Roam A Shopping Centre For Sweat-Free Exercise

Roam A Shopping Centre For Sweat-Free Exercise

Common excuses for avoiding exercise are not having the time because of work pressures, or not wanting to change in and out of exercise gear. Lifehacker reader Richard dodges both issues with a simple solution: a walk around a nearby shopping mall.

Picture by Alpha

Richard explains:

I’m always wanting to exercise but struggle to find the free time around working and family. My office runs in a shopping mall in Melbourne, so what I have started doing in my lunch break is walking the entire perimeter of the centre on foot, across multiple levels. This equates to around 3.4km, and it keeps me close to the office: if someone needs me, I can walk back quickly. No-one looks twice at a man in a suit walking around a shopping mall, and everyone would just presume I’m shopping or doing my job! I’ve lost close to 5kg just from this exercise.

Walking of any description is a great way to spend your lunch hour, and while this wouldn’t be the most scenic approach, it offers some obvious benefits. Got any other shopping centre exercise tips, or strategies for unobtrusively getting your daily exercise? Share them in the comments. Thanks Richard!


  • Mall walking is big in the U.S. No weather problems and no risk of muggers. Usually done first thing in the morning. Mall owners are usually happy to co-operate.

  • My friend and I often use the mall on rainy days. Normally, we walk around our suburb for an hour, at 6,00am, each day. However, neither of us likes getting soaked so if it is wet, we drive to the mall, park the car and walk all around it for about the hour, 4 laps. Just do not know how far we go in k’s. I believe some USA malls supply distances. We often congratulate ourselves for not spending any money as we are there before the shops open.

  • Another tip – when you go the large shopping centres with car parks, drive but park far away from an entrance. The benefits are threefold:
    1. You usually always get a park without driving around for fifteen minutes
    2. You increase the distance you walk so getting more exercise.
    3. It curtails non-necessary spending as you know whatever you get will have to be lugged to the furthest corner of the car park. It equates physical work with spending, especially for larger, bulkier items.

  • Personally I usually hate shopping, but walking in shopping centres is a good way to exercise if you’re not prone to temptation and want to avoid the elements.

    But remember to go during the quieter periods.
    Negotiating crowds can be a major hassle – enough to put you off going again.

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