5 Ways to Burn Major Calories in the Snow

5 Ways to Burn Major Calories in the Snow

Find out how a layering of snow can turn the outdoors into nature’s gym!

By Wendy Robinson

“Again, Mama! Again!”

We were at the top of a steep, snow-covered hill, bundled up to our eyeballs and enjoying the simple fun of sledding on a cold winter day. Our neighborhood park was filled with the sounds of children shouting as they threw snowballs, as well as the quiet whish, whish of cross-country skiers gliding past on their way to what is usually a jogging path.

I took a deep breath and waited for my heart rate to slow down a little. I had forgotten what a workout sledding can be, especially when the hill is steep and you are in charge of hauling 33 pounds of 2-year-old back up with you.

According to several estimates, an hour of sledding can burn a whopping 500 calories, more than enough to justify a big mug of hot chocolate afterward! Below are some other great ways to burn major calories when the snow is piled high:

1. Cross-Country Skiing: Not only is this is a terrific way to enjoy the beauty of nature in the cold months, your legs will get a great workout and you can burn 550-900 calories an hour, depending on your weight and intensity level.

2. Snowshoeing: This is a great winter sport that doesn’t require lessons or too much in the way of costly equipment (you can find an entry-level pair of snow shoes for under $100) and still lets you burn some 600-700 calories an hour.

3. Shoveling Snow: OK, this one might not be fun, but since you have to do it anyway, isn’t it nice to know that the hour you spend shoveling your driveway and sidewalk can burn around 450 calories?

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4. Ice Sports: Whether you are indoors or on a natural rink, playing hockey or practicing your figure eights, slipping on your skates and getting out on the ice can burn 500-800 calories in an hour.

5. Walking: Taking a brisk walk on or through the snow increases the normal calorie burn of your walk by 60 percent as your body has to work harder to stay warm and the extra resistance of the snow leads to more work for your muscles, which can help you firm and tone.

Of course, no matter what you choose, you should always make sure you are dressed appropriately. Shivering might burn a few more calories but frostbite is never fun!

Which outdoor activities do you enjoy in winter?

Wendy Robinson is a writer, working mom, and graduate student. Someday she'd like to sleep in again. She also blogs at www.athleticmonkey.com.

Image ©iStock.com/Maridav

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