Calories Burned During the Most Popular Winter Sports

cross country skiingIt’s winter and most of us are buried beneath a few feet of snow so it’s tempting to want to hibernate inside and feast on comfort food. But fast-forward a few casseroles and cups of hot cocoa from now and it’s swimsuit season.

If the marshmallows suddenly just dropped from your hands, fear not. Winter sports can seriously torch calories and give your body a great overall workout. Plus, with the Winter Olympics upon us in just a few days, you’ll be inspired to lace up your skates or polish off your ski poles, don that cute winter hat and get moving!

Here is a list of the most popular (and fun) winter sports and the calories burned in one hour of performing each of them. These figures are applicable for a 150-pound female, so your specific calorie expenditures may vary according to your weight and age.

  • Downhill skiing: 594 calories
  • Cross-country skiing: 773 calories
  • Sledding: 405 calories
  • Snowshoeing: 600 calories
  • Snowmobiling: 234 calories
  • Building a snowman: 272 calories
  • Ice skating: 342 calories
  • Shoveling snow: 400 calories
  • Snowball fighting: 315 calories
  • Mall walking: 333 calories

Just be aware that shoveling snow is associated with increased heart attack risk, even for those who are healthy. The risk stems from the immediate pressure the activity places on the heart as it increases heart rate and blood pressure in a very short period of time. This effect is further aggravated by the cold weather, which makes it harder to breathe as the blood vessels constrict in reaction to the colder air. So play it safe, check with your doc first and take it slow.

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