THE Knox City Mall Walkers aren't just pounding the walkways for exercise — it's a form of therapy, member Barbara Heller says.
Mrs Heller, 69, has been a mall walker since 1997 and said the friendships she had made in the past 15 years had transferred to outside the shopping centre's walls.
There are more than 400 members in the mall walkers group, who take a brisk walk around Knox City each Tuesday and Thursday morning.
A lap of the centre is 1.5 kilometres, and after they've worked up a sweat they share a coffee and chat about each other's goings-on, lending a friendly ear and offering advice. "We're like a therapy group — if you have a problem, someone else in the group is likely to have had it as well," Mrs Heller said.
Whether it's moving parents into a nursing home or dealing with a cancer diagnosis, Mrs Heller told the Weekly the group could "solve any problem".
The walkers vary in age, with some of the members pushing their 80s, while others are young mums pushing prams. And there is no set pace because the members all walk in little groups, Mrs Heller said.
"In 1995 when they were trying to get more people involved, they had [former AFL player] Robert DiPierdomenico and [lifestyle motivator] Sue Stanley leading the groups, so I didn't join because I thought they might walk a bit too fast for me."
For every 500 kilometres each walker racks up, they receive a golden feet pin and Mrs Heller so far has 10 — meaning she has walked 5200 kilometres around Knox City in 15 years.
The group meets at 7.30am, the best time to walk the route around the centre, Mrs Heller says. "There are no trolleys to crash into, it's an all-weather walk because it's inside and it's all a level surface, so there are no tree roots to trip over."
As well as socialising after the walk, many in the group also support a knitting charity called Knit One, Give One.
Mrs Heller co-ordinates a local KOGO group and said many of her mall walker friends gave their time to the cause.
Anyone wanting to become a Knox City mall walker should visit knoxshoppingcentre.com.au.