Health: Your KOP Christmas Workout

Burn off holiday treats with this gift-hunting sweat session

So, you’re slightly busy. There’s one week left until Christmas and you’re still not done shopping. The chance of making it to the gym is looking less and less likely, and any visions of quality time with your treadmill are being rapidly buried beneath the growing pile of homebaked goods on your desk.

[sidebar]This is one time where the giganticness of the King of Prussia mall will work in your favor. From Plaza to Court, the shopping mecca holds 2.7 million square feet and over 400 shops. So wear something comfy, grab your sneaks and follow these 6 tips to turn your next mad dash to the mall into a heart-thumping workout.

1. Park in a galaxy far, far away. In King of Prussia’s case, parking at the end of the universe will not only save you half an hour of driving around searching fruitlessly for an empty spot, but will provide you with up to 10 extra minutes of heart-healthy brisk walking.

2. Power-shop. Now that your heart is pumping, keep up the pace. Pass the slow walkers (stroller-pushing parents and absent-minded list-readers), and stay in the fast lane as you hurry from shop to shop.

3. Stairways to Heaven. Be sure to avoid the KOP’s nine sets of escalators and take the stairs between floors. For the maximum burn, jog up two step at a time.

4. Checkout Those Abs. Instead of stressing while you wait in the 15-minute checkout line, channel your Pilates class, breathe deeply, and contract your lower abs. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat. By the time the clerk starts to ring your through, your abs will be ready for a break.

5. Refuel. Ditch the diet-destroying Starbucks latté and go for a 90-calorie Mango Beach smoothie from the Freshëns Smoöthie Company in section D. It’s a Sex on the Beach without the morning-after guilt and light enough that you won’t be weighed down as you check off that list.

6. Work Your Arms. Sneak in one last exercise on the way back to your car, when you can use those shopping bags draped over your arms to do some curls and tone your biceps. By the time you get home, not only will your holiday shopping be completed, but you’ll have gotten your heart rate up and reaped the benefits of a mini workout.

The King of Prussia Mall, 160 North Gulph Road, King of Prussia, 610-265-5727,