TikTok has spawned a variety of viral trends from baked feta pasta to gel pellet gun attacks on unsuspecting targets, but one recent fad actually promotes physical and mental health through regular exercise.

While social influencers are calling them Hot Girl Walks, anyone – male, female, hot or not – can participate. And, hot, just to clarify, isn’t a body temperature measurement, although we know the benefits of exercise increase when we warm up enough to perspire.

The Hot Girl Walk trend combines three elements:

  • Jaunts of at least three to four miles.
  • Being plugged into a musical playlist that boosts your spirits.
  • Thinking positive thoughts about things that make you happy or grateful, plans you have for the future, your goals and, undoubtedly, how hot you are. Again, not a sweat droplet ratio reference.

The combination of exercise and positive thinking is healthy and energizing, according to Carla Schnitzlein, DO, medical director of Natchaug Hospital, part of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network.

“Seeking out positive thoughts, in fact, is a core technique used in several therapy exercises such as ones that encourage you to imagine your best self, document positive experiences through gratitude journaling, etc.,” Dr. Schnitzlein said.

Integral to the Hot Girl Walk, music and musical concepts like tempo, rhythm and key have their own positive effect on mood, she continued. Major keys, for example, are considered happy sounding and uplifting.

“Song lyrics also can affirm positive and empowering messages with the language they use. A skilled music therapist can work with clients to identify songs that use affirming language and the right tempo and key to achieve the desired mood state,” Dr. Schnitzlein said.

Studies have long promoted the positive impact exercise has on mood, self-esteem and relief of anxiety. The most recent research, she explained, goes further to suggest that exercise increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical involved in mood and anxiety regulation. This then enhances one’s response to stress and helps prevent depression.

“It makes sense that exercise and its benefits, combined with positive song messages at the right tempo and rhythm, can create an elevation in one’s mood. In addition, the right music can actually provide motivation to work out and enforce healthy behavior!” Dr. Schnitzlein said.