The best winter sports for burning calories

Get outside, get active and up your winter game with these calorie-burning, cold-weather activities.
The best winter sports for burning calories

Hot chocolate and Netflix might seem more enticing on a blistery, blustery snowy day but it’s time to let go of that line of thinking and embrace your inner child. Jeff Osadec, a Calgary-based applied physiologist who has worked with the national cross country team as well as some members of Team Canada’s hockey team, offers the best activities to enjoy this winter.

Hockey and skating

“Leisure skating is lower in calories because you’re not carrying extra equipment,” says Osadec. “The intensity level in skating is different because there’s a gliding phase.” Calorie consumption increases during the constant start-stop motion of hockey, as it brings up your heart level. Playing can burn between 7 to 10 calories a minute.

Cross country skiing

“The benefits are huge because it’s a full body activity – upper body, lower body and cardiovascular,” says Osadec. “You have core interaction because of the double poling action of planting the poles and pulling it.” It works the rotational stability and flexion extension of the core (bending forward), as well as back muscles and stabilization through the front. It can burn between 7 to 11 calories a minute. Add a backpack to burn more calories.

Even... tobogganing

“You will get a benefit from tobogganing provided you don’t have someone pulling you uphill,” says Osadec. “Walking on an incline has a lot of lower body power, almost like hiking or snowshoeing.” The hiking uphill portion can burn anywhere from 6 to 10 calories a minute, and if you’re pulling others uphill, there’s extra calorie burning there.


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