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Winter Activities That Burn Calories

Updated on January 22, 2019

When the cold winds of winter arrive, most people crave foods that are packed full of carbohydrates and are high in fat. Many of those people take to the indoors to bundle up and stay warm. By indulging in this habit, not only are they missing the fun that can only be experience during the winter months but they also tend to pack on a few pounds.

What many people fail to realize is that by getting out and enjoying winter activities, they can also avoid gaining weight that they will later stress about losing in the spring. There are common winter activities that actually burn more calories than you might think.

Shoveling Snow

In some places snow during winter is inevitable. When this occurs, homeowners and business owners break out the snow shovels to keep their walkways and driveways free relatively free of snow. In most cases this is a chore that must be done. For just 20 minutes of shoveling snow, a person can burn 186 calories. Even if you have a snow blower, you can burn calories. If you spent 15 minutes using the snow blower you would burn about 105 calories.


Snowboarding is a favorite sport of some people during the winter. While you are out there having fun, you are actually burning calories. If a person goes snowboarding for 30 minutes that is 279 calories the person is burning off.


Skiing is a common winter activity. Depending on what type of skiing you will be doing will depend on how many calories you will burn. For every 30 minutes of ski time, you will burn approximately 372 calories. Not too bad for enjoying yourself, eh?

Ice Skating

Ice Skating is another winter activity that provides a good calorie burn. Many places have indoor skate rinks so you don't have to endure the frigid temperatures outside. Going ice skating even for just 30 minutes will allow you to burn 326 calories.


Sledding is a favorite winter pastime for children as well as adults. In fact, many people can't wait to get back to the top to slide down again. Many people love to sled for hours. Children protest as parents bring them in to warm up. Probably the last thing anyone thinks about is burning calories. Well regardless, spending just 30 minutes sledding allows you to burn a whopping 315 calories.


You wouldn't think snowmobiling would actually burn calories but it does. Simply snowmobiling for 30 minutes will cause you to burn 140 calories. Not too shabby for just riding around in the snow.

Building a Snowman

One popular winter activity people want to do after a good snowfall is to build a snowman. Building a snowman is hard work so it is no surprise that you can easily burn calories while creating your perfect snowman. Spending an hour out in the snow working on your snowman will actually allow you to burn 250 calories. Too cold outside to spend an hour building one? Even spending 30 minutes will burn 125 calories.

Snowball Fights

Who doesn't love a good snowball fight? In fact, that is one of the first things most people do after a real good snow shower. It is hard for people to resist picking up a chunk of snow, shaping it into a ball, and finding a good target to throw it at. Kids of all ages enjoy spending hours in a good snowball fight. With all the running, dodging, and throwing it is hard to believe if you didn't burn any calories. Although you could spend hours snowball fighting with your friends, only 30 minutes will burn roughly 233 calories. So in reality there truly aren't any losers in a snowball fight.

Chopping Wood

During the winter months, many people just want to curl up in front of the fireplace. Well, before you can enjoy the inviting warmth of the fire, you are probably going to have to chop some wood. Chopping wood is a great physical activity that not only builds muscle but also burns calories in the process. If you spent only 20 minutes chopping wood you would still burn 186 calories.

Take a walk

Just because it is cold outside, doesn't mean you have to stop your outdoor walking habits. Walking is still a great way to get in some cardio and burn calories. Even if you only walk for 30 minutes due to the frigid temperatures that is still 111 calories you have burned. Plus, just getting that blood pumping keeps you warm and energized during those short winter days.

Also consider going hiking in the snow. By doing this, not only are you enjoying the winter wonderland Jack Frost has brought but you are burning even more calories than just taking a walk around the block.

Whether it is work or play, it is easy to burn calories with typical winter activities that we take for granted. Regardless of the activity you choose during the winter, the whole idea is to get up and move. Get the blood pumping and keep those unwanted extra pounds at bay.

*Calorie statistics generated by Actual calories burned per activity may vary.

© 2014 Linda Sarhan


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