If you have children and if they’re anything like mine, you’ve probably been listening to the Halloween countdown for a few weeks now. As the night for trick-or-treating approaches, families are busy putting the final touches on the costumes, choosing the most delicious candy to hand out, and bracing ourselves for the sugar-rushed kids we will be dealing with for the days after.
Last year I was dreading more than the crazy sugar-rushed kids because, at 8 months pregnant, that walk around the neighborhood was not as easy as it had been in past years. This year, I am looking forward to being able to take my kids further around the neighborhood since giving birth and making fitness a priority. Actually, I feel like I may just outlast – and outrun!– them this year.
If you will be taking your kids trick-or-treating, why not turn the evening into something more than just gathering candy – you can use the time for your own workout. You’re already outside, already walking around, why not? Using a few tricks and tips from personal trainers, turn trick-or-treat time into a fantastic, full-body workout for you and the whole family.
1. Body-weight training. Laura Wombwell, Certified Personal Trainer (UGPT), kettlebell specialist (SFG1), roller derby skater (TCRD) and owner of How We Roll Fitness, told TapGenes that using the wait time while your child is at a house gathering candy could be the perfect opportunity to work out.
“When your child goes up to a door, do a set of a body-weight exercise – you can even make it a game! House with one pumpkin equals 10 squats. House with multiple pumpkins equals 10 jumping jacks. House with creepy spider webs equals 10 alternating lunges. You could do the same with costumes – a squat for each ghost! The possibilities are endless,” she says.
2. Pull toddlers in a wagon. Ellen O’Hara, RN, MS and owner of Core Asset Fitness Training, told TapGenes that using a wagon will up your workout on trick-or-treat night.
“I know from experience that pulling a few toddlers in a wagon is extremely hard work!”
The wagon can be a benefit for when the toddler’s feet get tired, especially if you have older kids who are keen to keep the hunt for candy going.
3. Candy-bag resistance. Before the night of trick-or-treating is over, your child will probably beg you to carry their candy bag when it becomes too heavy. It’s the perfect opportunity to turn trick-or-treating into a resistance workout.
Wombwell says that as long as you’re carrying the heavy candy bag with good form, it’s a great resistance tool.
“Engage your core – keep your abs braced, squeeze your glutes, keep your shoulders out of your ears. To give yourself more options – bring two bags,” she advises. “That way you can alternate between even carries (a bag in each hand) and offset carries (both bags in one hand). Play with the height you carry the bag – down by your sides like a suitcase, with your arms at 90 degrees like you’re holding a tray or even above your head with your shoulder packed. Each carrying height will give you a slightly different challenge.”
4. Plan a trick-or-treat route that has many hills. Planning out our trick-or-treat route with the kids is a tradition at my house. We like to talk about which houses we want to target for best candy collecting. O’Hara suggests that when mapping the night, you should also consider how to turn the walk into a better workout.
“Planning a route that goes up a lot of hills can up the perfect addition to trick-or-treating. The kids might not like it but it really adds to the calorie burn of the walk or jog,” she notes.
5. Run, but in place. Wombwell advises that while running is a great way to exercise, it’s not the best for trick-or-treat night, for safety reasons.
“I’d steer clear of running and other such intervals since the streets will be crowded with tiny feet,” she warns. “If you’re keen to run, you can add running in place or high knees while you wait for your kids to come back with their bounty!”
What are your kids dressing up as for Halloween?
TapGenes Take Away: Trick-or-treat time doesn’t just have to be all about unhealthy, sugared candy. Use the time to carve out a great workout for the whole family.
Get more holiday health tips delivered to your inbox when you sign up for our newsletter!
Read more on TapGenes:
- Playground fitness: Get fit, have fun
- Bring outdoor fitness inside: 10 crazy-fun indoor workouts for cold months
- 5 Ways Healthy Eating & Exercise can Ease Stress