I have lived in many areas where walking outside just wasn’t practical during certain times of the year, in Arizona due to the heat and in Michigan during the winters, to name a few. But I still wanted to stay active. I didn’t always want to go to the gym and work out on a treadmill. Sometimes that just gets boring.
So mall walking has become another option for me when I want to get out, get moving, and have some fun while doing it. The environment is great, it’s well lit, and climate controlled, and there are a ton of things to look at while walking.
I can remember my parents, when they were in the 70’s, going to the mall and walking. Not only did it get them out, but they also met others socially, and they lost about 60 lbs combined between them.
While mall walking, you meet and see other people staying active with their friends or partners. It’s a great experience. Whether you are new to any fitness program, just tired of sitting at home and knowing you want to do something, or want to be active all year, not just part of the year, mall walking could be for you.
Mall walking can be a game-changer for your fitness routine, especially if you prefer the comforts of an indoor setting or if outdoor exercise isn’t always accessible. It is recognized by the Center for Disease Control as a great way to maintain your fitness and health. To make the most of this fantastic activity, here are some tips on how to get started with mall walking and make it fun.
Mall Walking: Getting Started
When you go to the mall one of the first decisions that you have to make is where to park. My recommendation is not too close to the doors. Park a ways out and start your mall routine from the parking lot. Take those extra steps.
Coats & Umbrellas
If it is raining or snowing, there is always the question of what do you do with your coat and umbrella. I have seen many people leave their coats on benches, tables, or chairs in the mall.
If you do not feel comfortable doing this (I don’t ), then I recommend a simple string backpack. They are lightweight, and you can stuff your coat and other accessories into the bag. It lets you walk hands-free, which I find feels the best. It lets you take a more natural stride.
Here is an example of one. This is $8.99 and is water resistant. You barely feel it on your back.
1. Check mall policies:
Before you start on your mall walking journey, be in the know. Contact the mall management or check their website for the official mall walking hours and any specific guidelines they might have for walkers. Knowing the rules will set you up for a smooth and enjoyable experience.
This is especially true of mall opening times. Many malls open 1-2 hours earlier than the stores open to accommodate mall walkers.
2. Wear appropriate clothing:
To rock your mall walking adventure, dress the part. Opt for comfortable clothing, and make sure to put on supportive shoes suitable for walking. If the mall tends to get a bit warm or crowded, consider wearing moisture-wicking clothing to keep you feeling fresh and fabulous.
3. Warm-up and cool-down:
Just like a pro athlete, you need to prep your body for the incredible journey ahead. Before starting your walk, spend a few minutes doing light stretches for major muscle groups.
This is a group of warmup exercises and stretches that I use before I play pickleball. What is good about them is you do them all standing up and it only takes 5-7 minutes at most.
4. Set goals:
Let’s get goal-oriented! Determine your walking objectives based on your fitness level and the time you have available. Begin with shorter sessions and gradually increase your walking time as you feel more comfortable and confident. Small steps, big rewards!
This is the fun part. Keep track of your time. This allows you to see if you can shave off a few minutes or go a bit further each time. I find this makes the walks go faster.
5. Pace yourself:
Slow and steady wins the race. Focus on maintaining a steady and comfortable pace during your walk. It’s not a sprint, so take it easy and find your rhythm. As you get more experienced, you can increase the intensity and challenge yourself.
6. Stay hydrated:
It’s time to bring your trusty water bottle along. Hydration is key, even indoors. While you’re busy burning calories, don’t forget to sip on water to keep yourself refreshed and energized throughout your mall adventure.
To keep hands-free, I recommend a simple water bottle holder. This is a great choice. It is only $6.99 on Amazon.
7. Use a fitness tracker:
Embrace technology to track your progress and accomplishments! If you’ve got a fitness tracker or a smartphone with a health app, use it to monitor your steps, distance, and other metrics. It’s like having your personal fitness coach right at your fingertips!
Most smartphones have a fitness app on them that will tell you your steps. So if you don’t have a Fitbit or smartwatch, it isn’t really needed to get started.
8. Incorporate intervals:
Let’s spice things up. Make your mall walking routine exciting by incorporating intervals. Add bursts of faster walking or take on a stair-climbing challenge. A little variety can make a world of difference and keep you engaged throughout your walk.
9. Walk with proper posture:
Ok, let’s strike a pose! Maintain excellent walking posture during your walks. Keep your head up, and shoulders relaxed, and let those arms naturally swing to boost your walking efficiency. You’ll look and feel like a pro!
When walking, make sure you suck your stomach in. You will be surprised how different this feels. Keeping your stomach sucked in helps not only with posture but to strengthen your core muscles. This is essential for fall prevention and other balance-related issues.
