Have you ever been an early bird shopper? You know, one of those people who head out to the malls early enough in the summer to beat the traffic, get a good parking spot, then relax for awhile – sipping a cup of something warm and comforting until the stores actually open, only to witness the people who got there ahead of you, marching around the inside or outside of the mall racking up their fitness miles?
Mall walkers. Reuters says it started in the ’50’s in Minnesota. Of course it did – between the the state bird (the mosquito) in the summer and the cold and snowy winters, that makes perfect sense.
My grandfather was one in the ’80’s, jumping on the heart healthy bandwagon as the mall boom exploded in the suburbs. Declining a health club membership, he preferred to get his 10,000 steps inside the local shopping center before it officially opened for the day. In this manner he could dress in his work clothes (a casual suit without the jacket and a pair of hush puppies) and get his steps in, before work, in air-conditioned comfort. He was an active man. He was also a dapper dresser, moderately trim, who did not look his age. He was on to something.
A daily walk. Yes, just 20 minutes and he was on his way to improved mental capacity, enhanced heart health, and better than average mobility. Smart man.
These days whether you call yourself a ‘mall star’, ‘mall mule’ or ‘stroller mom’ you are also a smart person. Mall management is keenly aware of providing this benefit to walkers. Some have formed clubs, some open early with breakfast and many are smart enough to know it’s not worth the bad press to mess with the early risers.
Kudos to you mall walkers, a perfect example of “where there is a will, there is a way!” And here’s to you Papo, a modern day mug in your honor!