In November 2020, Mia Lind was looking for a way to get out of her head and move her body as a stressed-out college senior amid the pandemic. Little did she know that the walking habit she created for herself, dubbed the “hot girl walk,” would become a fitness TikTok sensation.
Since posting her first walking video on the social media app in January 2021, the hashtag #hotgirlwalk has amassed more than 641 million views, and Lind says she’s received messages about the walk changing people’s lives.
What exactly is “walking with a hot girl”? Lind told CBS News that it’s a four-mile outdoor walk where you have to think about three things:
- For which you are grateful
- Your goals
- And how you will achieve them
“And finally, how cool you are, of course,” Lind laughs.
At least that’s how it started, says the creator. But the concept is adaptable to each person. For example, it doesn’t have to be outdoors or four miles to be considered a hot girl’s walk in Lind’s eyes.
“It’s really about building confidence and taking time for yourself,” she explains. “So whatever is most convenient for you.”
The whole point of the Hot Girl Walk was to make fitness more accessible, Lind says, which is why walking was a perfect fit, even if it wasn’t a “trendy” form of exercise.
“Our generation looks at walking, or at least it did … as a really invalid form of exercise,” she says, pointing to YouTube videos of running or ab workouts as what she typically sees online. “For some people starting out, (these) can be really scary, and walking is a very accessible form of exercise. You can be at any fitness level to get started (and) it’s completely free.”
While walking may not have been so ‘fashionable’, it is a great exercise option. A recent study from the University of Cambridge found that even an 11-minute walk a day can reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease and a number of cancers.
Lind has seen all ages benefit from the idea of ”cheeky” and “friendly” fitness.
At a meeting she organized in Malibu, the 24-year-old saw not only people in her demographic, but also middle-aged parents, seniors and ages in between.
Part of the popularity? It’s not just about physical health, it’s also about mental health.
Before she started her walks, Lind says she was afraid to be alone with her thoughts.
“I had a lot of negative self-talk that developed during the pandemic that got louder and louder,” she explains.
But through her walks, Lind has seen big changes in both her physical and mental health, including increased confidence and fitness levels, as well as a reduction in anxiety and negative thoughts. And now as a full-time worker in the tech industry, it also helps her de-stress.
If you’re interested in starting a hot girl routine yourself, Lind shares some tips:
Get out of there: The hardest part is getting started, Lind says, but creating a fun playlist can help motivate you.
Comfortable dress: Quality shoes and thick socks are game changers, she says.
Just do what you can: Walking four miles takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes, Lind says, which is roughly how long it might take someone to go to the gym. But you can also break it up into parts if that works better for your schedule.
“Just going out for 20 minutes three times a day will get you up to three miles,” she says. “Don’t push yourself to go too far. Start small and see how far you can go.”
Beware: Lind suggests changing your walking route, notifying a friend when you’re going outside, or carrying a personal safety device with you.
“You can’t be hot if you’re not safe,” she adds.