A scheme to view shopping as a healthy form of exercise has been launched in Bury St Edmunds.
Called, naturally, Retail Therapy it recognises that a brisk walk around the shops, even if you stop to buy, is every bit as valid as exercise as a brisk walk anywhere else.
Backed by Ourburystedmunds, Bury’s Business Improvement District (BID) organisation, ‘Retail Therapy’ is the brainchild of Ian Dalrymple, who runs Intersport in Whiting Street.
He said: “Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise there is and by combining it with shopping it’s a way of burning off the calories and much healthier than shopping online.
“It’s also an initiative that will give a boost to the high street and improve individuals’ general health and wellbeing.”
The scheme was officially launched on the Lesley Dolphin Show on BBC Radio Suffolk. Lesley, who is patron of the Suffolk Walking Festival, said: “This is a brilliant idea and proves that walking doesn’t have to involve mud or farm tracks – and as a woman who loves shopping and walking this sounds like a match made in heaven.
“Bury St Edmunds is a lovely town centre to walk around, especially if you take in the Abbey Gardens at the same time.”
Suggested walking routes around the town have been drawn up by Ourburystedmunds.
OurBSE Chief Executive Mark Cordell said: “We’ve measured a route from Ram Meadow car park, through the Abbey Gardens, into the arc and back again and it’s a mile and a half – but that’s not including going in and out of shops.
“Given that an average person walking reasonably briskly will burn in the region of 90 calories a mile it soon adds up, which means that those taking part in the Retail Therapy scheme can reward themselves with a cup of tea and slice of cake in one of our cafes after an afternoon’s shopping.”
In addition, a series of organised walks are taking place on Thursday mornings at 10am from Intersport, under the This Girl Can banner, aimed at people who want to build up their fitness levels in a relaxed and informal environment.
Mark added: “Of course the historic parts of the town contain many interesting buildings as well as so many of our wonderful independent businesses so it seemed a great idea to create a walk that combines the two and makes people aware of these jewels in the town’s crown.”
Participants will be encouraged to share how they are doing on social media. More details can be found by visiting the Ourburystedmunds and Intersport Facebook pages.
Measuring how far you walk while shopping can be easily done using a free downloadable app such as MapMyRun, which will also shows calories burned and pace.