1) Shopping can actually be pretty good exercise.
The act of shopping can actually encompass a lot of the basics of exercise. Lifting all of those gifts can be a strength training workout and depending on how many things you are carrying at once, you may also be doing quite a bit of balance training. Be sure to keep your core tight!
2) All that walking from store to store can add up to some serious milage.
A fun way to track it is to wear a pedometer when you hit the mall. They can be a relatively inexpensive way to keep track of your shopping mileage and some will even tell you how many calories you burn. You can maximize your walking volume by parking further away from the store, that should be easy since busy parking lots leave you little choice this time of year.
3) Why not take the stairs?
Many people enjoy the burn of the stair climber machine in the gym, then they get to the mall they use the elevator or escalator. Am I the only one that sees something wrong with that picture? Hit the stairs whenever you can to add to your calorie expenditure, and if you are given no other option but to get on an escalator you do still have the option of walking up it just try not to push others out of your way.
4) Be sure to eat before going out to shop
We’ve all got a lot of shopping to do during this time of year, but one thing that most people don’t think about in advance is what to eat while they’re out and about. This is an important thing to consider especially if you’re out on a marathon shopping trip. Skipping meals can lower your metabolism, and eating on the run usually means your healthy options will be sparse. So what should you do? Your best bet will be to eat a healthy meal before you go out to shop. This will not only give you more energy to fight the crowds, but it will also help you resist the snack shops like Mrs. Fields and Pretzel Time.
5) Beware of the food court.
If you know you are going to be out longer than your next scheduled meal you may want to consider packing a meal in a cooler that you can keep in your car. That way when you get hungry you can just pop out to the parking lot and have your next meal ready for you. You don’t even have to go into that den of temptation known as the food court. Another good option is to bring some type of protein bar or shake with you or make Vitamin Shoppe or GNC your own personal food court.
6) Beware of the free sample.
It is a time honored strategy among many business owners to offer the free sample. It’s always been a great way to give the customer a taste of your product and leave them wanting more. Places like BJ’s Wholesale, Sam’s Club, Stew Lenard’s, and Le Gourmet Chef are a few of the stores I know of that still utilize this tactic. Additionally, I’ve seen food court restaurants in the mall doing the same. Now you may be thinking, “There can’t be that many calories in a small sample”. Well you’re right, but if you have one small sample here, and another small sample there, then over the course of your shopping trip those calories will add up. And we all know that they’re never giving out samples of carrot sticks. It’s usually something sweet, salty, or high in fat which is all the more reason to try to avoid it. Also, don’t forget they’re trying to get you hooked. It starts with a small sample and before you know what you’re doing you’re walking out with a basket full of their tricky little treats.