Why You Should Stop Running And Start 'Silent Walking' (Or At Least Try It)

People claim the phenomenon is changing their lives.

silent walking, trend, exercise, mental health @mandymaio, @kenzieelizabeth, @gratawellness / TikTok 

Normally, when we go for a run or walk, whether it be to get some exercise or make a quick trip to the store, we are inclined to plug in our headphones to listen to music or bring our phones along with us. 

For some of us, the activities distract us from the intensity of the workout and act as a social crutch should we run into other people along the way. However, more and more people are opting to leave their music, phones, and any other distractions behind when they go on walks, and swear that the habit is changing their life.


'Silent walking' is said to clear your head of any background noise and allow yourself the chance to de-stress.

Even though “silent walking” existed long before the invention of phones and iPods, the phenomenon was reintroduced by TikTok influencer Mady Maio after her nutritionist recommended that she start walking for 30 minutes a day to improve her physical and mental health. 

The suggestion was made to substitute the “intense cardio” workouts that Maio usually engaged in that were causing her body to become “inflamed.” 

As Maio prepared to embark on her first 30-minute walk, her boyfriend challenged her to ditch all distractions, including her AirPods and phone, and simply enjoy the walk completely on her own. “Just me, myself and I,” she says in a TikTok video. 


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While Maio admits that she was initially hesitant about the idea, with her mind “racing with anxiety” for the first two minutes, her worries quickly came to a halt. “Something happens after the first two minutes, where your brain just gets into this flow state and everything is quiet,” Maio claims. 



It was then that she realized the benefits of being alone with your own thoughts can have on you, especially if your mind is always buzzing. 


“The universe and your intuition come to you through whispers, so if you’re never alone with your thoughts, and you never get quiet, you’re gonna miss the whispers,” Maio explains. “After 30 minutes of silent walking, I suddenly had the clarity that I had always been looking for.”

She says that during her walk, she became engulfed with ideas she had never had before since she never “allowed them the space to enter” since she was often distracted by her phone.

“When you’re listening to a podcast or music, you’re distracting yourself,” Maio says. “You’re not letting the signs and the ideas have space to come to you... Every time I finish a silent walk, I have a new idea for my business, I’ve untangled a weird situation in my head that I’ve been ruminating over, and I feel like a lot of my current question marks get answered.”

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Maio encourages viewers to give silent walking a try, even if the idea may seem daunting at first or if you can only do five minutes a day. “Give yourself the gift of getting quiet and listening to those whispers,” she says. 

People swear that 'silent walking' has improved their health drastically. 

Other TikTokers have hopped on the silent walking bandwagon, and are sharing how it is improving their mental health and giving them new life perspectives. 

Kenzie Elizabeth thanked Maio for introducing her to the idea, claiming that it has eased her anxieties significantly. She has committed to taking at least one silent walk a day, preferably in the morning when she first wakes up. 

“You may think, ‘Oh my god, that’s literally my worst nightmare: me, myself and I and my thoughts,’” Elizabeth says. “But then you do it, and you’ve reached a level of peace you’ve never known.” 




She says that the walks allow her to take a moment to appreciate the simple beauty of her neighborhood and get her creative juices flowing. 

“It’s great to de-stress and get all of the benefits from walking but it is also a time to let myself hear my own thoughts,” TikToker Marianna (@gratawellness) adds in her own video, sharing that she often takes notes of all the ideas that pop in her head after her walk. 

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Despite the current trend that many people are taking advantage of, silent walking is nothing new.

It has been around for centuries, starting with Buddhist monks who practiced a similar concept called “walking meditation,” a walk that brings attention to your feet and body and allows your mind to enhance emotional awareness. 

Before digital music and mobile devices came around, offering us constant distractions at our fingertips, people were left with no choice but to take walks with nothing but themselves and their minds. 


It’s a healthy pastime that mental health experts believe that more people should partake in. “Silent walking is an easy way to disconnect from all the noise and chaos that is part of our busy world,” Juanita Guerra, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in New Rochelle, New York, told TODAY. “Quieting the mind can also lower anxiety levels as it is an exercise in becoming grounded.” 

Silent walking can also improve physical health by lowering one’s blood pressure, maintaining a healthy heart rate, and strengthening muscles. 

Perhaps the best part about silent walking is that anyone can do it since there is no equipment required (after all, it is discouraged to bring anything). All you need is the outdoors, a pair of legs, and an open mind.

So if you’re feeling especially stressed and have not yet attempted a silent walk, ditch your cell phone and allow yourself the time and space for a 30-minute decompression activity that may not only change your day, but your life as well. 


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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.