About six months after Rachael Cell moved from Chicago to New York last fall, she noticed that all of her clothes were roomier. She was not doing the weightlifting exercises she used to do at home. She was just walking. Everywhere.
“Chicago is not really a walkable city. [Here] I walk as much as I can,” Cell, 24, told The Post of her athletic-fueled walks in her high-waisted Lululemon Align leggings.
Cell’s go-to look and workout are inspired by #HotGirlWalk, TikTok’s viral obsession where young women go on hour-long walks that double as photo ops. Popular with Gen Z and Millennials, these thrilling mental health breaks are best achieved in chic matching sports bras and leggings, perhaps accessorized with cute arm weight bracelets. Visualizing your “warmth” while walking is also essential, according to Mia Lind, the 23-year-old woman who first coined the term in a TikTok with over 750,000 views. Today, walking groups are on the rise and fitness studios are in vogue with the growing demand for low impact workouts that still deliver results.
“Getting outside, moving my body and getting some fresh air automatically makes me feel better physically and mentally,” said Cell, who joined earlier this year. City girls walkinga free weekly walking club with 14,000 Instagram followers, hundreds of them gather every Sunday at 2 p.m. at Pier 45.
Cell also hits the gym’s treadmill, where she does the popular “12-3-30” workout, setting the incline to 12, the speed to 3 miles per hour, and walking for 30 minutes.
Now she said, “My jeans are getting too big.”
For a sweatier walk, New York-based fitness studio SLT (Strengthen, Lengthen, Tone) just introduced their HIIT Walk. Billed as “not your mom’s brisk walk workout,” the hybrid workout combines 25 minutes of walking on the treadmill at intervals with 25 minutes on the Megaformer.
“Walking is all the rage right now,” Amanda Freeman, founder and CEO of SLT, told The Post.
“There are people who want to do brisk walking but hate running or other traditional forms of exercise. It used to be a joke that brisk walking in the mall was only for older women and now it’s totally validated as a legitimate workout for people of all ages.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last month found that walking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes a day led to a reduced risk of heart disease and dementia, while more than 10,000 steps a day (equivalent to 8 km) could be associated with a lower risk of cancer and death.
Brianna Joye, 29, fitness instructor and founder of City Girls Who Walk, said she incorporates walking intervals into her own workouts as well as those with clients.
“I use it to maintain my weight — I also tell my clients that if you can walk 10,000 steps a day, you’re on the right track,” Joye says.
But really, any amount of walking that can be squeezed in is beneficial, experts say.
“Walking at a moderate to vigorous pace can improve memory, sleep, cognitive function and help control your weight,” board-certified emergency physician Dr. Robert Glatter told The Post.
“While we encourage people to walk briskly or vigorously in order to achieve optimal health benefits, walking at even a slow to moderate pace can also bring many rewards. You don’t have to take 10,000 steps per Walking just 15 to 30 minutes a day or even just three days a week can have health benefits,” he said, noting that anything is better than constant sitting.
And that’s great news for followers of the #HotGirlWalk trend, which shows no signs of slowing down even with the mercury dropping.
“You literally couldn’t pay me to run,” Cell said.