Sure, there are lots of serious fitness activities that you can do out in the snow. But this winter, we challenge you to be a kid again: Build a snowman, go sledding, start a snowball fight, make snow angels — and we promise that you’ll reap some substantial fitness benefits in the process. And maybe burn a few extra calories laughing, too.
Don’t believe us? Here are some of our favorite snowy activities (for adults and kids alike) and a quick look at how many calories you can burn just from playing around:
1. Start a Snowball Fight
Building a fort, hunkering down, leaping out, chasing your foe, trying to sprint through several inches of snow (while wearing heavy clothes, no less) — a good old-fashioned snowball fight can be quite the workout. If you tire of doing battle, you can turn it into a friendly game of snowy baseball with sticks and snowballs. It’s an aerobic activity that — thanks to all the throwing and swinging — has a great upper-body element. Run around the bases a few times, and you can consider your cardio done for the day.
Calories burned per hour: 320+
2. Build a Snowman
Get creative with the kids and try to design the biggest Frosty on your block. Squatting down to roll out giant snowballs is great for your legs and back. And let the carrot you use for its nose remind you to cook up something healthy and delicious when you go back inside.
Calories burned per hour: 224+
3. Go Sledding!
What goes down that hill must come up that hill. Repeatedly hiking up a slope with a sled in tow will blast some serious calories, up your cardio capacity and strengthen your glutes all at the same time. The great part is, you’re never thinking about getting a workout — you’re just getting ready for your next chance to fly back down to the bottom.
Calories burned per hour: 448+
4. Ride Your Bike
If you’ve got a fat-tire mountain (or snow) bike, find an open area with super-packed powder and go for a spin. You’ll get all the physical benefits of cycling — plus a little extra, because riding on the uneven surface of trodden snow requires more of your core and stabilizing muscles.
Calories burned per hour: 544+
5. Shovel Snow
We know what you’re thinking: Weren’t these activities supposed to be fun? We hear you. But if you’ve got some warm layers, a pair of earbuds and a pick-me-up winter playlist to keep you motivated (and maybe even dancing), digging through those piles of white on your driveway can be pretty meditative while you burn calories. This solid total-body workout might even make you sore (in a good way).
Calories burned per hour: 384+
These calorie counts are based on a 140-pound person, so “your results may vary,” as they say. But regardless of the number, our point is this: Get outside. Play with your kids. Or reveal your inner child for yourself — you’ll have a ton of fun, and keep healthy and active in the process.
Have a great time out there!