The Benefits of Walking at the Mall
Walking at the mall is ideal for seniors, new moms with strollers or small children, families that include wheelchairs, and anyone else looking for a comfortable walking environment.
Walking is a great way to burn calories, it is easy on your joints, and it can be done anywhere—including the mall! Your local shopping mall is the perfect (free!) place to get in your workout. A 175 lb adult can burn around 350 calories with an hour of walking 3 mph. You can count your steps and distance with a pedometer, or you can download an app on your smart phone. Nike makes walking shoes that include a spot in the sole for a microchip that counts your steps and sends the data to your iPod or iPhone.
If belonging to a club or group is something you're interested in, many communities have mall-walking clubs that meet up to walk together. If you have elderly family members, this could be a great way to get them out into a social setting that is also good for their health.
According to Discovery Fit & Health, some malls offer blood pressure screenings and calculated routes for its walkers. Some malls open their doors before the stores open, allowing walkers in early, so you can beat traffic and have a wide open walking course.
Reason #1 – Protection from the elements
Walking in the mall is desirable in hot weather because of all that free air conditioning. You are out of the sun and the heat, so you will be able to walk a longer distance. If you live in a colder climate, the mall is heated, so you are out of the freezing cold without the risk of snow and ice. Once you get into a routine, you will never have the excuse of its too hot, too cold, too shady, too sunny, etc.
Reason #2 – Access to Facilities
How many times have you been in a city park and you need to use a restroom? If you’re lucky enough to find one, they are usually filthy or lacking paper towels and tissue. The mall has clean, easily accessible restrooms. If you are breastfeeding, you have a safe, private place to go and feed your little one
Reason #3 – Security
Walking in a park or on a trail is risky because of the isolation. Joggers, runners, and walkers are easy targets. A mall is staffed with a patrolling security team and monitored by cameras. You can feel safe walking inside the mall because of the security guards and thousands of alert store employees.
Reason #4 – Level walking surface
I like to push our daughter in her stroller when I walk, and it helps to have a nice, flat surface for her stroller. Our mall has small inclines that add a little variety, but for the most part, the mall is perfectly flat. The carpet adds cushion and eases pressure when we walk. If you need the assistance of a cane or walker, this is a great place to get in your daily exercise.
Reason #5 – Entertainment while you walk
Most malls play pleasant music, have demonstrations, or host concerts to entertain shoppers. You can enjoy all kinds of difference displays during the holidays or other special occasion. You won’t get bored with all of the different stores and displays. You can make a mental shopping list for gifts for family and friends, and you’ll always be up to date on the sales!
The bottom line is that walking is great for your health, and taking advantage of the benefits of a free, safe place to exercise will help you lose weight or just stay in shape. It is something I am learning to enjoy with our daughter, and I feel good when I get a chance to get out of the house and do something healthy for both of us.