Great news – shopping is good for you!
Science has finally proven what we have long hoped to be true – shopping is good for you! And best of all, the benefits do not have to involve parting with a single cent.
Being on your feet and spending time walking around the shops is good for you because evidence shows that spending too much time sitting during the day is bad for your heart. And this is true even if you get your 30 minutes of exercise a day.
The trick is to spend less time on your seat and more time on your feet.
Even window shopping for a few hours on the weekend is not
only some great ‘me time’, it is actually good for you too. If you plan to meet a friend for coffee or lunch, walk around the shops as you chat before taking a break.
Working in the garden and just pottering about the house are also good ways to keep you on your feet, bending and stretching. Why not get the family to help you in the garden or with the chores? That way everyone has some time moving about.
It’s still important to be active for 30 minutes each day (60 minutes for kids) by going for a walk or finding another form of exercise: it doesn’t have to be strenuous, just enough to make you puff a bit. A brisk walk for just 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as half. If you can’t spare 30 minutes, try breaking it down into smaller chunks, such as three 10-minute walks per day.
Yarrow says retail therapy can also be a creative outlet. An artist, for instance, may get pleasure from choosing between two colors of paint. “It all depends on how the person uses the purchase and what it means to them,” Yarrow says.
Compulsive shopping expert Benson recommends shopping for meaningful reasons instead of material items: “Shop for a hobby. Shop to deepen a relationship. Shop for a place to volunteer your time.”
There are, of course, other healthy alternatives to retail therapy. Rick of the University of Michigan says, “If you can dust off a decision you’ve been waiting for at home – how to rearrange your bookshelf or where to plant that new flower in the garden – I think it would have similar positive effects.”
Nonetheless, shopping can be an effective way of lifting your spirits. It can also have lasting benefits. “I have a battered briefcase I bought years ago,” Yarrow says. “It looks terrible, but I’ve been using it so long. I still treasure it, because in my mind it marked my transition from kid to professional.”