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Mall walking is a form of exercise in which people walk or jog through the usually long corridors of shopping malls. Many malls open early so that people may mall walk, however stores and other such facilities generally do not open at this time, though vending machine concessions are available. Many choose to mall walk as the indoor climate is comfortable and there is easy access to amenities, such as benches, toilets, and water fountains. Clean and level surfaces also provide a safe walking environment.
Mall walking is undertaken individually, in groups, or as part of an organized mall walking program. Mall walking in the United States is especially popular amongst senior citizens. Many mall walkers cite the camaraderie of walking in groups.
Advantages to mall owners
Many malls actively encourage mall walking with special clubs and benefits. It is seen by the mall owners as beneficial for several reasons:
- After walking, mall walkers may well stay on and shop the stores or patronize the mall's food court, increasing the traffic in the mall during what would otherwise be the very slow opening hour.
- Mall-walking programs provide good, often free, publicity for the mall owners.
Disadvantages to mall owners
Despite the advantages that mall walking provides those that partake in the activity and the advantages they perceive mall owners receiving, there are some burdens placed upon mall owners:
- Mall walkers arrive and participate at a time when the mall would otherwise not be open, requiring the on-site security staff to turn their attention away from more important procedures to supervise and attend to this crowd.
- The impromptu timing of mall walking during the early hours of the morning also interferes with the housekeeping staff's ability to clean as they must avoid walkers during a time they should otherwise have free range.
- Perry, Georgia (2015-09-21). "Mall Walkers: The Suburban Exercisers Keeping America Wholesome". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2015-09-21.