Which Winter Activities Give the Best Calorie Burn

Don’t let the cold winter weather stop you from getting active outdoors. Winter activities have aerobic and anaerobic elements to them. Simply put, you are getting a cardio workout from elevated breathing and heart rate, while at the same time enhancing muscular strength by using leg muscles, engaging core, etc. Keep in mind, though, reduced temperatures can cause your muscles to be even tighter. This requires a longer warm up routine before engaging in these outdoor activities. Use warm up techniques such as round the world leg swing, lunges, arm circles and dynamic hamstring stretches to loosen up your muscles. Once you’ve completed your warm up, try some of the following activities for a fun workout!

Here is where you may want to round up some family or friends and hit the ice!A good game of ice hockey burns 549 calories per hour,  and ice skating burns 504 calories per hour. These types of activities not only burn calories, but also lead to better balance and coordination.

Snowshoeing, will help you burn about 576 calories per hour.  If you love to explore scenic views, this is for you! There’s no doubt this activity will get your heart rate pumping. Another advantage of this sport is that it’s considered low-impact and easy on the knees; therefore, you can enjoy this at any age.

Cross country skiing gets you gliding in at 576 calories per hour. You are getting an upper and lower body workout without one single muscle group being over stressed. This means you can endure this activity longer!

Downhill skiing takes you in at 432 calories an hour. You are engaging all your muscles with this sport. To start off, you’re in a slight squat position the majority of the time. Hello, leg workout. Your core is engaged as well, maintaining balance and giving your abs a workout .

Who doesn’t love sledding, especially after burning 468 calories from having pure fun? Most people enjoy the ride down the hill so much, they don’t realize the calories they’re burning from, keeping their core engaged for balance on the way down, and then walking back uphill.

Now, you may not all like this one, but I wouldn’t be so quick to pull out the snow blower the next time we have a snow storm. Shoveling snow can burn up to 400 calories an hour! However, be careful. Bend your knees when lifting snow to avoid back injuries. If you have heart issues, you may want to “pass the shovel” on this one. Shoveling is considered a strenuous activity, so take breaks when needed.

One of the key steps to having a blast outside this time of year is being dressed properly for the occasion. The right amount of layering makes for the proper amount of heat and ventilation your body needs to endure your outdoor activity.

You want to dress in layers, with your inner most layer sending moisture away from skin and toward outer layers. Synthetics such as polyester and polypropylene are best for the inner layer. This inner layer should not be constricting, but on the snug side.

The middle layer will continue to send moisture away from the body. Opt for a quality fleece. When fleece gets wet, it still holds onto insulating properties. It also dries quickly.

The outer layer of your clothing is where the excess moisture will escape. Keep in mind, if it’s dry outside, choose a lightweight and soft shell. These are great for wind resistance aswell. Wet conditions call for a waterproof shell.

Lastly, don’t forget to protect your head, hands and feet!


Lori Cipolla, Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist. She is a Figure Athlete, wife, mom of 5 children and Advocare Advisor. She can be reached at www.stayfitmomof5.com and [email protected]

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