10. Join or invite a friend:
Walking is better with company! Team up with a friend or a group to make your mall walking experience even more enjoyable. Support and motivation from a buddy can make a world of difference and keep you both on track.
11. Explore different routes:
Time to embark on a mall exploration adventure. Most malls have multiple levels and corridors, so mix it up and try different routes to keep your walks interesting and engaging. Discover new corners and hidden gems while you’re at it!
12. Be courteous to others:
Manners matter, even in the mall! Remember, malls are public spaces, and fellow shoppers are around. Be considerate of their personal space, and make sure not to block walkways or disrupt others’ shopping experiences.
13. Listen to your body:
Your body knows best. If at any point during your mall walks, you experience discomfort or pain, don’t hesitate to stop immediately. Your health and well-being come first, always. If needed, consult a healthcare professional for guidance and support.
By incorporating mall walking into your fitness program, you’re opening the door to a world of convenience and fitness excitement.
I hope you look forward to staying active, burning calories, and boosting your cardiovascular health while enjoying the comforts of a fabulous indoor environment. Get ready to strut your stuff and make mall walking a delightful part of your fitness journey!
Mall Walking: Making It Fun
To take your your mall walking experience to the next level and make it even more fun, there are a variety of activities you can do to keep you engaged and motivated during your walks.
1. Window Shopping:
Take your mall walking to a whole new level by including a good dose of window shopping on your route. Explore different stores, marvel at the latest fashion trends, and admire those eye-catching displays. You don’t need to make purchases – simply get lost in the world of retail wonders and add a splash of variety to your walk.
2. Mall Scavenger Hunt:
Inject some thrill and friendly competition into your mall walking by organizing a scavenger hunt. Create a list of specific items or stores to find within the mall and challenge yourself or bring along a friend for the excitement. It’s a fantastic way to keep your mind engaged while exploring the vast mall landscape.
3. People Watching:
Malls are bustling with interesting characters and intriguing interactions. Use your walk as an opportunity to do some people-watching. Observe the different fashion styles, behaviors, and conversations of fellow shoppers – it’s like witnessing a captivating social drama unfolding before your eyes.
4. Mindful Walking:
Transform your walk into a mindful a little zen moment of self-awareness. Practice mindfulness by focusing on the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, the rhythm of your breathing, and the sights and sounds around you. Embrace the beauty of the present moment and feel a profound connection to the world as you walk.
Turn your mall walking into a fun social activity. Invite friends to join you or become a part of a mall walking group. Engage in lively conversations, share stories, and motivate each other to keep going. Socializing while walking will not only make the time fly by but also make it an enjoyable and unforgettable experience.
6. Photography Walk:
Let out your inner photographer and capture the magic of your mall adventure. Bring a camera or use your smartphone to snap pictures of interesting and unique sights you come across. From stunning architectural designs to captivating displays, you’ll have a visual memoir of your mall explorations.
7. Mall Aerobics:
Elevate your mall walking to a mini fitness session. Find a quiet corner or an empty space in the mall and add some aerobic exercises to your routine. Bust out jumping jacks, squats, or lunges for a burst of energy and an extra challenge.
8. Try Different Mall Routes:
Venture into ‘uncharted’ territory by exploring different mall routes on different days. If the mall has multiple levels or wings, mix it up and discover new corners and hidden gems during each walk. Your mall will transform into a place of infinite possibilities.
9. Listen to Audiobooks or Podcasts:
Combine entertainment with exercise by bringing headphones and listening to your favorite audiobooks, podcasts, or motivational speeches while you walk. Let your mind wander into a world of captivating stories and inspiring wisdom.
10. Window Seat Breaks:
Treat yourself to mini breaks. Find a comfortable seating area with a lovely view and take a moment to relax, people-watch, or do some light stretching. These moments of tranquility will recharge your energy for the rest of your adventure.
11. Take the Stairs – Step Up Your Game:
Challenge yourself and make your mall walking a stair-stepping extravaganza! Whenever possible, opt for the stairs instead of escalators or elevators. This simple change will give your legs an extra workout and boost your calorie burn.
12. Challenge Yourself:
Embrace the spirit of challenge. Set mini-goals for yourself, like completing a certain number of laps or reaching a specific step count during each walk. Celebrate your achievements and feel the exhilaration of pushing beyond your limits.
13. Mall Events:
Keep an eye out for exciting mall events, performances, or exhibitions happening during your walk. Attend these events before or after your walk to add an extra dose of entertainment and festivity to your day.
Remember, the secret ingredient to a successful mall walk is to have a blast and savor every moment.
At SportyEscapade our motto is Explore : Triumph Enjoy your next adventure!
Featured image: Pressconnects.com