comscore Shopping can be a real workout

Shopping can be a real workout

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You walk mile after mile at a continuous clip, interspersed with the occasional sprint. The loads you carry get heavier and heavier, yet your pace stays the same.

Sometimes you have to squat and bend down with that load, and sometimes you have to carry that load over your head.

Is this the newest intense workout routines you see in infomercials late at night guaranteeing success in three weeks?

Not at all; this is a day of shopping, and, yes, it can be as strenuous as it sounds. As such, taking proper steps to ensure a healthy day is a wise decision.

Just as with any exercise class or boot camp you might participate in, you do not want to show up on an empty stomach. It takes energy (in caloric form) to spend energy, so to speak, and allowing your blood sugar levels to drop can not only make you feel miserable, it can also lead you to make unwise and irrational shopping decisions.

Remember from a previous column how body chemistry dictates our moods? Well, it goes further than that and can even dictate the decisions we make. That really stylish lavender and paisley pineapple tie that looked so fetching when you were hungry and near delirious might be not as appealing when viewed through the lens of a well-fueled system.

Follow these guidelines to help avoid buyer’s remorse on your next excursion into the holiday jungle:

» Stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of water handy and make sure you finish it by the end of the shopping day. Better yet, take it one more step and finish two of them. Keeping your fluid levels high will optimize your body environment to better utilize the nutrients you will get from the next step.

» Bring a snack. Even better, bring a healthful snack and avoid a trip to the food court. Keeping a source of quick energy handy will stabilize your blood sugar levels.

» Pace yourself. It’s OK to take a break. As any good trainer or coach knows, the body can take only so much before it forces you to stop.

Follow these simple precautions and you just might find that the usual holiday shopping stress might be fun after all, or at least not so painful.


Reggie Palma is an exercise physiologist and personal trainer. See his website at

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