Saturday, February 2, 2013

Why Mall-Walking Does Not Appeal to Me

Mall-walking has gained popularity, particularly among seniors, in recent years. Many folks have formed mall-walking groups, and mall managers understandably are only too happy to open their doors early in anticipation of purchases by walkers after they complete their rounds.

If a mall is nearby, it is an obvious choice as a walking venue in absolutely frightful weather. Other than that, however, I find it hard to see why a walk in a mall beats a walk with Nature. I will take the great outdoors anytime (well almost anytime -- taking into account the blizzard and thunderstorm exceptions).

Today, I became even less fond of the idea of regular mall-walking. My wife and I helped run a Mended Hearts information table at a Health Fair attended by a few thousand people at our largest local mall. Part of my task was to carry most of our display and handout material from the parking lot to our assigned spot deep in the mall. I had to make two trips before and two trips after the event to haul all the material.

In short, those hard mall floors did a number on my knees and back. By the time I got home, I was sore and exhausted. What substance do they use to make mall floors anyway? They are harder than any driveway or basketball court I've ever played on. I believe mall-walkers risk orthopedic injury if they trek these surfaces regularly.

In any event when I got home, I was whipped. My bad knee ached more than usual, and my good knee didn't feel so great either. Sadie dog tolerated my state of collapse and resting for about an hour. But when I put on a jacket because it was turning colder, she started barking insistently. She hadn't had her walk of the day. So even though I felt as though a truck had run over me, I reluctantly put the leash on her and headed out.

When some spectacular late-afternoon cloud formations and a refreshing breeze greeted us, I soon forgot my aches and pains. This was the natural walk I needed after being confined to the artificiality of a mall most of the day. There was some walking on soft turf. And even the concrete sidewalks were less harsh than the hard surface of the polished mall floors.

Outdoors is the kind of walk I will always prefer.

© Robert G. Holland  2013

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