A different kind of exercise

storefrontMy gym has been closed a day here and there lately so I’ve had to find other ways to exercise. (No, I’m not jogging out there in the cold. Or doing anything out there in the cold!) I hate treadmills too. Bleah!

What I love is to look at beautiful things. You can do this a couple of different way. You can go to a museum or an indoor arboretum (remember it’s winter here).

Or you can walk the mall. I used to love to shop but these days I don’t need clothing. Buying is no fun if there’s no place to wear it. I also need to have other people admire it too. If you don’t work, you lose your audience. That’s what makes the whole experience fun. (That and the treat at the end. It may be a pastry or a coffee or a slice of pizza – I’m easy.)

I’ve done walks at two different malls in the past week. One yielded a few purchases but the other was strictly for exercise (and a mild amount of merchandise fondling).

The real pleasure of a purely educational (and I use that term loosely) mall excursion is that I can scrutinize the best of the best. When I’m shopping for something I need I don’t have time. It’s get what you need and get out.

January is a great month for window shopping. All those people are safely back at work or school. Parking is no longer a demolition derby and the staff is more….peaceful.

I take time to examine beautiful details and admire straight seams. (None of this costs money!) Designer clothes are like works of art. It’s like looking at paintings and examining the brush strokes, lighting and color.

The great designers make clothes that make look everyone good (mostly). Flounces are tailored (and purposeful) and colors meld together. Hems hit spots on the leg that make a woman look like a dancer.

It took two hours to feed my fantasies with clothing details I have no use for. I doubt if I worked off any calories but my heart was happy and my head was clear.

Clothing, especially shoes, are my enjoyment. My husband can spent hours perusing guitars. We have friends who do auto or boat shows. It’s all the same concept.

What is your favorite “looking” pastime?

88 thoughts on “A different kind of exercise

  1. Okay, I admit it, for a woman I’m a little weird. My favorite place to window shop is Lowes. I love walking the long aisles, the smell and texture of fine wood, and dreaming of the next nightmare project I’m going to get myself into. Hubby doesn’t mind at all, in fact, if I show it to him often enough, some day I might actually get that radial-arm saw I’ve been looking at. (As long as I let him use it, of course.)

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    • When I first moved here by myself two decades ago, I would spend a lot of time in those kinds of stores. Some of it was wishing and dreaming and some of it was to fix things in my new house. It became therapy. When I had a lonely Saturday night on the horizon, I would go over and look at paint samples and cabinets and I’d be happy.


  2. I love your reference to “merchandise fondling.” I am not very fashion conscious and my personal shopping doesn’t really orient towards clothing beyond necessity, but one of my favorite televisions shows is Project Runway, and I’m really fascinated with designer couture. So your enjoyment and day of “fondling” makes sense to me! My favorite “looking” pastime is independent bookstores. I can’t come out of one without a purchase, but it’s typically minimal, given my stockpile of books still unread! But it is a comforting experience. 🙂

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  3. I love shoes! Can I use your “merchandise fondling” line to my husband, next time we are somewhere that sells foot bling?
    “Honey, I’m just fondling them, it’s a thing on the internet now, and I don’t want to miss out!”
    He’ll walk away from me shaking his head, and never see me slip to the register, pay for the shoes, and tuck the package neatly under my arm.
    😉 another great post, Kate, still giggling!

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  4. Hi, Kate – Great post, with great additional suggestions from your readers. I don’t love the cold (or rain either), but if dressed warm and walking for a purpose (like coffee and a slice of cake!!) I find the walking much more enjoyable.

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  5. I like “just looking” around book stores or antique/thrift shops, even Goodwill, but I can “just look” in almost any kind of store. Treadmills are not for me either but we have a stationary bike when it is too cold or rainy and can’t get out to jog/walk. Fortunately, our weather is mild.

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  6. I love (what my husband would call) wondering around aimlessly in an interesting area. Taking pictures, people watching, etc.I like having no real plan or schedule. They have organized mall walks around here, but I’ve never been on one. I prefer to shop alone, and that includes window shopping.

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    • I like that too, especially houses. In our area a lot of homes were built in the 40s-50s-60s. I’ve seen some amazing do-overs to update them without ripping them down. I recently saw a very boxy ranch that was well done.

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  7. I’ve done the mall walking thing as well since I hate exercising (so it doesn’t matter to me if the gym is closed). I work from home so I don’t need clothes either, although I am losing some weight so I may need to pick up some things soon. My favorite go-to is the book store. I can spend hours looking at the craft magazines and discount section. I park at a spot at the other end of the mall so I have to walk a longer way to get there. Have you tried housewalking? That is supposed to be another new-ish craze.

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  8. The mall is too far away for mere exercise. We have to go there purposefully. Grandson Nathaniel likes exploring towns on foot. It’s easy for him, living on Long Island, but we managed to walk the main street of two towns this visit. I loved it. It didn’t really count as exercise, though, because we dawdled. We find it easier to walk to the creek, unless rain is falling or there is ice underfoot. Thankfully, cold doesn’t bother us unduly yet.

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    • There used to be a pet shop across the street from where I worked. (A long time ago!) I went there often for “therapy.” There is nothing like happy puppies and kitties to make you feel good. Fortunately those are long gone and locally if you want a pet you get them at a rescue or shelter. I find those sadder. Too many older pets that are unwanted.

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  9. Favourite looking pastime? Cake shops. Lovely, fat, fresh cream slices, gateaux, custard doughnuts, choux buns, iced buns, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, and today a courgette and lime cake with lime zest frosting (all gone by the time we walked back to the car!). Nice to drool, fully aware we would never buy one as each piece is over three pounds and I can buy a complete gateau for 12 for £2.
    Why do I torment myself with the syns of the cake I shall never have (sigh).

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  10. You’re right, Kate..this month is a great time for bargains and just enjoying the experience of looking through items without having to walk an obstacle course. And mall walking, though some may snicker at it, is a great alternative to boring treadmills.

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    • Mall walking is a whole science. You have the people who are intent on exercising. The carry weights and maintain quite stride. Then there are the people like me, easily distracted by a good display window. It’s better than nothing though.

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  11. I agree january is a fab month for window shopping… it’s enough for me to imagine to buy something, I still have the money and I can feel joy anyway… oh tomorrow starts winter sale in france…that’s a kind of gym too… (no clothes for me, just a foot step for phenny so he can enter the bed much better)

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