According to Harvard Health Publishing, a 125-pound person can burn around 180 calories shoveling snow for 30 minutes whereas, for someone weighing 180-pound, the number of calories burned shoveling snow could be 266 or even more depending on various factors such as your exact weight, the intensity at which you are working, and if you are doing it manually or using a snow blower.
Want to know exactly how many calories you can burn clearing snow from your driveway or roof? Use our calories burned shoveling snow calculator to get a more personalized estimate. Our calculator is not a mere calorie estimator. It is based on a tried and tested scientific formula, which is more accurate than basic calorie calculators. Read to find out more about the formula we have used and the factors that determine exactly how many calories you can burn shoveling snow.
📖 Related Article: Love skiing during winter? Who doesn’t? It is not just fun but also a full-body strength plus cardio workout. Find out how it can help you lose weight by using our calories burned skiing calculator.
Calories Burned Shoveling Snow Calculator
The scientific formula used in our calories burned shoveling snow calculator
The formula we have used is-
Calories burned per minute = (MET X body weight in kg X 3.5) / 200.
This is the same formula that we have used in our calories burned skiing calculator.
Just in case you are wondering, we haven’t come up with this formula. We chose to use it because it is the most popular and the most accurate formula (1) used worldwide to calculate the number of calories burned during various activities using their MET value.
MET value of snow shoveling
Metabolic Equivalent of a Task is the ratio of the metabolic rate of a person in a working state and resting state. When you are lying the MET value is 1. It increases as you start getting up and doing things. MET value of sitting is 1.5, standing is 2, and brisk walking is approximately 3.5. The MET value of a task is not fixed. It increases with intensity.
For shoveling snow, the MET values are:
|Activity type||MET Value|
|Snow shoveling by hand with moderate effort||5.3|
|Snow shoveling by hand with vigorous effort||7.5|
|Snow shoveling by walking and pushing a snow blower||2.5|
|Riding a snow blower||3|
|Raking the roof||4|
As obvious from the table above, shoveling snow manually burns the most calories. And, to maximize your effort, you should use good quality products such as Snow Joe SJ-SHLV20 Shovelution 20-Inch Strain-Reducing Snow Shovel and Snow Joe SJEG700 Spring-Loaded Impact-Reducing Steel Ice Chopper with Shock-Absorbing Handle. These products reduce the impact on your wrists so you can work harder and faster, which in turn will help you burn more calories shoveling snow.
💡 Quick Tip: Looking for a small but effective tool that you can keep in your car so you can quickly clear the snow from the windscreen? Check out Lifeline 4017 Aluminum Sport Utility Shovel. It has a collapsible design so it won’t occupy too much boot space. It is lightweight and specially designed for vehicles.
Lifeline 4017 Aluminum Sport Utility Shovel
Factors that affect the calories burned shoveling snow
Your weight is the most important factor that decides how many calories you can burn doing a certain activity. The heavier you weigh, the more calories you burn. That's because heavier people have to use more energy to move their body against gravity. Our calories burned shoveling calculator will help you determine exactly how many calories you will spend depending on your weight.
📖 Related Article: If you are trying to lose weight but don’t know exactly how many pounds you should lose to reach an ideal BMI, you may be interested in our Reverse BMI calculator.
According to the University of Vermont (2), snow shoveling is one of the most high-intensity exercises you can do. Even if you are shoveling at a very low pace, it could still be too much for your body, unless you are an active person with well-built muscles. If you shovel about 10 lbs of snow every 5 seconds, you would be shoveling 140 lbs per minute! This tough work is not meant for everyone, so go slow and increase your intensity only when your body is ready for it.
If you are not ready for lifting so much weight, you can push the snow using the Snowplow, the Original Snow Pusher. Pushing will be safer, faster, and yet an excellent strength workout for your body.
Type of snow
Lifting light, fluffy snow is easier than hard snow. So, obviously, the number of calories burning shoveling snow does depend on the type of snow you are clearing. But, the difference between the two won’t be much because hard snow is heavy so you will be picking small loads.
This is another important factor that determines the number of calories burned shoveling snow. The colder the outdoor temperature is, the harder your body has to work to stay warm, and the more energy/calories it will use to do so.
💡 Quick Tip: Shoveling snow is a highly challenging task. The chilly outdoor weather can make it difficult for you to get a good grip on the shovel. Products like Ski & Snow Waterproof & Windproof Winter Snowboard Gloves can be of great help. They provide excellent thermal insulation so you would be able to shovel better with warm hands.
Ski & Snow Waterproof & Windproof Winter Snowboard Gloves
How can you burn more calories shoveling snow?
The only way you can do this is by increasing the intensity of your workout. But, as I said, high-intensity snow shoveling, especially when done manually, is not meant for everyone. You need to have a good amount of strength, stamina, and balance. I
If you do not practice strength training regularly, increasing the intensity can make you prone to injury and even cardiac arrest in the worst case scenario. I don’t want to scare you but, as per the latest reports, every year 770 people living in the U.S. seek emergency help for heart-related issues which happened during snow shoveling (3). And, nearly 100 of them fail to survive. 11,500 people suffer from muscle strain and lower back injuries every year due to snow shoveling.
While these figures are frightening, shoveling snow is still an excellent way to get your weekly recommended limit of exercise during winter. If you are determined to utilize your time to get maximum benefit, here is what you can do to burn more calories shoveling snow-
- Keep yourself fit throughout the year. Buy a pair of Titan Fitness adjustable dumbbells and keep doing strength training exercises at least twice a week.
- Before you start shoveling, do a 10-minute warmup, just the way you do before beginning your workout. Warming up your muscles thoroughly will reduce the chances of injuries and strain, so you will be able to do more.
- While shoveling snow, bend your knees and use your glutes to lift the weight. This will take the pressure off your lower back. It will also help you increase your speed, in case you are ready for it.
- Scoop a small amount of snow at a time. Heavier loads may sound more challenging but they reduce your speed and heart rate. Lift only as much snow as you comfortably can. Increase the speed of scooping and shoveling instead of increasing the weight.
- Correct posture will help you shovel faster without risking injury. Learn the techniques from an expert or you can watch YouTube videos for help.
I hope our calories burned shoveling snow calculator helps you determine exactly how many calories you can burn by clearing your driveway. If you are trying to lose weight or if you rather love to know how many calories you spend on a specific day, this calculator can be of great help.
If you have any doubts or suggestions, please leave a comment or email me. Also, keep reading my other articles to learn more about how to stay fit irrespective of your age, gender, and other conditions.
References and citations-
- Metabolic equivalents (METS) in exercise testing– National Library of Medicine
- Shoveling snow– University of Vermont
- Snow shoveling: Healthy exercise or deadly activity?– The Conversation