Image via The NYC Walking Show / YouTube (screenshot)
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A new, viral fitness trend on apps such as TikTok has media outlets buzzing about the health benefits of "silent walking," such as reduced stress or diminished chronic pain.
While many TikTok trends (such as the Tide pod challenge) have turned out to be dangerous — or even reportedly deadly in the case of the "boat jumping challenge" or the "Benadryl challenge" — the latest fitness trend on the app is so benign it seems like a joke.
"Silent walking" is described as taking "a walk without music, without a phone, no distractions," according to Fox 26 Houston. "It combines the benefits of exercise and meditation and nature," one host explained as she engaged in the now-seemingly foreign concept of literally just walking.
The insane simplicity of the concept has not stopped a plethora of mainstream media outlets from associating a wide array of health benefits to going on the occasional stroll.
According to Today, the health benefits of "silent walking" include lower stress levels, increased energy, "resilience," and of course a "deeper connection to oneself."
An article from Newsweek titled "I Had Chronic Pain. Silent Walking Healed It" stated that the author was healed of "debilitating hormonal migraines."
"Everything from bright lights in the room to the glare of a computer screen triggered the headaches, and I spent countless days in bed in the dark," the author wrote. "When my Tylenol and Motrin stopped working, I knew it was time to search for other natural solutions to get relief," the writer continued.
The simple solution was apparently to stop constantly looking at screens.
The author also said that she initially walked with headphones in, fearing that if she were to walk without the distraction of a podcast or music, her walk "would be unproductive."
Health sites are shamelessly promoting the fad as well, with Health.com saying that the trend is people trying to be present in the moment and could be a difficult endeavor for those who rely on music, podcasts, or TV shows to "avoid anxious or depressive thoughts."
The website BestLife attempted to explain the deep meaning behind going for a walk, describing it as a counterculture of sorts to the "strain of constant connectivity."
"In a world saturated with screens, apps, and alerts, many people are feeling the strain of constant connectivity. Silent walking is a direct counter to this, offering a respite and a return to simplicity," a personal trainer told the outlet.
While "happiness and life satisfaction" were among the benefits listed, obviously, "there's no shortage of ways that silent walking can boost your mental health."
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