Spooky Steps Lead to A Healthier Halloween

kids walking at HalloweenHalloween is the perfect night to leave your car at home and spend the evening walking with your family to trick-or-treat. This year, Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods is offering safety tips for Halloween night and year-round walking tips, because adults and children today do not get enough activity. Check out some family fitness books from the library and begin creating healthier traditions together!

Only 19.5% of Shawnee County adults are participating in the recommended level of physical activity, which includes 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, and muscle-strengthening activities that involved all major muscle groups two or more times per week, according to 2013 BRFSS data.

Below are five Halloween safety walking tips for your health:

  1. Plan your trick-or-treating walking route. Map out and decide which safe streets (well-lit, low speed limits, streets with sidewalks) you will visit for trick-or-treating to avoid getting lost and overextended.
  2.  Eat a meal before trick-or-treating. Even a moderate-intensity 15-minute walk after dinner will reduce an increase in blood sugar and daily walking will reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, per the American Diabetes Association.
  3.  Count your steps. Most cellphones today have free pedometer apps to count your steps and count calories burned. An average person takes over 2,000 steps per mile and a 160-pound adult can burn 100 calories during a one-mile walk.
  4.  Teach walking safety. Crossing the street at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks; looking both ways before crossing; and making eye contact with drivers will teach children and remind adults to be cautious when walking any time of the year.
  5.  Dress appropriately. Wear comfortable shoes that won’t cause blisters, make sure costumes do not drag on the ground, and it’s recommended that trick-or-treaters use reflective tape, carry glow sticks or flashlights to be well-lit. Consider skipping the mask and heavy makeup if it blocks the child’s full vision.

Studies show that 30-minute walks offer astounding benefits. Not only does it reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer, but it also improves blood pressure, lowers risk of obesity and enhances mental wellbeing.

“There has been a steady decline in children walking, whether it be to and from school or for leisure. Halloween is a great chance to get children excited about increasing physical activity. Walking can not only provide health benefits, but can even help increase academic performance in the classroom,” Craig Barnes, Health Promotion Coordinator, Shawnee County Health Agency.

Lissa Staley

Lissa Staley helps people use the library. She is a Book Evangelist, Trivia Emcee, Classics Made Modern book discussion leader, NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison, HUSH podcaster, and frequent library customer. She loves her kids, being a librarian, living in Topeka, and helping people form connections and community. She reads a new book every few days, but recently enjoyed the audiobook of "Let's Go (So We Can Get Back): A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc." by Jeff Tweedy, which a library customer recommended to her.