Walking back to healthiness

YOU’VE heard of power walking and Nordic walking.

Now comes the latest trend to hit Hartlepool called mall walking.

Mall walking arrives in town on Monday, June 25, and it’s something Hartlepool has never experienced before.

To explain, mall walking is the craze where people turn up at shopping centres before they open for trade and take a stroll around the centre.

It has been big in America since 1956 when the first fully-enclosed US mall, the Stockdale, opened in Minnesota.

The doctors in the area decided one of the best ways to get recovering heart attack victims to exercise was inside the centre, away from the snow.

Now it’s coming to the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre and would-be walkers should turn up at 7am on June 25.

Centre manager Mark Rycraft said: “We want to get the message out there that people can exercise here.

“It is something I have thought of doing for a long time. Essentially, we shall be opening the centre between 7am-8am for people of all ages to come for a walk.

“Walking in shopping centres is a great way for people to exercise because they can do five minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes or the full hour – whatever they choose.”

The scheme will be launched on a trial basis and staff will judge how well it goes before deciding whether to make it a regular event

“We will see if people want this on a regular basis and, if so, how regularly,” said Mr Rycraft.

“It is very successful in the USA because it encourages people to get up and out before they start work. It encourages them to get exercise.

“And it’s in a safe environment. It is warm, flat, well lit, and they are all key reasons why people don’t get out walking outside any more.

“Also, it could be cold, damp or even hot outside. We provide the environment which fits for people.”

Anyone interested in taking part only needs to turn up at 7am on the day, at the entrance to the shopping centre near Primark, and they will be guided through an easy registration process as well as a safety induction.

People can also show their interest by contacting Middleton Grange on (01429) 861220.