Tag Archives: walking in the malls

Overcome the obstacles and keep walking!

9 Jan

Nico, tango and I taking a rest after walking!

It’s true, it’s wintertime and it’s cold outside. If you are like me, the cold weather is not going to stop you from taking a walk outside. I understand that It’s much easier to sit inside on a frigid, blustery day and read a book, under a blanket while sipping a mug of tea but this can make it difficult for us to find that motivation we had, not too long ago on January 1st to exercise and get fit. The cold weather is only one of the many barriers that exists when trying to implement a physical activity routine, especially one focused on walking.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists obstacles such as sidewalk conditions, crosswalks, lack of daylight in the winter, and safety from traffic and crime. But when we really think about it, we know that exercise is a necessary part of our daily routine. So if you won’t go outside for a walk because of one of these reasons, how you can get in 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week of physical activity without being in fear of freezing our feet off? Mall walking! While this isn’t a new idea, or even a very creative one, the mall is extremely underutilized for those who wish to exercise. Shopping malls can offer some of the best perks, such as:

  1. Temperature-controlled building
  2. Easy to access bathrooms
  3. Free water fountains
  4. Flat and level walking route
  5. Well-lit and safe environment with a security presence
  6. Benches to rest
  7. No membership required, so family and friends can walk with you

Call a friend and go to the mall to walk. Research studies further suggest that when individuals exercise with a friend who is also motivated, they are more likely to exercise longer, harder and enjoy it more. The American Heart Association states that walking 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancers.

Is walking in the mall challenging? Use the talk test. The talk test will determine if you are exercising at a moderate or vigorous level of activity. If you’re walking at a moderate pace, you should be able to talk, but not sing. Vigorous activity occurs when you are not able to say more than a few words without having to stop. If you walk into the vigorous zone, slow down or take a quick break to lower your heartrate to a moderate level.

Most malls open their front doors at least an hour early for mall walkers to have free reign. This is probably the easiest time to get your steps in, since you will not have to maneuver around crowds coming in and out of stores. It’s up to you if you want to tackle walking the stairs for a workout bonus.

So step into the land of department stores with your pair of walking shoes and have fun this winter! For more information on increasing your level of physical activity and walking, see the tips on UGA Extension website at http://www.fcs.uga.edu/extension/health-lose-weight-exercise.

Kristen Sumpter, UGA Extension Agent wrote the “Mall walking” article, I expanded on it and used it for this week’s blog.

 

 

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