Adventure, brain4rent, calories burned, cold weather, Family, Humor, New England, resolutions 2014, Seasons, weight loss, Winter, Winter sports

The Cold Weather Burn – Calories and Winter Activities

Hey friends, how’s that New Year’s Resolution working for you? Pretty tough getting outside with winter doing its thing trying to frostbite noses and toeses. And while you’re inside – are you listening to the siren song of that last box of candy canes and stirring up a warming pot of Fluff topped hot cocoa? Or am I just projecting?


Well even if your hand warming wear is a mismatched mitten/glove combo and just the thought of being outside in the cold is tantamount to torture, consider the health benefits of the torture. You can shed some serious LBs in the cold that may make heading outdoors worth the effort.

Haverhill Winter trail hike w dog
Haverhill Winter trail hike w dog

But what the heck should you do once you’re out there? Let the calories be your guide. Calories burned during winter activities range significantly based on your own weight, height, and enthusiasm with the activity and with the vigor with which each is undertaken but let’s forget all that and just use some vague generalities.

Ice fishing bobhouses
Ice fishing bobhouses

Perhaps ice fishing appeals to you, and you want to know how many calories you’ll burn during Fishing, Ice, Sitting. According to Ice fishing burns 58 calories per hour  which means ice fishing compares unfavorably to sleeping. Info at reports that an average man who is sleeping in a reclined position will burn roughly 61 calories each hour (You burn three more calories an hour sleeping than ice fishing!) That same man would, sitting around watching television, burn 68 calories per hour (Must be the remote action). If the man were to spend his time sitting down and reading (a book, not an e-reader), however, he would burn 88 calories per hour (try a hard cover for bigger benefits). And then you must factor in the food and alcohol consumption associated with each activity. So let’s just say the best ice fishing has to offer is to alternately sleep and read while doing it, then you’ll really be in the zone. For more on ice fishing check out this blog post.  8 Things I learned About Ice Fishing in 15 Minutes Atop a Lake in NH                         

Snow shoeing Haverhill
Snow shoeing Haverhill

What about snow removal? We almost all have to do it in some capacity here in New England. Well again it depends on your body height and weight, the weight of the snow and the how many times you stop to yell at the kids for not helping. says shoveling by hand burns 288 calories per hour. Now if you switch to a walk behind snowblower it changes to 202 calories…..slacker.

Sledding, No Sledding Haverhill
Sledding, No Sledding Haverhill also reports on the following activities:

Sledding, tobogganing, bobsledding, luge burn  346 calories per hour

Snow tubing and sliding Haverhill MA
Snow tubing and sliding Haverhill MA

Snow shoeing will burn 403 calories per hour

Downhill skiing 288 calories per hour (guess you need to put in more effort than gravity does to burn calories.)

SkiBradford, Haverhill
SkiBradford, Haverhill

Ice Skating 346 calories per hour

Ice Skating Haverhill
Ice Skating Haverhill

Cross country skiing 346 calories per hour

(c) pic of Middelton Reservoir Ice

But for one of the highest calorie burns consider this:

According to the American Council On Exercise, you may burn about 400 calories an hour from shivering, depending on the temperature and the heaviness of your clothing.

But don’t get too cold. No, I’m not talking hypothermia in its purest form of danger (you know death and all). I’m just pointing out that you stop shivering as hypothermia progresses and therefore lose the weight loss benefit.

Now get out there and shiver yourself into bikini shape for summer!

The beach will be open in no time. Plug Pond Haverhill
The beach will be open in no time. Plug Pond Haverhill

(c)2014 by Alison Colby-Campbell

DISCLAIMERS: I have no medical training; I never even took physiology. This is intended to be a humorous take on winter activities based on the easiest to find rather than the most accurate information available on the internet. I made no attempt to cull information all from one source. Consult with your doctor when developing a cold weather or any weather exercise routine. And for goodness sake don’t stay outside past that point where you’re tired and cold and just want to curl up at the base of a friendly looking tree.

NOTE: All photos with the exception of the ice fishing houses and the plant icicles were taken around my beautiful city – Haverhill, MA .


What Are the Symptoms of Hypothermia?

Signs and Symptoms of Frostbite

Frostbite Symptoms and signs

13 thoughts on “The Cold Weather Burn – Calories and Winter Activities”

  1. No wonder why we gain weight in menopause – no more shivering. How many calories are burned waving a hand fan? I love that snowshoeing burns so many calories; I would love to try that some day. And not much differential in hand shoveling or using a snow-blower. What’s that about? Fun blog, Alison!


  2. While extreme weather conditions (cold and wind) increase the risk of frostbite it appears that certain individuals and population groups appear more resistant to milder forms of frostbite, perhaps due to longer term exposure and adaptation to cold weather environments.


  3. There has been something that I’ve been thinking about this winter and wanted to see if what I suspect is true. So many things about what we ‘know’ when it comes to our human bodies are counter intuitive at times. This has been my 1st winter where I’ve kept to a rather strict diet/lifestyle. My calorie intake has remained pretty much the same for a while now. (Since about Aug 08.) Now here in Fla it’s pretty warm. Most of the time it’s about staying cool over trying to stay warm. However recently a bit of winter did finally blow down here and I noticed that when that happened I started feeling much more hungry than I was previously. To the point that one week where it stayed rather cold I really felt pretty awful. As bad as I had felt when I 1st moved to my new diet. Busy with life when I would mention it to anyone we would talk about how the flu was going around or something to that effect but I knew that that just did not feel right. Instead I formed the theory that the cold weather had shifted my body’s metabolism to a higher rate to keep itself warm. And as a result I was burning more calories than I normally would be. I feel it’s a sound theory but you never know so I thought I’d throw my theory out there for some peer review.


  4. Last winter I got an old treadmill at a flea market for about $10. That combined with a skipping rope and some old weights from a yardsale totally saved me from slipping out of the habit of exercise when its too cold to go out. Even if you just do some yoga in the mornings, it is sooo helpful with circulation, weight gain and other fun stuff associated with thyroid disease. I also take massive doses of B, C and D vitamins as well as Evening Primrose Oil whenever I get a bout of hair loss (unfortunately seems to happen more often in the winter). Most importantly, just stay active and stay positive! It’s easy to feel bummed when the cold months are adding to your symptoms, but its the little things that really help. I try to skip the sugar in my morning coffee and make sure I have a salad every day or doing some morning stretches. Good luck!


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