Do Shopping Marathons Qualify as Exercise?

Do shopping marathons qualify as exercise? I think so. Just like 5k training, they require planning, goals, motivation, comfortable shoes, strategy, selectivity, focus, competition, stamina, strength, resilience, aggression, and great eye candy.

Great steals — Ann Arbor

Planning makes it easier to focus and get down to business. Without a workout plan, I spend way too much time deciding which exercises to do. The same is true with shopping marathons. Planning where I’m shopping and what I’m shopping for saves me. Important note: plan flexibility is required for deviation, detours, and impulsive behavior — for 5k training sessions and shopping marathons —  especially when one lives north of the “D”.

Motivation is a direct link to making work outs and shopping marathons successful. Something clicks in my head. It pushes me to kick-ass on the elliptical or 5k course. When I have my shopping groove on, I wake up feeling a rush of adrenaline in my veins. I know achievement is at hand.

Sparkly resale find — New Hope, Penn.

Comfortable shoes are critical for sprinting and getting to all the must-have deals before my competition does. Shopping marathons are not for the weak and feeble. Proper foot attire is necessary for speed walking, standing for long hours, kicking competitive shoppers in the shins — just kidding — and avoiding fashion faux pas.

Strategy is different from a plan. I define strategy as a methodology for ensuring plan success. When I play tennis, it involves opponent assessment, shot placement, and skill inventory. Shopping marathons require store layout assessment, merchandise knowledge, wish list prioritization, time management, competitive shopper analysis, personal shopper recruitment, checkout line comparison, and exit preparation.

Selectivity or prioritization enables me to complete timely workouts and saves me from overworking muscle groups. This ideology saves time and money during shopping marathons.

Butterfly bling — Dragonfly Boutique — Rochester, Mich.

Focus means unwavering drive to achieve or acquire. Having met my winter goal of running five miles in 30 minutes on my elliptical, I am now on task to win some 5ks. All of my work outs are centered around achieving this goal. During a shopping marathon, I am focused on acquiring items from my ever-changing wishlist. I do my best not to exit the store until my list is maxed out. But, my children often cause my memory to fail. This means I forget stuff and repeat visits to fave stores are necessary.

Competition is a healthy part of any fitness regimen or shopping marathon. It is expected. A competitive exercise program makes fitness fun. Hesitation to grab one-of-a-kind treasures is sure to kill a shopping marathon before it even gets started.

Ooh la la la — Dragonfly Boutique — Rochester, Mich.

Stamina builds over time. For example, I was huffing and puffing after five minutes on my elliptical 10 years ago. On Monday, I ran a practice 5k in 30 minutes. At Parisian’s Mother’s Day sale, I entered the store at 10 am and exited at 3:30 pm. I could have lasted another five hours.

Strength also gains when exercise is consistent, practiced and frequent. Shopping marathons are labor intensive and may require heavy lifting.

Resilience is especially important during Zumba classes. For a visual think Elaine from Seinfeld. Shopping marathons — especially ones involving bathing suits — require a tough, resilient attitude. I keep looking and trying stuff on. In the end, I usually find something dazzling. If not, I try again on a different day or after a few spicy rum lemonades.

Aggression fuels my workouts. I translate daily stress into lengthy walks around my neighborhood, positive interval training, and tough-as-nails cardio-kickboxing sessions. Stress and aggression need healthy outlets. Blocking competitive shoppers, keeping a place in the checkout line, and asking for store assistance all take some finesse. 

A must-have — Plain 'n' Fancy — Rochester, Mich.

Great eye candy makes any workout better. I burn hundreds of extra calories on the elliptical while watching movies starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Johnny Depp or Leonardo DiCaprio. Whatever works, right? Shopping marathons are all about great eye candy. The more the merrier. After taking a few moments to take in all the must-have goodies, my mind clears and I am on-task to accomplish my mission.

The Original Saturday Real-Life Escape

It began Saturday morning. I started the engine, set my music to the Black-Eyed Peas, and sped out of the driveway. Squealing my tires, I left my husband, children and dog for my sister and Hob Nob Pinot Noir. I escaped to the land of The Original Cottage Inn, Stucchi’s, the University of Michigan and flirty boutiques.

At The Original, my sister and I savored a child-free meal and traded strategies on how to avert meltdowns. Somehow food and drink tastes so much better without food strikes, projectile air launches, or requests for drink refills. Plus, nothing beats The Original. Just think about it. Does Ataris’ cover of Don Henley’s Boys of Summer measure up? Say what you want. It just doesn’t do it for me. The same goes for food. Mastery of artful, tasteful duplication is tough and not without peril.

Our escape route also included a trek through the campus at U-M, hunting for stylish spring accessories, and indulging at Stucchi’s. That scoop of cinnamon crumb cake was absolutely delicious; and worth every calorie and fat gram.

The original Saturday real-life escape was extra special with a visit to my sister’s home. There, I cuddled my nephew who is a bundle of six-month cuteness and discussed how challenging it was to catch leprechauns with my niece, Annalise. She even showed me the box she made for trapping them. Life is beautiful.