6 Winter Activities that Burn Serious Calories

By Noah Henry  •  October 18, 2013

Winter is generally synonymous with warm fires, hot chili, and cuddling up in your sheets while the freezing cold passes. Outdoor exercise is usually an afterthought. While the fat builds up as you dream about your someday escape to Aruba, you yearn for the days when you could step outside and get some exercise whenever you wanted.

Fret not! Many winter activities we call fun burn serious calories and we don’t we even know it. You don’t have to begrudgingly “get through” winter; you can take it head on. Here are six winter activities that’ll lose you some poundage just in time for some much-needed sunbathing.



Snowshoeing burns more calories than walking or cross-country skiing. It builds strength, ability, balance and endurance. You may stumble like a doe learning to walk, but boy, does it build those legs. Dr. Ray Browning of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado says, “It’s the most bang-for-your-buck, fat burning workout in winter.” In fact, snowshoeing burns between 420 and 1,000 calories per hour—twice the amount walking at the same speed.

It’s not 1832 anymore; those massive wooden snowshoes are a thing of the past. Sports Authority’s POWDERIDGE Men’s Crest Snowshoes1 are built for deep powder and icy terrain, and only $99.95. The Medium Swagman Snowshoes2 from Overstock come at a bargain price of $48.99.



If you don’t like sledding, then reassess your life. The aerobic effort resulting from uphill climbing burns 400 to 500 calories if you’re 150 lbs. It’s also a fun way to burn calories with your whole family. Don’t have a family? Call up some buddies and reminisce. It’ll make you feel like a kid again!

The Pelican Youth Mega Snow Runner1 costs a mere $24.99 at Dick’s Sporting Goods. If you do indeed have a family, go with the Paricon Flying Saucer Sled pack at After School for $34.91. Just don’t apply a non-choleric silicon-based kitchen lubricant to the bottom of your sled like Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation.



Why does every winter activity start with an s? Ice skating makes this list for obvious reasons. It can burn up to 500 calories per hour. Ever since the Fins invented ice skating some 4,000 years ago, it’s been a staple for good clean family fun. Most major cities have rinks in wintertime, and many of them let you rent out skates. But if you don’t want to slip your toes into some muggy sweat-ridden rentals, Dick’s Sporting Goods sells top-notch skates at extremely fair prices.

1. LP200 Figure Ice skates - $38.99

2. Lake Placid Women’s 6000 - $44.99

3. DBX Blade Skates - $29.99


Skiing & Snowboarding

Quick—go to your favorite mountain. Whether you ski or snowboard, there’s no judgment here. Both equally burn 500 calories. While it may be a bit expensive to continually make this your fitness go-to, there’s nothing better than catching some powder and shedding some weight simultaneously.

1. K2 Press Skis - $182.99 (Evo)

2. Super Hero Line Skis - $152 (Evo)

3. Emsco Free Ride Graffiti Plastic Snowboard - $39.99 (Dick’s Sporting Goods)

4. Rossignol Contrast Midwide Snowboard 161 - $139.99 (Moosejaw)   


Snow Shoveling

The fun factor may go down a notch, but it’s a job someone has to do. If you need a reason to workout, while getting some extra work done, snow shoveling absolutely destroys 200 calories every 30 minutes. The neighbor snow-shoveling kid may be out of work, but that’s what he gets for soliciting. Bend at the knees, lift with the knees, and pack some muscle on your knees. Remember to stretch beforehand.


Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is a lost art, relegated to Eskimos and rugged mountaineers in need of lunch. Ice fishing burns 400 calories per hour. What? Don’t believe me? It has to do with drilling a hole, hiking to the destination, and waiting out in cold temperatures (which boosts your metabolism). You may lose a lot of calories but you more than make up for them with the beers you smash.

Noah Henry Noah Henry Noah Henry is an amateur movie critic, foodie, bowler, and beer reviewer. But he's no amateur when it comes to saving money, so listen up!

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