by CLAIRE WEBER
We should all exercise more. Young, old, men, women, even kids; we are all counseled to move more, and we all find plenty of reasons that doesn’t happen. High on the list is that it’s not convenient. Probably right up there with “not convenient” is the fact that gyms are often expensive, crowded and, well, intimidating.
Let me tell you about an exercise venue, that is familiar. The crowds are manageable. You can set your own pace in a comfortable, safe environment that is, by the way, free.
The Skywalkers Club at the Somerset Collection is a great place to exercise and meet very nice people.
You can walk fast or slow, climb the stairs or take the escalator. You can schedule a workout anytime between 6:30 a.m. and about 9 p.m., though the early morning hours are the most popular.
“There are walkers all day,” mentions Cliff Wagoner, Merchant Relations Mgr. He comments that there are really no restrictions, though the early morning hours are often the hours mall construction takes place and management asks walkers to respect the boundaries that might be involved.
Wagoner says everybody walks. “There is a tremendous diversity, both in age, ethnicity and the reasons for this mode of exercise. Lots of couples walk, women with baby’s in strollers walk, people are out with their walkers, an initial phase of physical therapy. Whatever your goal, almost everybody becomes part of the community connected with their timing.”
My early morning group has lunch get-togethers in the Peacock Cafe a couple of times a year, just to catch up.
Probably the most positive feature of exercising at the mall is that you can set your own workout. And, there are some people who really workout.
One acquaintance does the triple staircase in the south court 20 (not a typo) times in her 1 1/2/ hour routine. She says she has lowered her cholesterol to the point where she no longer takes medication. Another diehard, who travels to Somerset from Southfield, does FitBit challenges and often does ten miles (22,000 steps) in a day. She’s retired.
Going around any level on the north side is about 1/3 of a mile. Any level in the south is a little over 1/4 of a mile. One way across the skywalk is about 1/8 of a mile. Though Wagoner says these are loose calculations, given there are doorways and shortcuts that can change it a little.
Another advantage to mall-walking is, of course, the shopping aspect. Those of us who are interested are delighted that the retail scenery is always changing, and we are the first to see it. Occasionally certain stores have special Skywalker events. Often, if you indicate to a merchant that you are a Skywalker, they give you a bit of a deal.
According to Wagoner, there are over 850 registered Skywalkers. You can walk without being a member, but there are advantages to membership which are detailed in a regular newsletter sent by email.
“The real advantage, if you want it,” says Wagoner, “is the sense of community from seeing the same people and getting to know their names, often having conversation walking together.” To join Skywalkers, email Wagoner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are only advantages to using the Somerset Collection as an exercise route; temperature control, safe routes, clean bathrooms, drinking fountains, and, just in case, their own private security is emergency trained and always on duty.
Come to the Somerset Collection and see for yourself. The Gazette Media Group is sponsoring a Sunrise Senior Expo in the Somerset Collection North Center Court on Thursday, April 13 from 7 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. There will be a variety of sponsors and coffee and bagels. And you can walk after the event!