During the holidays, the mall is like an obstacle course. You weave in and out to dodge oncoming shoppers. You shift your armloads of bags from side to side, trying your best not to whack the man resting on the bench as you pass. Shopping amidst the holiday crowds can be a test of your will and your patience, but it can also sharpen your reflexes and give you a bit of a workout. Here are some more ways to exercise more than just your charge card while you're out shopping:
- Park farther away. You may have no choice when the malls get crowded. Rather than fuming in frustration, stalking exiting shoppers for their spot, or wasting gas wandering the lot, go ahead and park out in the hinterlands. The walk will improve your circulation, increase your respiration, and give you the energy you need to face the crowds.
- Take a warm-up lap. Circling the mall once will give you a quick lay of the land and a little more time to stretch your legs and get warmed up.
- Strap on your pedometer. These little gadgets can be really motivating. Just seeing the steps you take accumulate could inspire you to keep right on walking past the food court's temptations.
- The weighting game. Long lines may seem like idle time, but not if you sport some stealth fitness gear: a bulky winter coat could conceal wrist weights, and ankle weights will provide an extra layer of warmth for heading out into the cold. Oh, and the weights will also provide some resistance exercise as you're going about your merry business at the mall.
- Climb the stairs. It's one of those "no duh" ideas, but check yourself next time you approach that escalator-or-stairs choice. If you're feeling sluggish, the stairs might be just what you need. Some malls are installing signs to encourage folks to take the stairs, and these little visual cues do seem to help.
- Mall moves. You may feel embarrassed to bust out a full-on yoga pose or do squats at the food court, but you can mix in some fitness moves on the sly. Who will really notice if you do some toe lifts to tone your calves? No one will see you tightening and releasing your abs under that sweater. Twenty reps of tighten-release will help pass the time in a long line-up.