Feel the Burrrn: Calories Burned Doing Winter Activities

Feel the Burrrn: Calories Burned Doing Winter Activities

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For many, the calories in vs. calories out equation tilts heavily towards the “in” side through the frosty months. Read on to learn what activities can help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight this winter.

snowstorm inside calories

With factors like holiday season buffets, comfort-food cravings, and missed workouts on bitter days, it’s no wonder most Americans emerge from their parkas carrying an extra pound. While it’s important to enjoy winter indulgences, keeping tabs on your eating and activity levels can help keep the equation in balance through the chilly season.

We’re here to help you do the math with a roundup of the calories burned by popular indoor and outdoor winter activities. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to embrace the season as a chance to mix things up, learn a new sport, or tackle some DIY projects.

The calories burned are for a person weighing 150 pounds, participating in the activity at moderate intensity for 60 minutes. Calories out will be higher for people weighing more than 150 pounds and lower for people weighing less.

Also, the sum total of calories burned is going to change depending on the weight of the snow, how many times you head up the slopes before après-ski, and whether your snow fort looks like a lumpy wall or a castle in Winterfell.

Calories burned while the snowstorm swirls outside:

Make merry music on the piano, organ, violin or trumpet – 170

Cook up some comforting homemade macaroni and cheese – 150

Sitting by a cozy fire – 100

Sex – 288  [Note: Research has found that people canoodle and conceive more babies during the holiday season.]

Ping Pong, Air-Hockey – 272

Stretching, Hatha Yoga – 170

Walking – 225  [Note: Get out there while the snowflakes are still falling, it’s magical.]

Calories burned while snowed in:

Stationary Bike – 476

Running in place – 544

Cleaning, light tidying, distracted dusting – 170

Cleaning, with serious elbow grease – 204

Carpentry, general – 204

Moving Household Furniture – 408

Calories burned when you finally hit the snow:

Shoveling snow – 422 [Note: Be good to your back. Bend at the knees, don’t twist to toss the snow, and don’t overload the shovel.]

Building a snowman – 285

Building a snow fort – 285

Having a snowball fight – 319

Lawn bowling with ball and pins you’ve ingeniously made from snow – 204

Making snow angels – 214

Standing at the window watching others engage in the previous five activities – 130

Sledding, tobogganing, bobsledding or luge  – 476

Calories burned when you get sick of snow, and head for the Caribbean:

Snorkeling – 340

Sitting on the beach – 100 [Note: Lifting that giant drink with an umbrella isn’t considered aerobic exercise]

Winter sports that burn the most calories:

Ice Skating – 476

Skiing, downhill- 408

Cross-country skiing – 476

Snowboarding – 422

Ice Hockey – 544

Calories burned for winter sports that are off the beaten path:

Snow Shoeing – 544

Ice Fishing, sitting – 136

Snowmobiling – 238

Ski Jumping – 476  [Note: If you’re skipping the lift and carrying your skis back up yourself]


So, enjoy your favorites among these activities all winter long. You’ll be torching calories even while the cold, snowy weather rages outside, until you can go for your first springtime jog.

For assistance in tracking the calories you’re taking in, check out the nutrition tracking features from our friends at MyFitnessPal that are now integrated into the Withings Health Mate app.

Original header illustration by Olivia Campbell

Photo of Bretton Woods by Susie Felber

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