The health benefits of Tiktok’s latest #silentwalking wellness trend

Silent walking can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing. (Getty Images)
Silent walking can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing. (Getty Images)

TikTok has provided us with a whole slew of wellness trends in recent years, from living a soft life to taking up slow hiking, but the latest craze on the social media block could be just as beneficial for our mental health.

With over 97K views on the social media platform, 'silent walking' is a mindful movement that encourages people to take part in a moment of quiet.

Hot on the heels of the hot girl walk, and coined by TikTok-er Mady Maio, silent walking is all about connecting with nature and the world around sans phones or other distractions such as music, podcasts or audiobooks.

As the creator explains, stretching your legs without any outside influences can have a positive impact on wellbeing, helping to "lift brain fog" and find clarity in your thoughts.

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While some dismiss the idea as influencers trying to reinvent the simple concept of walking, others are fully behind the perceived plus points.

"I have been doing this for two months daily and it is game changing," one user wrote.

"That is called conscious meditation and I do it every day and have done for years, it's fabulous," another agreed.

"Dopamine detoxing," another fan added.

Silent walking is having a moment on TikTok. (Getty Images)
Silent walking is having a moment on TikTok. (Getty Images)

So why are people so into stomping in silence right now?

"After the chaos of the last few years, it’s no wonder that the latest trend is all to do with finding peace," explains neuroscientist and coach, Laura Ellera.

"Silent walking is just that - walking in silence. The idea is that your surroundings don’t need to be silent, but your inner world does. This means leaving the earbuds at home, putting your phone on silent and preferably finding even a small strip of nature to walk in.

"Immersing yourself in your surroundings and becoming fully present in the moment is what Buddhists call meditative walking."

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What are the health benefits of #silentwalking?

We already know the potential plus points of walking on our health, both physical and mental, but silent walking provides a whole host of other potential benefits for the mind, including enhancing our cognitive function.

"Silent walking allows for a unique combination of physical activity and mental concentration," explains neuroscientist and human behaviour coach and expert Eldin Hassa.

Research suggests that this practice activates the hippocampus, a brain region crucial for memory and learning.

"As you walk in silence, your mind is free from distractions, fostering a state of deep concentration that stimulates neural pathways associated with focus and attention," Hassa continues.

"This heightened cognitive function can contribute to improved problem-solving skills, creativity, and mental clarity."

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The practice can also help to reduce stress and anxiety.

"Walking in silence provides an escape from the constant stimulation and noise of our modern lives, allowing us to reconnect with the present moment," Hassa explains.

"This mental retreat activates the prefrontal cortex and amygdala, regions of the brain involved in stress regulation."

Hassa says silent walking has been found to reduce the production of stress hormones, such as cortisol, while increasing the release of endorphins, our brain's natural mood-boosting chemicals.

"By walking silently, we can promote a sense of calmness, reduce anxiety levels, and improve overall wellbeing".

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There are many mental health benefits of silent walking. (Getty Images)
There are many mental health benefits of silent walking. (Getty Images)

For those looking to get started, Dr Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller, chief medical advisor at AllTrails, suggests finding a quiet and peaceful location in nature, such as a park, forest, or beach.

"Look for an environment with minimal human-made noise to fully immerse in the natural soundscape," she suggests.

She also advises remembering to engage your senses.

"To deepen your connection with nature, consciously observe the sights, sounds, smells, and even the physical sensations as you walk," she adds.

Before you set off on your silent walk, positive psychology coach Iona Russell suggests trying to get yourself in the moment.

"Breathe deeply and calmly, then continue to try and stay fully present throughout the walk," she says. "This isn't an activity to tick off, it's about slowing down. Don't follow distracting thoughts. Don't rush. Slow down and be."

And to really ramp-up the wellbeing benefits it's worth taking a few moments to reflect on your experiences.

"Journaling your thoughts or feelings can deepen your understanding, solidify connections between thoughts and ideas, and also provide a record of your personal emotional growth," Dr Bartlett Hackenmiller adds.

And if walking is tricky for you, or circumstances don't allow, or the weather is hideous, Russell says you can still walk in nature in your imagination.

"Incredibly our minds don't know what is real and what is imagined so you can still get many benefits from going on a silent meditative nature walk in your imagination too," she explains.