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8 Easy Ways to Burn Off Those Halloween Treats
4 Mini Snickers (320 calories)
"I rarely let myself indulge in chocolate candy if it's not a holiday," says Houston writer Laura Milligan, which is why she really savors her Snickers on Halloween.
Burn it off this way: Double your steps
To compensate for her Snickers binge, Laura Milligan churns off the calories by boosting her walks with her Siberian Husky. Post-Snickers, she doubles her early morning and evening dog walks to 30 minutes each, and adds a 15- to 20-minute afternoon walk.
"If she's walking at 3 to 4 miles per hour, she'll burn around 150 calories* an hour," says Sharon Zarabi, RD, CDN, a dietitian and nutrition expert for Focus28, an online weight-management program. To burn off most of the Snickers, she could add another 40 to 45 minutes of walking a day, Zarabi says, or make her walks harder. "If she walks uphill, she puts more stress on her calves and glutes—the muscles in the butt—and hamstrings—the muscles in the back of the legs," Zarabi says. "Her quad muscles on the front of the thighs get more of a workout, too. The more muscles she uses, the more calories she burns."
*All calorie-burning estimates are based on a 150-pound, 5-foot-5-inch woman. But calories burned vary, depending on how hard you exercise, and your height, weight, age, and body composition.
2 Fun Size Packs of Milk Chocolate or Peanut M&Ms (180 calories)
Maris Callahan's downfall this time of year is orange and black M&Ms. "There's something about the seasonal candy that I can't resist," says the Chicago publicist and food writer. (We'll take a wild guess: It has something to do with the fact that it's chocolate.)
Burn it off this way: Visit the pumpkin patch
The cure for too many M&Ms? Get those arms working by picking pumpkins or apples. Kara Smith, M.S., special programs coordinator for Loyola Center for Fitness at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois, suggests hoisting pumpkins as you pick. "Hold the pumpkin at your chest and do a squat. Then touch the pumpkin to the ground. As you come up, lift the pumpkin overhead," she says. "You're exercising your core, your shoulders, and your leg muscles." Do three sets of 12-15 repetitions—about five minutes worth—and you'll burn off 17 calories. Pick apples in an orchard for about an hour—and the M&M calories are history.
Photo by Bryan McCay
A Handful of Candy Corn (140 Calories)
When it comes to candy corn, one handful doesn't do it for Armelle Cloche, CEO/founder of iStayYoung.net in San Francisco. "I can eat the whole bag! I do have a sweet tooth."
Burn it off this way: Take a swim
Rain, wind, or shine, three to five times a week Cloche swims off some of her Halloween indulgence by the hour at the only outdoor swim club in San Francisco. She starts her chilly swim with a dip in a hot Jacuzzi. Indoors or out, swimming freestyle for a half hour burns 150 calories, says dietitian Zarabi. Besides burning off candy corn and other treats, she says, "It works the whole body—and it's easy on joints."
2 Snack-Size Boxes of Milk Duds (108 calories)
Milk Dud fanatic Martha Maxwell says that around Halloween it's not unusual to find "a tower of tiny yellow boxes on my coffee table."
Burn it off this way: Rake leaves.
Although the high-school English teacher from Dallas, North Carolina, is certain that just chewing Milk Duds burns calories, Maxwell backs that up by raking leaves in 20-minute segments, a terrific full-body workout, says fitness expert Smith. "It activates back and shoulder muscles," she says. "And if you bend into a squat to pick the leaves up, it works the quads and hamstrings." Rake that yard for 23 minutes, and you'll burn off 108 calories of caramel fun.
3 Miniature Twix (150 calories)
"How can you not love a mini Twix?" says Diana Ozimek, M.A., owner of and certified instructor for Windy City Adventure Boot Camp in Chicago. "It's pretty bad when my 9-year-old daughter hands me her mini Twix right out of her bag as we are trick-or-treating."
Burn it off this way: Play games
Ozimek works it off at boot camp, where she brings a Halloween theme to the action with medicine-ball-size pumpkins for pumpkin runs and pumpkin line passing. "It can get a little messy if the pumpkins drop, but everyone gets a good laugh burning their kids' candy off," Ozimek says.
6 Bit-O-Honeys (180 calories)
Debbie Withers, a freelance focus-group moderator in McDonough, Georgia, scours her three children's trick-or-treat bags for anything that sticks to her teeth—like her favorite: Bit-O-Honey. "I'll eat up to six in an evening, if I have access," she says.
Burn it off this way: Hit the woods
Withers' penance: She hauls fallen limbs out of the woods for an hour at a time to add to the family bonfire. If there's no bonfire in your future, keep it simple and take a walk in the woods, suggests dietitian Zarabi. "Every time you see a pinecone, pick it up by doing a squat," she says. "If you collect them over 1 1/2 miles in 30 minutes, you'll burn about 180 calories."
7 Fun-Size Kit Kat bars (511 calories)
Public relations executive Patti Hill of Austin still dresses up for Halloween, and no, it's not to distract you from her Kit Kat addiction.
Burn it off this way: Hit the bike trail
Hill actually feels no guilt for indulging her "gigantic sweet tooth" because she bikes off the calories—an easy trick if you're biking 12-14 miles per hour, says dietitian Zarabi. "An hour burns about 544 calories. You're using your hamstrings, quads, glutes. And the steeper the hill, the more demand on your muscles," she says.
1 Butterfinger + 1 Baby Ruth (376 calories)
Alison McWilliams, a personal trainer and fitness instructor in Verona, Wisconsin, is queen of her block because she actually passes out full-size candy bars. And she consumes them, too. "I eat a Butterfinger and then I'll eat a Baby Ruth—the whole large size bars, back to back," she says.
Burn it off this way: Run the leafy routes
McWilliams burns off her candy bars by running. "That always makes me feel better," she says. It should, says dietitian Zarabi. "Running burns a lot of calories, depending on how fast you run," she says. "Thirty minutes of running at five miles per hour would burn about 250 calories." Running along a woodsy bike trail or by a lake is a great way to enjoy fall scenery, too. But if you want to make sure you're sticking to a steady pace, try the treadmill or elliptical trainer, says Zarabi. Plus, an elliptical is easier on your joints.