If you have ever been to a shopping mall early in the morning, you have perhaps seen mall walkers or even an organized mall walking group walking laps in the shopping mall rather than shopping.
Mall walking is an accessible form of fitness walking for seniors, individuals with specific mobility impairments, or anyone who wants to walk in the winter, heat, or inclement weather.
In this exercise guide, we will discuss what mall walking for exercise is, its excellent benefits, how to find “mall walkers near me” and tips for mall exercise walking workouts.
We will cover:
- What Is Mall Walking?
- What Are the Benefits of Mall Walking?
- Tips for Mall Walking Workouts
- Mall Walking Near Me
Let’s dive in!
What Is Mall Walking?
Essentially, mall walking refers to walking around the mall for fitness rather than for shopping. A mall walker is someone who goes to the mall and does laps around the interior of the shopping mall to accrue steps and get a cardio workout.
Although you can technically do mall fitness walking in any shopping mall at any time of day, Some shopping malls actually open early to host mall walkers or have other resources for mall walking programs like water or dumbbells.
Mall walking clubs are groups of mall walkers that meet up and do walking workouts together and support one another.
What Are the Benefits of Mall Walking?
Here are some of the benefits:
#1: Protects You From the Elements
The primary benefit of mall walking workouts is that walking in the shopping mall keeps you in a climate-controlled environment.
You can dress for mall walking workouts in comfortable workout attire without having to worry about rain, cold weather, snow, darkness, heat, humidity, wind, or other climate or environmental challenges that can get in the way of outdoor walking workouts.
#2: Secure Footing
Mall walking for fitness is particularly popular for seniors or anyone with mobility impairments because the shopping mall floors are generally free from tripping hazards such as cracks in sidewalks, curbs, ice in the winter, puddles, mud, or other obstacles that can make walking workouts challenging.The surface is also completely flat and free of hills.
If you live in a remote area or somewhere with poorly-lit streets, where you do not want to walk alone, joining a mall walking club or doing walking workouts in a shopping mall where there are other people around can help you feel much safer.
Almost every shopping mall has a surveillance system or security personnel so that you can feel less anxious about being attacked or victimized, which is undoubtedly a benefit of mall walking vs outdoor walking.
Plus, it keeps you off of the roads and out of harm’s way from vehicular traffic, cyclists crowding the sidewalks, etc.
You do not have to worry about crossing intersections, planning a safe walking route where you will have sidewalks or a nice wide shoulder, worrying about broken glass, loose or aggressive dogs, or other safety hazards that you might encounter while walking outside.
#4: Provides Access to Facilities
Another benefit is that the shopping mall should have water fountains and restrooms that you can use.
If you have digestive issues, are pregnant and need to use the bathroom frequently, or have other issues with needing to have quick access to a bathroom, it can be much less stressful to do a mall walking workout than walk outdoors, where reliable bathroom access is out of the question.
#5: Access to Medical Support
Another significant benefit for mall walkers is that, especially in areas where there is an official mall walking program or mall walker club, there should be access to emergency medical personnel or medical equipment like an AED and defibrillator.
There will also be other mall walkers or patrons in the shopping mall who can assist you or alert medical personnel or dial 911 should you need assistance.
This is a huge benefit of joining a mall walking club if you have a chronic illness such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, dementia, or some other issue that can make it dangerous to walk alone or in an unsupervised area.
#6: Boosts Motivation
If you struggle to find the motivation to exercise, joining a mall walking club can be a great way to have some camaraderie for your exercise.
Mall walkers also help build accountability with one another because you start counting on your friends to be there for your workouts, and you may even look forward to your workouts because they become as much about exercise as they are about socializing and having fun.
Even if there isn’t a club for mall walkers or you can’t find anyone to join you on your mall fitness walks, just having the distraction of being able to people-watch as you walk around the shopping mall or look at the shops as you walk by can feel more enriching or exciting and help you feel less alone.
This can be an excellent mall walking benefit for seniors or those who live alone and struggle with loneliness or lack of social connections.
Doing more fitness walking will get you out in the community and around other people, which can help you feel more integrated with society and take your mind off of your isolation.
You may even end up making friends with other shoppers or shopping mall employees who ask what you are doing if there isn’t an official club for mall walkers or if you are the first mall walker in your local shopping mall.
Before you know it, you might be the “president“ of your local mall walking club and have a growing group of mall walker friends joining you for your workouts (and maybe even social engagements outside of the mall exercise sessions!).
Again, whether there is an organized mall walking club or group of mall walkers at your local shopping mall or you do your mall walking workouts alone, one of the benefits is that it is a very accessible form of fitness.
You can walk at your own pace and keep the intensity of your workouts appropriate for your fitness level.
You do not necessarily have to count laps, keep track of distance, or compare walking workout stats with anyone; you could walk at your own pace and build up gradually or just do what feels best for your body and your needs.
Tips for Mall Walking Workouts
Here are some tips to enjoy mall walking workouts more and/or make the workouts more effective:
- Join a club so that you have accountability, and companionship and don’t feel self-conscious about speed walking or power walking for fitness in the mall.
- Use a pedometer or fitness watch that can keep track of your steps so that you can gauge how far or how much walking you are doing.
- Throw in power or brisk walking intervals if you are trying to burn more calories or increase the intensity of your workouts for weight loss.
- Listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks if you don’t have a group of other walkers and feel lonely or bored by yourself.
- Familiarize yourself with where the restrooms and water fountains are if you need these facilities.
- Wear comfortable but supportive walking shoes and athletic clothing.
Mall Walking Near Me
One of the most common questions about mall walking is: “How do I find mall walking near me or mall walkers near me?”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a Mall Walking Guide here.
You can also try entering your zip code on bestmallwalking.com here.
If you are looking for mall walking for seniors or senior groups, aarp.org also has some listings, depending on where you live.
If you want to get started, check out our 30-day walking challenge here.