Although you simply cannot reap the benefits of a good workout by just shopping, Geralyn Coopersmith, director of the Equinox Fitness Training Institute points out that there are still ways to improve your health while making your rounds at the mall and the supermarket. Learn how here:
- First, walk as much as possible. This means not using your grandmother's handicapped tag for a front space and parking in the back of the lot instead. If your mall has an option to take the stairs, skip the escalator. These are activities that mimic cardiovascular exercise and, therefore, burn calories.
- Just because shopping doesn't have the same effect as running a 5K doesn't mean you should slack off. Carole Carson, author of From Fat to Fit: Turn Yourself into a Weapon of Mass Reduction, says that shopping can often help women reach their goal of 60 minutes of cardio a day - the amount required to avoid gaining weight with age. In fact, the average shopping trip involves walking almost three miles. Add that to the number of times you hit the mall during a given week or month, and you've got yourself a serious workout.
- Go equipped with a pedometer and a friend. Park at the outer perimeter of the parking lot and walk briskly through the mall. Set a goal for a number of steps you want to log and keep walking until you've reached your goal. (Window-shopping is allowed as long as it doesn't slow your pace.)
- While waiting for your purchase, pull your belly button toward your back. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat. This will strengthen and tone your glute muscles and your abs.
- If you're already holding bags, do bicep curls while waiting in line for the bathroom. Do 20 reps for lighter bags and 15 for heavier bags. You can also do shrugs, which will help tone your shoulders and chest.
Not one for the mall? Try these exercises while shopping at the supermarket:
- If you're purchasing only a few items, carry a basket as you shop. After your groceries are bagged, carry them to your car. A gallon of milk weighs approximately 10 pounds!
- When reaching for an item on a lower shelf, squat. Repeat two to three times to work your calves, thighs, glutes, and abs.
- Reach for items high on shelves; hold for 10 seconds. Repeat this five times. If you feel self-conscious, pretend you can't decide whether to buy the product. Stretching on your toes with your arms above your head strengthens the legs, back, and arms. It also improves balance.
- Grasp the grocery-cart handle tightly on both sides and try to pull your hands apart. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat. This strengthens your shoulders and the back of your arms.
- Grasp the middle of the cart handle with one hand and push right and left for five turns. Alternate hands. This will work your shoulders, arms, and abs.
- Spread your legs to the width of your shoulders. Try to squeeze the floor together between your feet, holding for 10 seconds. Then push your feet apart and hold for 10 seconds. These two exercises will firm up your inner and outer thighs.
- While your groceries are being checked, stand on one leg, straighten your body, and bend one knee. Hold for 90 seconds and repeat with the other leg. This will improve your balance and strengthen your ankles.
- Looks like Carrie Bradshaw was right when she said, "Shopping is my cardio." So go ahead: Swing by a sale at Bloomingdale's - a girl needs her exercise after all! Find more quick and easy exercises here.
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