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Shop - and get into shape

Tags: exercise

Shop and get into shapeIt’s a fact – shopping can burn calories and boost your fitness. Personal trainer Lucy Wyndham-Read shows you how to get the best fitness results from a trip to the shops.

Getting fit and burning calories needn’t be a chore and neither need it necessarily involve a trip to a gym. There are plenty of fun ways in which you can do enjoyable activities and burn some calories too. 

 You’ll be pleased to hear that shopping is one of them.“Your usual leisurely shop can be tweaked slightly to turn it into a fat burning and sculpting workout,” explains Lucy. With clever thinking and advance planning, your shopping trip really can become a healthy form of retail therapy.

Compared to exercising on your own outside, getting fit at shopping centres has added benefits too. You don’t, for example, have to worry about the weather.

“There’s usually plenty of security in shopping centres, so it should be a safe location and, if you need more water or a quick trip to the loo, it’s all on site for your convenience,” comments Lucy.
Research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health even found that shopping regularly may also help prolong life for older generations, as it provides a chance for physical activity, social interaction and mental stimulation.

Keen to get fit through shopping? Here’s how to turn a shopping centre trip into your very own gym experience.

Tone on the go

According to Lucy, walking is one of the best forms of low-impact aerobic exercise. In order to get good results, though, the key is to walk at a good calorie-burning pace.

But retail therapy fitness doesn’t just involve a good walk around the shops. There are lots of other ways to exercise whilst you shop.

While you’re browsing in shops, you can exercise various parts of your body without drawing attention to yourself. No-one else needs to know. 

Lucy’s discreet shopping-centre fitness routine

If you work best when you have a schedule or get easily distracted by actual shopping, Lucy has planned an effective 20-minute routine. It’s discreet enough to do in a shopping centre, without looking like you’re up to something:

  • Warm up by walking briskly – 2 minutes.
  • Walk at a fast pace – 5 minutes.
  • March up the stairs two at a time – approximately 1 minute. Where possible, avoid using the handrails, as this means all the effort comes through your legs.
  • Walk at a fast pace; use time in different shops to focus on exercising different muscle groups – 2 minutes at a time.
  • Find more stairs and march up two at a time – approximately 1 minute.
  • Choose a shop to browse in and do calf raises. Stand with your feet hip width distance apart and slowly lift your heels off the floor. Hold the position, then lower back down –1 minute.
  • Walk at a fast pace again, but take longer strides (imagine you’re stepping over puddles) –1 minute.
  • March up the stairs two at a time – about 1 minute.
  • Walk at a fast pace while shopping – 5 minutes.
  • Cool down by slowing down your walking pace – 1 minute.

If you have more time, or more shopping to do, repeat the circuit a second time.

And here are three more exercises you can do at any time:

  • Work your abdominals by pulling your stomach muscles tight to your spine for 10 seconds at a time.
  • To tone and sculpt your bottom, squeeze your bottom muscles tight for 10 seconds at a time.
  • Work on your arms (and help banish those bingo wings) by doing little tricep squeezes – just lift your arms behind you very slightly. 

Calorie-burning tips

To get the most out of calorie burning when you’re walking, whether shopping or elsewhere, use a pedometer to measure the number of steps you’re taking.

“Aim to do 140 steps per minute (the equivalent of about 35 steps every 15 seconds) as this will mean you’re walking at approximately 4mph,” advises Lucy.

Walking at this speed will help ensure you’re properly burning off calories.

In addition, any shopping you buy and extra weight you end up carrying will help you burn more calories. 

Additional benefits

As well as helping improve your fitness and burn calories, walking is a great way to help boost your circulation, help your heart and ease your joints.

If you leave the car at home and walk to your nearest shopping centre, the extra walk and chance to breathe in some fresh air will be highly beneficial too. 

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