How to turn shopping into a workout

Post in collaboration with Bluewater Shopping Centre

I enjoy going shopping sometimes and I tried to get away with using it as an excuse for Janathon earlier in the month. It was a flippant comment, but when you stop to think about it, you can get a decent workout when you go round the shops.

My local shopping centre is Bluewater in Greenhithe, Kent. Bluewater is enormous, it boasts over 300 shops and 50 restaurants, occupying over 154,000 m2 set over two levels. It’s the fourth largest shopping centre in the UK and and the sixth largest in Europe. Bluewater is home to an unrivalled mix of fashion brands offering the latest trends and buys for every occasion, including sportswear and I paid a visit last week to find a new training outfit to cheer up my dull January runs. With shops such as Sweat Betty, Foot Asylum, Victoria’s Secret Pink, JD Sports and Sweatshop amongst others, there’s a great selection!


Victoria's Secret Pink Bluewater

Victoria’s Secret Pink – one of the many stores on offer


Track your steps

Most adults should be aiming for a daily target of taking 10k steps a day, however with so many of us in office and sit down jobs, it’s easy to see why so many of us fall short. As a result, lots of people think 10k is a huge target, when it is easily attainable. Going shopping is a great way of racking up that step count!

I was working, so only spent an hour and a half or so looking around the stops. However, in that time, I beat my step target for the day.




Thursday was the day I visited. Upon arrival, I had a total of 6000 steps for the day – not entirely surprising as I’d mostly been sitting around. However, by the end of the day, I’d totaled over 14000 – largely helped by all that walking around the shops.

Imagine how many steps you could take with a whole day shopping? If you’re not in a shopping centre and you’re hitting the streets elsewhere, walk! Don’t take the tube in London and don’t take the bus from one end of the high street to the other – walk it. You’ll be amazed at how many steps you take walking around the shops.

The NHS also suggest we walk 10 000 steps a day. It’s recommended that we get at least 150 minutes worth of exercise each week and if you do hit this step target each day, you’ll probably get more than 150 minutes a week, which is great for a healthy lifestyle!


Take the stairs, not the escalator

It’s really easy to take the escalator or lift, especially when you’re carrying lots of shopping bags, but try to take the stairs instead. The stairs are great for your muscles, great for cardiovascular health and they also count towards the step count. Bluewater has over 300 shops spread over two floors, so it’s really easy to fit in a good stair workout when you’re shopping there. Rather than do all the top level shops first, mix it up and do a few upstairs, followed by a few down, before going back up to browse. This means you’ll fit extra stairs into your day. According to the NHS, stair climbing burns more calories than jogging, so if jogging isn’t your thing, why wouldn’t you take the opportunity to take the stairs? Stair climbing also counts towards your recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week and is good for strong bones, so it’s a no-brainer really. For a real workout, run up them!


Keep moving

Do you get bored waiting in line? I do! You can keep moving when waiting for an extra workout. My back tends to hurt if I stand still for too long anyway, so you could do some side stretches or neck rolls to keep loose. If you’re feeling energetic and don’t care how you look, you could do some lunges or march on the spot. It’s better for you than just playing with your phone and tweeting about those awesome leggings you just bought…oh wait.


Awesome leggings from Sweaty Betty

Awesome leggings from Sweaty Betty


Choose a healthy meal

When we make a day or evening of the shops, we often want to combine it with a meal out. We’re so lucky now that there are so many affordable and healthier chains around offering healthy options. In London, I adore Leon for their affordable, healthy hot lunches. In terms of chains, I really like Giraffe, usually opting for quinoa salad (although I promptly cancel it out with chocolate cake). Another chain worth looking at is Wagamama and this is where we ended up on Thursday. For the unaware, Wagamama* is a chain inspired by Japanese food and noodles are plentiful on their menu. Everything is freshly cooked, flavours are plentiful without everything being deep fried so it’s a good option for a filling and healthier meal. They also pride themselves on their selection of fresh juices – this is the “Positive” juice.


Positive Juice

Positive Juice


Containing cucumber, pineapple, spinach, apple and lime, this is a real super-juice and I wasn’t expecting it to be as delicious as it was. My only regret is not ordering the larger size. Check back for a more detailed post, but at £41.75 for a beer, juice, two mains and two sides, I don’t think this was bad at all.


Walk off your meal

We ate more than was necessary and felt pretty bloated after! A gentle stroll helps to prevent me feeling too sluggish and helps me feel less bloated. Obviously don’t go for a10 mile run – this is a really bad idea – but I personally find it helps me feel better when I eat too much, plus it all counts towards your step count. There is evidence to suggest that a gentle walk post-meal is also good for the metabolism, so a gentle dawdle might be the perfect way to finish up, before you either go home or get back to another round of hardcore shopping!


Are you conscious of step count when you go shopping? Do you ever try to turn it into a workout? I think it’s a great way of fitting in some sneaky exercise if you haven’t had time during the week!



This post was written in collaboration with Bluewater who invited me shopping. I was also provided with a Wagamama gift voucher and a full review will be following.


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