Shopping complexes have become the preferred recreational venue among many Malaysians. Now, how about taking it to the next level by doing “mall walking”?

Mall walking is a form of exercise where people walk the long corridors of malls. Since one doesn’t require any special gear to get started (with the exception of a good pair of shoes, maybe), this is something that can be done by anybody and of all ages.

Physician Dr Mohammad Shazli Abdul Rahman says there are many health benefits to derive from mall walking.

“Walking, especially brisk walking, has always been beneficial to reduce the risk of diabetes, hypertension, stroke and some cancers.

“Whether it’s outdoors or indoors, it will provide different advantages. A brisk walk lasting 30 minutes could burn between 90 and 200 calories,” he says, adding that one should ideally log between 7,000 and 10,000 steps per day.

He adds that walking in an indoor setting like a mall would make for a more comfortable exercise.

Dr Shazli says there are many health benefits to walking, even in a mall.

“The cool environment actually makes it comfortable to exercise or walk, hence making you exercise longer. With the cooling effect, the feeling of thirst is less. Therefore, you would not consume too much water, which could avoid cramps,” he explains.

Malls also provide an excellent climate control environment as there is no threat of rain or hot sun. Plus, there are useful amenities for participants, such as toilets and benches.

There’s also the matter of elevated safety and security when compared to an outdoor setting.

“The indoor environment of the mall provides safety without any vehicle traffic, as well as the presence of other patrons, who can assist if there are emergency situations,” he says.

However, Dr Shazli advises the public to make necessary arrangements with mall authorities to avoid any untoward incidents.

“It’s not advisable to mall walk during peak shopping hours, as the crowd can make brisk walking difficult,” he says, and jokingly adds, “And try to avoid all the fast food eateries!”

Malaysians are certainly spoilt for choice when it comes to the selection of big and spacious malls, especially in the country’s shopping capital – the Klang Valley.

1Utama Shopping Centre

mall walk

1 Utama Shopping Centre is one of the landmarks in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya. Photo: The Star

As the world’s seventh largest mall and the largest in Malaysia (480,700 sq m of retail space, according to Wikipedia), you can bank on all that space to help you burn some calories. In addition to the usual shops, the mall has two cinemas, a batting cage and a rooftop garden.

It’s also home to the largest indoor rock climbing facility in Asia.

You can take a break from walking at the Rainforest area, too. This specially conceived space features koi ponds, a suspension bridge and lush foliage right in the heart of the mall.

Sunway Pyramid

mall walk

The cool interior of malls, such as Sunway Pyramid in Subang Jaya, makes for a more comfortable exercise. Photo: The Star

Opened in 1997, this venue is touted as Malaysia’s first themed shopping mall. With its Egyptian-inspired architecture, Sunway Pyramid (retail space: 396,000 sq m) wows at every turn with its whimsical design. Look out for quirky replicas and unique fountains during your walk here.

Of course, one can’t forget about the ice skating rink at this mall. So if you’re sick of walking, maybe you could skate a little before you get back to exploring the place.

Mid Valley Megamall and The Gardens Mall

There are over 400 retailers in 12 categories at the Mid Valley Megamall. Photo: The Star

Mid Valley Megamall (retail space: 160,000 sq m) and the adjacent complex, the luxurious The Gardens Mall, are part of the Mid Valley City. The word “city” should you give an indication of the gargantuan size of both malls combined.

Within Mid Valley Megamall itself is a convention centre that hosts exciting events throughout the year.

There are over 400 retailers in 12 categories at the Mid Valley Megamall, so you can be sure of an exciting walk with plenty to see.

Meanwhile, The Gardens incorporates sophisticated elements in its design as well as some nice upscale shops.

Suria KLCC

Located next to the KLCC Park, Suria KLCC (retail space: 140,000 sq m) is one of the country’s most iconic malls Photo: The Star

Here’s where you can actually do both indoor mall walk as well as regular outdoor exercise. Located next to the KLCC Park, Suria KLCC (retail space: 140,000 sq m) is one of the country’s most iconic malls due to its proximity to the Petronas Twin Towers and the Golden Triangle.

Apart from the 300-plus specialty stores, there’s also the Petrosains and Petronas Art Gallery to keep you entertained. But if it’s a workout you’re looking for, how about walking through the covered walkway to other malls in the vicinity such as Pavilion KL and Lot 10, or through the LRT underpass to Avenue K?

The Curve, eCurve, Ikea Damansara, IPC and Tesco Extra

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There are several malls surrounding The Curve in Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya. Photo: The Star

The neighbourhood of Mutiara Damansara is easily shopping central. There are five shopping venues here – and they are all located next to one another!

You can start mall walking at eCurve and then make your way to The Curve. IPC is connected by a pedestrian bridge.

From IPC, Ikea is just next door for a bit of mall walk while browsing some furniture. And once you’ve gotten a bit of exercise, how about shopping for groceries at Tesco Extra?