Shopping malls often open their doors early for walkers, and it’s quite common to see people circling the mall before shoppers even think about arriving. So what are the positives and negatives of mall walking? I’m glad you asked!
Lace Up and Hit the Mall
There are many reasons why a shopping mall is a great place to take a healthy stroll.
Out of the weather: When you are walking in a mall, you are in a climate-controlled environment, so you can dress comfortably and not worry about rain, wind, snow, ice or especially heat during this time of the year. As long as you can get to the mall, you’re pretty much guaranteed to walk in comfort.
Away from traffic: There’s nothing worse when you are walking than to wonder constantly if drivers are going to see you. With the distractions that drivers have these days, watching out for walkers on the highways isn’t on the top of their list. In the mall, there are no intersections to cross, nothing obstructing your path, no auto fumes or traffic. Other than seeing a good sale and buying something, your walk is pretty safe with few worries.
Security: Most shopping malls have very good security inside and out to ensure you won’t become a victim of crime. If you walk alone, but don’t feel safe when doing so outdoors, the mall is a great option.
Medical response: If, while you are walking, you have a medical emergency or an accident, you will definitely be seen by other walkers, as well as mall employees, and receive medical attention. This is a major plus if you have any chronic illnesses or medical concerns.
Restrooms and water: When you walk, you not only get thirsty but have to use the restrooms, and these amenities are readily available in a mall.
Snacks: If during your walk you want to take a bit of a rest and have a snack or a cup of coffee, most malls offer quite a few places to do just that.
Walking buddies: If you become a regular mall walker, you are likely to start making friends, and those new buddies can become a network to hold you accountable in your daily walking exercise program.
Go at your own pace: There is no pressure when you are a mall walker. On days that you want to, or feel up to, walking a bit quicker, you can, but if you really just want to take a leisurely stroll one day, then do it! Mall walking is perfect for people of all abilities.
Things to Consider before You Lap the Mall
Mall walking isn’t for everyone, for a few reasons….
No change of scenery: If you get bored easily, then the monotony of mall walking may not be for you. Even in a mall as large as Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem, NC, you will circle past the same stores many times in a 30-60 minute walk.
Hard walking surface: The floor at a mall is usually very hard, often with a concrete base, to withstand all the abuse it takes year after year. Because of the hard surface, you may want to wear shoes with more cushioning to lessen the impact.
Overall Benefits of Mall Walking
The physical and mental health benefits of physical activity include a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, Type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancers and depressed mood. These benefits can be gained by adults who obtain recommended amounts of physical activity: at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or a combination of both. Recent statistics are that less than 50% of US adults get the recommended amounts of aerobic activity. Walking can be done by a majority of Americans and can be tailored to include those with mobility concerns.
Hanes Mall is located at 3320 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem, NC and opens for mall walkers Monday to Sunday 9 am.