This is an excerpt from Please Like Me, the BuzzFeed News newsletter about influencers and internet culture. You can sign up here. In our new column, Social Media Made Me Do It, we try a new trend, product, or tip from the feed.
The new fad exercise on TikTok is...walking. Rebranded as the Hot Girl Walk, the hashtag has gotten more than 451 million views. Videos are going viral of people claiming they’ve lost weight after simply strolling around for a long time.
Social media has long turned various kinds of health trends into viral phenomena simply by making them look really nice. There were the Chloe Ting YouTube workouts at the beginning of quarantine. The 12/3/30 treadmill workout was popularized by YouTuber Lauren Giraldo. Searches for “reformer Pilates” exploded this summer after several celebrities revealed that it was part of their workouts.
Hot Girl Walks have come on the heels of self-care videos and “clean girl TikTok,” envisioning the imaginary woman who is so wealthy that she has hours of spare time to walk around in expensive clothing. And the rebranding of walking as a valid and desirable form of fitness has been a fun reintroduction of the activity, even if attaching it to weight loss and online diet culture has its own unique downside. Selling the physical results and the aspirational aesthetic is what has made Hot Girl Walks as popular as the activity itself.
In spite of it all, I have been a very big advocate of Hot Girl Walks. They have become a staple tactic of mine to get offline and mentally decompress. Here, I attempted my best aesthetic TikToker impression for this walk, but I also felt very exposed as someone who is obviously doing it for social media. But even if you don’t want to engage with the social media trappings of it all, it’s still a free and low-maintenance way to feel active, unlike the trends of reformer Pilates and hot yoga, which are expensive and can be difficult to regularly carve out time for. You don’t need to do the hardest workout to be a Hot Girl — you can just go on a walk and be one.