Shop Until You Drop (Weight!)

Healthy Living: Lifestyle

By: // December 3, 2011

Shopping isn’t just a workout for your wallet! Increase your calorie burn by turning a day at the mall into many miles of walking. A person around 150 pounds can burn about 500 calories in three hours of shopping. Here’s how to shop ’til you drop…weight!

Park far away from wherever you are shopping. Don’t circle the parking lot searching, or waiting for, the ideal spot to open up near the store. Rid yourself of parking lot stress and park as far away as possible from the mall to start your shopping day off right with a lot of steps. Also, don’t park near the department store where you are headed. Always look for opportunities to get more steps, and you just might be surprised at how many miles you can log into one shopping day.

Turn shopping into a sport. Zigzag the mall to get all the items on your list, take the stairs, and skip the escalators and elevators. And if you wonder if taking the stairs really makes that big of a difference, the answer is yes. Your calorie burn can triple for each minute you do of stair climbing vs. mall walking. So what would it take to get you to use the stairs instead of the escalator at your local mall? A team of British researchers found that healthy messages printed on stair risers attracted more stair-goers. The riser messages “Take the Stairs” and “7 Minutes of Stair Climbing Daily Protects Your Heart” increased climbing on the staircase by 190 percent and boosted climbing on a nearby staircase with no messages by 52 percent, according to Oliver Webb of Kingston University and Frank Eves of the University of Birmingham.  You may not have these healthy messages on the stairs at your mall this season, but catalog this in your brain now and take the stairs whenever you can!


Related: Run The Stairs Workout

Stay away from the food court. Invite your friends over and make a healthy lunch at home before you head out on your shopping excursion. It’s important not to go to the mall hungry or you may head straight to the food court where the choices aren’t the healthiest. Even consider sticking an apple or protein bar in your handbag to help you stay clear of the nearest fast food counter. Also avoid those fancy lattes that are loaded with sugar and extra calories you don’t need. Opt for an espresso, regular coffee or a green tea if you want something to sip as you peruse the stores.

Curl and contract. Yeah, it may sound silly, but do some bicep curls with those shopping bags. When I teach a strength training class, we might curl 12 pound weights 15 times, 2 sets.  Do the same thing with your bags. And waiting in line is part of shopping (especially during the holiday season!), so contract your abs and hold for 10 seconds. Isometric ab exercises work. Pull your belly button in towards your back. Hold, release, and repeat.

Make shopping bonus activity. I always encourage people to eat less and move more. If you strive to move throughout your day in addition to your regular workout routine, you can burn calories all day long. But still start your day with your regular workout and use your day of shopping as your bonus activity.

Do you have any tricks for burning extra calories while hitting the racks? Share below!

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