DURHAM, N.C. — For most people, the mall is a place to go shopping. Now, more and more people in the Triangle are finding it can also be a free ticket to a good workout.
Mall walking is nothing new, but the
Heels in Motion
program at The Streets at Southpoint Mall is different than most.
Each month, the mall provides a free low-fat breakfast and health talks. Fitness instructors are on hand to teach the importance of stretching.
With 300 members, Heels in Motion is one of the fastest growing mall-walking programs in the South.
"I've been involved with two other mall walking groups and this one by far blows away the other two," said Jeff Johnson of The Streets At Southpoint.
During the hot summer months, the walkers said they relish the reprieve from the heat and humidity.
Franklin Boone said walking with the same people every day gets him out of bed.
"It keeps us accountable. You can't cheat," he said.
Another perk -- walking provides a health boost.
"I have fibromyalgia. My energy level was low and that has definitely improved," walker Myra Erexson said.
Most walkers walk for about an hour each day. With no shoppers to slow them down, the walkers are usually gone by the time the first store opens.
"It gets your day started off right. You get up early and get started. It feels good," Boone said.
Heels in Motion is sponsored by
. Since the program started in February, members have logged about 5,000 miles. That is the equivalent of a trip from Durham to Los Angeles and back.