Now it's time for the not-so-good news. You simply cannot reap the benefits of a good workout by just shopping. "Research does suggest that any moderate increase in activity decreases stroke, heart problems, and other health ailments," says Geralyn Coopersmith, director of the Equinox Fitness Training Institute. "However, from a fitness perspective, shopping won't make a huge mark on your progress chart. The intensity factor you need just isn't hard enough."
That being said, Coopersmith points out that there are still ways to improve your health while shopping. First, walk as much as possible. This means not using your grandmother's handicapped tag for a front space and parking in the back of the lot instead. If your mall has an option to take the stairs, skip the escalator. These are activities that mimic cardiovascular exercise and, therefore, burn calories.
Coopersmith also says the healthiest thing you can do for yourself at the mall is not to schlep all of your heavy bags on one shoulder. "Heavy purses and shopping bags are responsible for a lot of neck, back, and shoulder pain. Over time, this could shift your posture." Remember to keep switching shoulders or opt for a chic backpack to avoid cramps and sores.
NEXT: Exercises to do while you shop.