Archive for December 8th, 2011

Winter Calorie Burn

Today’s Boston Globe reports the following (their source:

  • A half-hour of snow shoveling burns 206 calories, slightly less than running 2 miles at 5 miles per hour.   (Caveat: shoveling can trigger a heart attack, so if you have a history of heart disease you should avoid this activity and/or consult your physician)
  • If there’s no precipitation, 30 minutes raking leaves burns 135 calories
  • A mere 30 minutes on the sled burns 234 calories, more than 20 minutes jumping rope — and sledding is a lot more action-packed.
  • In just 20 minutes of wood chopping, you can burn 138 calories — 36 more than you’d burn in 20 minutes of moderate calisthenics.
  • Even though you’re sitting on a snowmobile for the most part, a mere 25 minutes of this activity will still burn about 78 calories.
  • An hour and a half of cross-country skiing burns 1,160 calories. If you’re more the downhill type, fear not: Two hours on the slopes burns 1,188 calories the fun way.
  • Spending 45 minutes ice skating burns 256 calories, nearly the equivalent of 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer.
  • 45 minutes of housework burns 148 calories. Add on 15 minutes of mopping duty, an additional 77 calories burned, and you’ve burned 225 calories in an hour. A half hour on the stair step machine only nets you 13 more calories burned.
  • An hour and a half of shopping burns 242 calories. But if you’re speed-walking (4 miles per hour) around the mall, tack on an extra 526 calories burned. All of which equals a grand total of 769 calories burned, more than the 715 burned in 90 minutes of low-impact step aerobics.

I was kind of disappointed that neither the Boston Globe nor included snowshoeing, so I looked it up on

  • Snowshoeing burns 551 calories per hour.

That said, I cannot vouch for any of these figures’ accuracy.  Indeed, various sites quote different numbers for identical activities (,, etc. etc.), but the point is, you’re definitely burning calories when you are active in the winter.

Here is the really good news:  the more you weigh, the more you burn.  All the above calculations were based on a 150-lb person. Using the snowshoeing  example above of the 551 calories burned by a 150 lb person, a 175 lb. person will burn 643 calories, but a 125 lb person will burn “only” 459 calories.

For once, it pays to be fat!  Take that, you Skinny Minnies!