Shopping Mall Workouts: Exercises On The Go

With the holidays just around the corner, you may be spending more time at the mall buying presents for your loved ones. If that's the case, you may want to consider getting some exercise while you're at it, especially if extra shopping might cut into your normal workout routine. Or, you could simply work these exercises into your weekly grocery shopping trip. In any case, these are some simple and straightforward workouts that you can try at the mall.

(Did you know about the hidden gerns and bacteria that could be lurking at a mall? Find out more in The 5 Grossest Things You Might Find At The Mall.)

Before You Go

If you plan to work out while you shop, you may want to wear something a little different from your normal outfit for the mall. For starters, you'll need to wear comfortable walking shoes to ensure that you feet have the proper support. Wearing good gym shoes like these will also help you keep the correct posture as you exercise.

Secondly, consider wearing lightweight clothes so that you don't get too hot while in the mall. Looser pants and shirts are good options for a shopping mall workout. While you won't be working up a sweat like you would at the gym, you will be moving more (and at a faster pace) than if you were just casually strolling through the mall. If you want to time your workouts, be sure to wear a watch as well.

Getting Started

Although walking is definitely the most popular shopping mall workout, that's not the only way you can get fit while at the mall. There are several different exercises which you can do at the mall, including:

  • Walking: The most common form of exercise at the mall is walking. It sounds simple enough, but walking is actually a great activity for getting fit if you do it correctly. Walk at a normal pace for 5-to-10 minutes to warm up. Then pick up the pace to a point where you heart rate begins to increase. As you walk, be sure that you back is straight and your arms pump next to your sides and are bent at a 90-degree angle. Slow down again at the end of your workout by walking at a slower pace for about 5 minutes or until your heart rate returns to normal. Be conscientious when it comes to other shoppers in the mall by moving off to the side and yielding the right-of-way.
  • Bench exercises: You can also take advantage of the benches at your local shopping mall to get in some extra exercise. Sit on a bench with your back straight and arms rested on your lap. Bend your right leg so that your right foot is flat on the floor. Straighten your left leg out with your toe pointed up - this should flex the muscles in your left leg. Raise the leg straight up until it is parallel with the bench. After 10 or 20 repetitions, switch to do the leg lifts with your right leg. You can add variety to this exercise by doing the same movement with your toe pointed out to the side or in towards your other leg.
  • Stair climbs: Another great way to get a workout at the mall is by taking the stairs. Rather than using the escalator or elevator, use the stairs to get to different floors. If the stairways aren't too crowded, you can even try taking stairs two at a time if you are capable of it.

Tips To Keep In Mind

When you head out to the mall for some exercise, keep these tips in mind for a more successful workout:

  • Stretch before and after your workout. Choose a place out of the way of other shoppers to get your stretching done, such as next to a wall or just outside the mall entrance.
  • Always start slow. If you don't work out regularly already, then you should only do 10 to 20 minutes of exercise at a time to start off.
  • Take advantage of times when you are standing still. If you're standing in line, try raising yourself up on your toes to work you calf muscles. Or, contract your abdominal muscles to strengthen your core. That way you can still get some shopping done without having to completely stop your workout.
  • Use baskets or bags instead of carts to get more of a workout for your arms.
  • Park further away from the entrance to get extra walking in between your car and the mall.

Beyond your attire and these tips, you'll also want to think about the best times to do your mall workout. Try visiting at different times to see when the mall is the least busy. Often, the mall is busiest on weekends and after 5pm on weekdays after people get out of work. You may want to visit in the morning or afternoon when possible to avoid crowds which could slow you down as you exercise.

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