Mall walkers add strength training

first_img• One lap around the mall (either level, not including the entry alcoves) is about .43 miles.• Five laps around either level is about 2.2 miles.Music plays softly as Shirley Hofmeister briskly walks the second floor of the Westfield Vancouver mall.Storefronts are filled with Christmas decorations. White lights dangle from the ceiling. Signs promoting holiday sales speckle the hallways.But on this morning, Hofmeister and her friends aren’t at the mall to shop. They are there to exercise.“We walk, then we get strength training — and then we shop,” Hofmeister, 74, said.Hofmeister is among the dozens of people who visit the mall before business hours and walk laps. The mall opens the doors to its common areas at 7 a.m., giving walkers three hours to exercise in the hallways before shoppers begin filing in.In the winter months, the mall walker population spikes. On some mornings, up to 100 people can be found walking laps in the mall, said Chris Yates, marketing director at Westfield Vancouver mall.Berla Gonzales, 66, started walking at the mall about three years ago. After being diagnosed with diabetes, Gonzales’ doctor told her she needed to start exercising.So the Vancouver woman headed to the mall. Now, she and a group of her friends walk about an hour a day. When they’re done, they grab some coffee in the food court. On weekends, Gonzales stops by the mall after church and gets in a few laps.The more active lifestyle has paid off. Gonzales said the walking has helped her to better manage her diabetes and her high blood pressure.last_img

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