How to Hit the Mall (Walking)
If you’ve ever wanted to start walking the mall, not just shop there, these tips from Go4Life, a division of the National Institute on Aging, will get you started:
Walking is great exercise, and walking in the mall is second only to walking in neighborhoods in popularity. Malls are great places to walk because they provide a sheltered indoor space free from traffic and bad weather.
There are many benefits to walking in the mall:
•You can walk alone or with a group. Even if you arrive at the mall alone, you’ll probably meet other walkers. The support of others can help motivate you to keep going.
•It’s convenient. Although a formal mall walking program may have set hours, you can also set your own schedule, and walk any time the mall is open.
•Malls are easy to get to. Many have bus stops on site or nearby.
•Malls are pedestrian-friendly. They have level floors, benches or other places to rest, water fountains, and accessible restrooms.
•It’s free. You might be tempted to window-shop, but you don’t have to buy anything. If you do shop, some stores may give discounts to mall walkers.
•You don’t need special exercise equipment other than comfortable walking shoes.
•Walkers of all ages and fitness levels are welcome.
•Malls are accessible to those with varying physical abilities.
•You can walk at your own pace. As you get used to walking, increase the frequency, intensity, and/or duration of your walk to improve your fitness. Try taking the stairs to the second level instead of the escalator.
• Mall walking is non-competitive. You can exercise and socialize in a friendly environment.
•Security staff help make malls a safe place to walk.
Ask if your local mall currently has a mall walking program. If not, check out Mall Walking: A Program Resource Guide from the University of Washington and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (click here) and see how easy it is to start one. Learn best practices from other mall walking programs, see how to work successfully with mall management, and more.
No mall nearby? To find other walking groups or programs in your area, check with a local community center, senior center, faith-based organization, worksite, or school. Many communities have public parks with outdoor walking trails, school tracks, or worksites with indoor or outdoor walking paths.
Reprinted courtesy of the National Institute on Aging. For more information on senior fitness, click here to visit the Go4Life website.