Hot Girl Walk if it’s something you're doing for your health but my problem with it is that it’s turned into showing off your personal wealth and consumer habits. What workout set are you wearing? Where’s your expensive green juice coming from?
It turns out that many TikTokers posting their Hot Girl Walks are more focused on being outwardly, rather than inwardly, “hot”. Not only do they miss the point of the Hot Girl Walk; they imply that if you don't have cute, trendy athletic wear and accessories you shouldn’t bother.
Glavan - and the many people who agreed with her take and are now doing the Fugly Hag Stroll on the regular - pointed out another issue:
The first time [I posted about it] I was running late to a workout class and I filmed a TikTok. Everyone in the comments was…saying, "Yeah, I don't want to feel like I'm hot and dressing for the male gaze on my walk. I'm just walking to walk."…. [Y]ou can be into health and wellness but it doesn’t have to be aesthetically-driven at all.
To be fair, Glavan and other critics are reacting more to certain practitioners of the Hot Girl Walk, than to the trend’s original principles. Still, creating a different option may not be a bad thing. Maybe it will lead to more types of walks, or maybe eventually people will want to just get back to basics.
Whatever happens to the Hot Girl Walk and its progeny, hopefully they will have inspired more people to walk and to use positive self-talk. No matter what you call them, there’s no denying that both are beneficial for anyone’s health - hot girls and hags included.
Contact Our Writer – Alysa Salzberg