Last year, hot girl walks were all the rage. Spawned from the need to get out and about during the Covid-19 lockdowns, they were as much about mental health as fitness.
The standard setup was making a playlist of empowering songs, planning to be out for a certain amount of time and thinking about your goals and what you’re grateful for (as well as how hot you are – after all, it’s in the name) while you got your steps in.
However, there’s a new walking trend that promises to improve your mental health and wellbeing with one caveat: you need to leave the Airpods at home.
Dubbed ‘silent walking’, it’s all about taking a walk, albeit free from distraction. And while this has always been a thing, obviously, TikTok creator Mady Maio introduced her own take on it earlier this summer.
Maio said her nutritionist recommended 30-minute walks every day as an alternative to the intense cardio she’d been doing.
Her partner then challenged her to walk without distraction – no Airpods, no podcast, no music. Her initial thoughts were, “my anxiety could never” and she admits that the first two minutes of her walk were “mayhem” with racing thoughts and anxiety.
But after that, she says her brain entered a “flow state” where she could hear herself.
She suggested we need our intuition to hear “whispers” that provide clarity, but if we’re constantly blocking out sounds, we’re not giving ourselves the opportunity to hear them.
After 30 minutes on her first ever silent walking jaunt, Maio said she found “the clarity she had always been looking for”, and her brain fog lifted.
She added that “suddenly all these ideas are flowing into me because I’m giving them space to enter”.
According to Happiful, there are plenty of benefits to a silent walk – from increasing the opportunity to be mindful, to switching off from technology, to inspiring creativity.
We also know that mindful walking – which is basically where you are aware of each step and breath you take when you walk – can reduce stress and blood pressure.
How to get started with silent walks
While the concept may seem fairly straightforward, life coach Val Jones says you’ll probably feel some resistance to the concept, thinking it’s boring or something you could never do.
However, she has a great solution: do it in baby steps. In a TikTok video she says that when you’re starting out, do just two minutes of silent walking. Then, the next time, add another three minutes.
Jones says that for those first two minutes, it’s going to be rough – “your mind is going to be screaming at you,” she suggests – but once you get past that, it’ll be easier to do three minutes. She advises doing this just two times in the next week.
The life coaches urges people trying it to “notice what’s happening, notice your mind floating, I guarantee you’re going to feel calmer, more relaxed, more connected, more grounded”.
Worth a try, right?