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People Are 'Silent Walking' & Raving About Its Benefits

Eliminate mind chatter by walking in peace and quiet—no headphones allowed.

It's likely second nature to you to lace up your sneakers for a walk and immediately cue an audiobook, podcast, or playlist. Or maybe you enjoy meeting up with friends at your local trails to catch up while getting in your steps. However, there's a new trend in town called "silent walking" people are raving about, and it may totally change the way you do your cardio. If you're not making your walk as relaxing as possible, you might actually be missing out on some pretty amazing, extra health benefits. Keep reading to learn more about what silent walking is all about, along with what the experts have to say about its benefits.

What is silent walking?

fitness woman walking on trail

Walking in and of itself is a healthy habit to get into. It can help you keep a healthy weight and burn body fat. In addition, walking regularly can aid in the prevention of many health conditions including stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and even cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also boost your muscle endurance and energy.

Now, enter the silent walking trend, which ups the ante on the goodness you can derive from each step. The premise of silent walking is pretty simple: walking in silence without the company of your favorite podcast or music! It gives you the opportunity to actually give your brain a rest, clear your head, self-reflect, and fully soak up your walk.

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Eat This, Not That! spoke with Dr. Stacie Stephenson, a recognized leader in functional medicine and bestselling author of Glow: 90 Days to Create Your Vibrant Life from Within, who explains, "Silent walking is really just walking meditation, which is ancient. It has many of the same benefits of sitting meditation, with the added benefit of exercise." Although Dr. Stephenson isn't typically into "trends," she dubs this particular one a "classic."

Dr. Stephenson points out, "We have become a multi-tasking society, always plugged in and stimulated by many things at once. Science says this isn't necessarily good for our brains, to be constantly multi-tasking—it could even lead to mental health issues." This "multi-task" kind of lifestyle applies to workouts as well, where individuals are usually tuned into music or even TV shows.

"I will say that if listening to music or podcasts is the only way you are going to exercise, know yourself well enough to realize that and keep doing it," Dr. Stephenson says. "Exercising while multi-tasking is better than not exercising at all! However, if the brain and body benefits of meditation are your goal, but you have a hard time sitting still, silent walking may be what can get you to your goal."

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Walkers are obsessed with the trend on TikTok.

TikToker Arielle Lorre of The Blonde Files Podcast swears by silent walking. She explained in an interview on the platform, "I've been really into silent walks lately … I feel like when I walk in silence, my senses are on high alert. I smell everything, I hear everything, I am seeing everything, and it's so grounding for me … I'm trying to make the silent girl walk (or guy) … a thing."

Another TikTok user, Val Jones — Life Coach, claims that silent walking pretty much saved her life. "After my divorce, I started walking every day and getting out into nature every day, and it became a huge part of my healing. First, I always had to be listening to something—podcast, music, whatever—because it was just so almost painful to walk in silence. And I started slowly building up my ability to walk in silence, and walking in silence has been the biggest part of my healing," Jones revealed in her video.

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These are the benefits of silent walking.

mature woman walking

There are so many wonderful benefits of walking in silence. Dr. Deena Adimoolam, MD, a specialist in primary care prevention and endocrinology and a member of our Medical Expert Board, actually considers it a form of mindfulness. It's an excellent way to decrease stress, depression, and anxiety, Dr. Adimoolam shares. It also slows down your heart rate and improves your blood pressure, mood, cognition, memory, and sleep. In addition, by engaging in silent walking, you'll be giving yourself some relaxation and self-care. Sounds like a pretty good recipe for physical and mental health, don't you think?

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"Walking meditation gives your brain a break. It's like a reboot," Dr. Stephenson tells us. "If your brain is used to constant stimulation, the subtle stimulation of nature may be hard for you to notice at first and you might feel bored, but I encourage you to persevere."

Dr. Stephenson compares it to giving up "stimulating" foods like coffee, alcohol, sugar, or fried food items. "You are used to that strong jolt of taste or instant mood boost, but long term, these 'fixes' can have a negative effect, with an energy crash or stress. When you wean off them and your body adjusts, more subtle pleasures like the sweetness of fruit, the crunch of raw nuts, or the layered flavors of a mocktail or a cup of tea emerge and become just as pleasurable, if not more, because they are less stressful on the body," she explains.

Quite similarly, when you cut yourself off from consistent stimulation from media devices, you allow yourself to embrace the less hectic and simpler nature of silent walking. You can actually stop and smell the roses, so to speak. "[It's] not just the way your body feels as it moves in the way it's meant to move, but also the gentle pleasures of bird song, a light breeze, the warm sun, and the colors of the trees, sky, and flowers," Dr. Stephenson stresses. "This is the kind of mindful participation in your own life that can bring you a deep sense of inner peace and calm."

There's plenty of time to listen to music or videos while you are commuting or doing chores around the house. Savor your walk time, and embrace all of the benefits of silent walking completely.

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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