When you begin any new activity do not try to do too much too soon. This could result in muscle soreness, and it is often this that discourages people from continuing with exercise. It is important to always warm up before the walk and stretch at the end of the walk. Your instructor at Mall walking will conduct a supervised stretching session and once you are confident that you are performing them correctly, this will enable you to also do them at home.
One of the most important aspects of walking is posture. It is very important to “walk tall”, making sure that the shoulders are back, stomach is in and the stride is comfortable. Do not carry a bag over your shoulder and try and move the arms through their normal range. Too often people walk with their arms by their sides which can result in a less confident walking style. If you always look down, the neck is in a vulnerable position, so try to look about 10 feet in front, so that any hazards are visible early. The shopping centre surfaces are very user friendly, as there are no raised areas, rocks, cambres or hills to cause problems.
Shoes are very important. A running shoe is often recommended as they have good cushioning underneath the foot, strong heel support and flexibility in the forefoot to allow the foot to move through the full range and push off through the toes. It is often advisable to visit a good sports store and be fitted before you begin a new exercise regime.
Water bottles should be carried, preferably in a “BumBag” around your waist. It is very important to stay hydrated whilst you are walking. As the shopping centres are air conditioned, it is very easy for the mouth and skin to become dry. Small sips throughout the walk and then a larger drink at the end is a good idea.