Mall walking – it’s still a thing

Published 1:12 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Visit Middlesboro Mall during the mid-morning to mid-afternoon hours and you will see them. They stroll through the mall in pairs or by themselves. Who are they? They are mall walkers. Yes, that is still a thing!

Cold and damp temperatures or rainy weather bring them out more.

Jim and Martina James of Middlesboro say they are trying to get back into shape.

“We used to come quite often and just really started back again,” Jim said.

The couple try to complete at least three laps around the interior before returning home. Martina says that though breaks are included in those laps she hopes to reduce the number of them as they continue to exercise.

Sebrina Elliott of Tazewell is glad to have the area to walk. The 48-year-old nurse recently underwent gastric bypass surgery and has been walking at the local mall for about three weeks. Her goal is to walk five miles on each visit and she walks every other day. “I’m always over here (at Middlesboro)” she said, adding that she walked a total of 17½ miles the previous week while circling the mall.

She said she is trying to exercise as much as possible before returning to work at Corbin Hospital and Tennova North because she won’t have the time to walk then.

She walks between 11 am and 3 p.m. which she considers the quietest part of the day.

Both Elliott and the James say the mall is a safe place to walk.

“I am thankful to have a place like this,” Elliott said. “It’s very safe I feel like here.”