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Wise Fitness
9
The morning is cold and dark. The sidewalks are slippery.
In the back of your mind, you know you need 30 minutes of
brisk walking or other moderate activity five times a week.
Then it hits you. When the going gets cold, the fit go mall
walking.
“All the malls open early for walkers, and some have
mapped-out plans with the mileage marked – for
instance, one or two times around is a mile,” says Sherry
McLaughlin, physical therapist,
president of Michigan Institute for
Human Performance, Inc. (MIHP), and
facilitator for the HAP
MoveWell Every
Day
program. “That’s really helpful for
meeting your distance or time goals.
You’ll see “regulars” who walk these
malls, providing a built-in support
group. One of the best ways to keep
exercising is to have someone hold
you accountable. When you become a
regular walker and get to know others,
that group might motivate you and
help you to stick to your walking plan.”
Mall walking also provides …
l
A free, climate-controlled setting
l
Restrooms
l
Water
l
No traffic, exhaust fumes or icy sidewalks
l
On-duty security
Step It Up
If you think repeated laps through a mall – even one filled
with fabulous retailers – might get old, Sherry has ways
to keep things appealing. “A lot of malls have stairs. Map
your route and decide that every third lap, you’ll walk up
and down the stairs. At Somerset Collection in Troy, there
are three levels. Walk one level, take the stairs, do the next
lap, then walk across the enclosed Big Beaver Road bridge
connector, and your scenery will change all the time. Use
the fountain areas to do stretches before or after your walk
– or ledges to do variations of lunges or squats. Many malls
have healthy eating choices, so afterwards you can get a
low-fat yogurt or green tea. Treating yourself in a healthy
way is a great motivator.”
Tunes for Your Toning
Music with a tempo that matches your walking speed
can keep you on pace. You can measure your pace in
steps per minute or minutes per mile. The website
bestworkoutmusic.com
provides music based on tempo.
Choose your preferred music genre (e.g., rock, dance, jazz,
etc.); then click on your pace for a list of songs you can
download for your own personal mall walking mix.
Start your own walking group and tell us about it on
Facebook™ or via email at hapwisewoman@hap.org.
Find great tools to get started with HAP’s Mall Walking
Guide at
www.hap.org/health/women/index.php.
Then
scroll down to
Staying Active
.
The Mall: Your Free Fitness Center
Sherry
McLaughlin,
M.S.P.T. and
HAP-affiliated
physical
therapist