Step up the walk- The New Indian Express


Express News Service

In a world that’s constantly on the move, it’s no surprise that even the simple act of walking has evolved as one of the biggest exercise trends in the recent times. From the serene tranquility of silent walking to the quirky adventure of weird walks, and the vibrant joy of rainbow walks, each variant carries a unique blend of physical, mental and emotional benefits. And for those days when you’re feeling a bit under the weather, the grumpy girl stomp offers a therapeutic release. Check out these trends and discover how they are reshaping our perspectives on this age-old practice.

Silent walking
Imagine strolling without losing yourself in music or relying on any form of companionship. It might sound unexciting, but for proponents of silent walking, leaving devices behind is the best way to foster mindfulness. Simply put, it’s about getting back to basics—putting one foot in front of the other, device-free. While the physical benefits of walking are well established, enthusiasts argue that silent walking holds unique advantages for mental and emotional well-being. This trend has surged in popularity since digital creator Mady Maio shared her nutritionist’s advice: replace gruelling cardio workouts with a daily 30-minute walk, free from technological distractions. In a video, Maio’s boyfriend also challenged her to walk without “AirPods, podcasts, or music”.

Manisha Bahl, a mindfulness expert from Delhi, says the trend is like a moving meditation—being present, grounded, and mindful of your surroundings. One of the most significant advantages is its potential to alleviate stress and anxiety. Bahl says, “Modern living often keeps us in a perpetual ‘fight or flight’ mode, activating the sympathetic part of our autonomic nervous system. This response, designed for acute situations, leads to stress on both the body and mind.” Gurugram-based psychologist Madhav Gupta explains its physiological benefits: “Walking without distractions reduces exposure to stressors like noise, enabling the body to shift into a parasympathetic state associated with rest, rejuvenation and digestion.”

Weird walk
Has this ever happened to you? You are on a stroll, and as you turn a corner, you spot a wall covered in eye-catching graffiti. You stop to admire it, realising that you may have never noticed it if you weren’t on this walk. This kind of wandering has a name called ‘weird walk’. Initiated by Emilie Leyes, a hypnosis and brain training specialist from New York, the trend revolves around embarking on an extended stroll with the primary goal of uncovering something strange or unusual along the route. Offering more than just a step-counting exercise, it encourages you to engage actively with your surroundings. The excitement of stumbling upon something out of the ordinary—be it a poster, graffiti or a quirky house—elevates the experience beyond routine walking. Mumbai-based therapist Jahanvi Sharma says, “These walks are the ideal choice when you want to step out, but aren’t quite sure what to do or where to go. Instead of wandering aimlessly, a weird walk gives you a purpose: to discover something offbeat. It is an excellent way to rewire the brain for resilience and creativity.”

Rainbow walk
It is straightforward yet engaging: continue walking until you spot something in every colour of the rainbow, whether it’s red flower petals, a green leaf, or a blue candy wrapper. “By being more present in the moment, you create a connection with your inner self. Additionally, it has the power to unlock your creativity and bring you closer to a state of calm and inspiration,” says Bahl. It also plays a role in promoting healing, making it a valuable tool for physical and emotional recovery. “It encourages individuals to confront avoidance behaviours, helping them address challenges head-on,” 
says Gupta.

Grumpy Girl Stomp
Contrary to the mindful trends, the grumpy girl stomp is all about letting out the negative emotions. Whether it’s a heavy, exaggerated stomp or a slow, deliberate stride, it encourages individuals to express their feelings through movement. Content creator Madi Wood wasn’t in the mood for the typical ‘hot girl walk’ (last year’s trend that revolved around flaunting confidence and good vibes during a stroll), and that’s when the ‘grumpy girl stomp’ was born. Unlike the sassy hot girl walk, which has you strutting to a sexy playlist, the grumpy girl stomp is about throwing on sunglasses and a hat to take 
a gloomy stroll.

Sumeet Sachar, a behavioural therapist from Delhi, says, “The grumpy girl stomp can be therapeutic. It allows individuals to externalise their emotions. Some might find it amusing to channel their inner grump while others use it as a tool for catharsis. It’s a trend that reminds us that walking isn’t just about physical exercise; it’s also a form of emotional expression.”

•12-3-30: Simply adjust your treadmill to a steep incline of 12 (or a level that challenges you), set your speed to three miles (4.8 kms) per hour, and walk briskly for 30 minutes.
•Backward walking: Also known as retro walking on a treadmill, it might initially seem unusual or awkward. This practice, however, activates distinct muscle groups when compared to regular walking, with a specific focus on strengthening the quadriceps muscles, which reduces pressure on the knee joints. 
•Treadmill strut: Begin with the first song on your playlist and set your pace where are you comfortable. As the song transitions, increase the speed by 0.16 km per hour. As you approach the final two songs, maintain the pace you’ve reached or elevate it to a jogging speed. Finally, for the last song, 
decrease the pace to a level that allows you to cool down while strutting it out.

“The grumpy girl stomp allows individuals to externalise their emotions. Some might find it amusing to channel their inner grump while others use it as a tool for catharsis.” 
Sumeet Sachar, Behavioural Therapist

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