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Medical Mall Gives Smithfield Walkers A Place To Get Their Exercise

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SMITHFIELD, N.C. — Some small towns do not have shopping malls, so where do mall walkers walk? In Smithfield, they walk at a medical mall.

"It's just a perfect place. I love the mall," said mall walker Grace Blackmon.

"Mall walkers is what we are," said mall walker Ozzie Fields.

The medical mall is an extension of Johnston Memorial Hospital across the street. The architecture reveals a historic past.

The Smithfield Sewing Plant opened in 1920. In the 1970s, Burlington Mills used it as a textile mill. The building closed in the late 1990s. Now, it offers hospital services like breast imaging, a wound healing center, a fitness center and an indoor pool, but the big draw is the old wood floor.

"The floor is very nice on your feet on your ankles, and it's just a nice place to walk. You see a lot of friends and you make new friends," Fields said.

Fields picked up walking after a heart attack 17 years ago. A recent Duke study showed walking at least 12 miles a week is good enough to gain a benefit for your heart. The study suggested that if you increase the amount or intensity, it helps even more.

"This is the best place to walk, if it's cold, or if it's hot or whatever," Blackmon said.

The mall even offers free health screening.


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