Hot Girl Walk or Grumpy Stomp: What’s your walking style?

Find out if you're a silent walker, rainbow seeker or in it purely for the exercise

The Hot Girl Walk entails strolling uninhibitedly while looking chic. Getty Images
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“I have two doctors: My left leg and my right.” So said British historian George Trevelyan, to highlight the benefits of walking. Indeed, this engaging and accessible act offers a plethora of physical and mental benefits, from weight maintenance and blood sugar regulation, to whittling down stress and enhancing mindfulness.

A Harvard Health report from last year also claims that walking can help curb chocolate cravings.

Walking soared in popularity mid-pandemic, with young proponents – especially those active on social media – coming up with a gamut of creative, even kooky walking styles.

Here are eight to know, including one that was coined in the 1980s, but is back on the circuit now.

Hot Girl Walk

In 2020, University of South California student Mia Lind “created” the Hot Girl Walk “as a way to deal with the negative impacts of isolation”, as per the official website. Lind says she went on 6km walks to “confront her negative self-talk and focus on positive, aspirational thoughts and ideas” and reported that her daily strolls led to better health and increased happiness.

In 2021, encouraged by family and friends, she launched the now-trademarked walking style with a video on TikTok that has racked up more than 3 million views, spawning the hashtag #hotgirlwalk. Now a movement, the technique has women kitted out in chic athleisure and walking uninhibitedly, owning public spaces like never before while tuning into empowering music or affirmations.

Silent Walk

Popularised by TikTok creator Mady Maio, this style takes the idea of mindful, stress-relieving walks to the next level by eliminating distractions such as phones or laptop screens.

Maio has reported on social media that her nutritionist advised her to walk for 30 minutes daily as a healthful, stress-busting alternative to intense cardio sessions. Her boyfriend chipped in by suggesting Maio walk without distractions to augment the benefits of her workout. The rest is history.

The walk has now become a popular movement, with many claiming it allows them to reflect and experience serenity in the absence of distracting screens.

Aqua Walk

Also called Seashore Walking, this technique is meant to be practised in a water body, ideally along the shore, so benefiting the upper and lower body. The resulting water resistance helps relieve joint pain as practitioners walk on the soft, pliable surface.

The low-impact exercise is not only a great cardio workout, but also helps burn calories while building muscle strength. This is because water is denser than air and exercising in it requires more effort than on land.

Rainbow Walk

Walk until you spot something in every hue of the rainbow – violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red – and you’ll be Rainbow walking.

To take this activity to the next level, experts recommend carrying a camera, sketch book or diary along to document your observations, or write in a journal once you’re back home. If it’s a group rainbow walk, share your observations with co-participants and listen to theirs to learn about diverse and interesting perspectives on the same objects, thus broadening your outlook.

Weird Walk

Initiated by Emilie Leyes, a hypnosis and brain-training specialist from New York, this walking technique involves taking an extended stroll with the primary goal of uncovering something strange or unusual along the route. Instead of using the walk to get in a certain number of steps or to run errands, “weird” walkers keep on going until they find something offbeat to spark their creativity.

Strange patterns on roads, foliage bursting out of unexpected crevices, dogs behaving oddly, offbeat graffiti, anything can make it to this list.

Meditative Walk

As the moniker suggests, the idea is to stay focused on walking and let freewheeling ideas flood the mind akin to a meditation session.

Proponents say the process, also known as movement in meditation, allows them to walk in autopilot mode while reconnecting their mind and body, which is key to well-being. The aim is to be as mindful as possible by being aware of your body and all physical sensations, with the eyes open and the mind fully rooted in the present.

Grumpy Girl Stomp

Quite the antithesis to languid strolls, this is all about releasing stress and frustration through vigorous movement. First coined by influencer Madi Wood on TikTok, a Grumpy Girl Stomp involves putting on one’s trainers and getting back to nature in all one’s grumpy glory, to make one, well, a little less grumpy.

However, experts say it’s also a trend that reminds us that walking isn’t just about physical exercise. It can also be a form of emotional expression and catharsis, and that it’s OK to blow off some steam if you feel better at the end of it.

Afghan Walk

This style was born back in the 1980s when Edouard Stiegler, a French researcher, observed the Afghan caravan drivers who walked more than 60km a day often for more than 10 days. The technique is based on the co-ordination between breathing and the pace of each footstep.

Part physical activity, part mental workout, the Afghan Walk offers benefits for both body and mind. It also helps practitioners walk for long distances without exerting too much effort. The trick is to inhale on the first three steps, hold the breath on the fourth step, exhale on the next three steps, then hold the breath on the eighth. And repeat.

Updated: November 23, 2023, 10:05 AM