The Health Benefits of TikTok’s ‘Silent Walking’ Trend
There is no doubt that walking has numerous benefits, but did you know that silent walking can take these benefits to a whole new level?
Going for a walk usually entails grabbing your headphones to listen to music or a podcast, but research suggests that walking without any distractions can provide significant mental health benefits.
Silent walking has become increasingly popular, particularly on TikTok, where creator Mady Maio shared her nutritionist’s advice to replace intense cardio with a 30-minute daily walk. To maximize the benefits, Maio's boyfriend suggested that she should walk without any distractions. This trend has gained momentum, with countless people reporting that silent walking allows them to be alone with their thoughts, helping them feel calmer and think more clearly.
Walking without distractions is not a new concept, but in today's fast-paced world, being present and undistracted is a rarity for many people. Experts believe that incorporating silent walks into one's routine can significantly impact physical, mental, and emotional health.
What are the health benefits?
The sudden increase in popularity of silent walking points to how busy modern life has become. And silent walking provides us with a way to unwind and slow down. Experts have noted that one of the most significant benefits of silent walking is its ability to alleviate stress and anxiety. In today's fast-paced environment, many of us are constantly in a state of fight or flight, which can negatively impact our bodies and minds if left unchecked.
Silent walking encourages us to be present in the moment and to be more aware of our surroundings. This practice allows us to be mindful rather than having a mind full of distractions. By dedicating time to mindfulness in this way, we can feel more relaxed and clear-headed, which can positively affect our physical health. Walking without distractions reduces our exposure to stressors like noise, which helps our bodies enter the parasympathetic state of rest, digestion, and restoration.
Why silent walking?
Walking silently and walking while being distracted are two different ways of walking. Walking with distractions provides more stimulus, and depending on how stressed you feel, it can compound feelings of anxiety and overwhelm. This is due to the fast evolution of technology, which makes it difficult for our brains to process the barrage of information we receive daily.
Although listening to music or a podcast while walking can be beneficial, it can also elicit strong emotions and memories or distract the mind, preventing clear thinking and focus. Removing distractions while moving your body can be a great way to step away from overload if you're walking to take a mental break.
On the other hand, silent walks can be more immersive and can help us better appreciate nature. Studies show that this can be particularly beneficial for our mental and physical health. In 2022, researchers found that going on a nature walk for at least one hour reduces stress-related brain activity and restores focus. This also resulted in lower blood pressure levels.
Get the most out of your silent walks
To fully enjoy the benefits of silent walking, it is essential to make it a mindful experience. When walking, try to feel the ground beneath your feet. Take some time to stop, look up at the sky, and observe the depth of color and the shapes of clouds. If you come across any beautiful flowers or leaves, take a moment to touch and appreciate them.
All these little things contribute to mindfulness by letting you notice the details around you and keep your mind focused on the present moment instead of wandering off into thoughts about work, family, or future worries.
The bottom line
Are silent walks really as beneficial as they seem? Well, it all depends on what you're looking for. If you're in the mood for some stimulation, a thrilling podcast or the company of a good friend might be the way to go.
However, if you genuinely need a break from the stresses of everyday life and are looking for a chance to rest, recharge, and reset, then going distraction-free offers many mental and physical benefits, making it a better option.