10 Winter Exercises to Burn Calories

Did you know that walking in packed snow increases the calories you’ll burn by 60 percent, compared to walking on a paved road?

According to Bill McCardle of Weight Watchers – “Walking in soft snow triples the calories burned because the snow provides resistance, compared to walking at the same speed on a treadmill.”

And it’s fun for all the family so no leaving the kids at home while you run to the gym. Just bundle up and get outside at one of our Ontario Cottage Rentals and explore!

Here’s ten great ideas to get those cheeks rosy, exhilaration soaring and (in most cases) calories burned!

1. Sledding

All you need here is a toboggan with a rope, a hill, maybe some kneepads and a helmet, and you are off. Finding the right hills is the tough one as this is what the locals know and they aren’t often advertised. If you are renting a cottage in ontario, we would love to help you out with some ideas.

Expect to burn: 120 calories in 20 minutes

2. Cross Country Skiing

For pure tranquility and the best of our winter wonderland, there is little to beat a few hours on the trails. This is an easy sport to learn – take a lesson or two; rent skis, boots and poles, and you are on your way. Many ski areas have rest huts where you can get hot chocolate to warm up at the end of the day. Bliss!  Arrowhead Provincial Park has trails for all levels of expertise and offers ski rentals. Kawartha Nordic – just 2 hours from Toronto is another great location for a day of cross country ski magic.

Expect to burn: 500 calories per hour

3. Dog Sledding

Take part in or watch this great activity and you’ll be hooked. Ontario boasts some of the biggest dog sled events in Canada, and some of the best places to experience sledding firsthand. Try a moonlit outing with Winterdance in Haliburton.

Expect to burn: 525 calories per hour

4. Snow Shoeing

This is such great exercise, and the best way of getting into deep snow country in winter. This is the way the early settlers got about – no 4WD or snowmobiles for them – so you can really experience what it must have been like. This is also the best opportunity to see winter wildlife.

Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Snowshoeing

Expect to burn: 500 calories per hour

5. Snowmobiling

There are thousands of kilometers of snowmobile trails in Ontario so whether you have your own, or rent one for the day, you won’t be short of a trail to blaze. Try a snowmobile safari where everything is provided for you, even a guide, or rent a machine and go it alone.

Snowmobiling builds a strong core, requiring strength and flexibility to maneuver on the trails. In fact, the average person can expect to burn about 238 calories per hour while snowmobiling.

6. Ice Skating

Perth Skate Trail

Outdoor skating is exhilarating at the best of times, and even more so when it is on the longest skating rink in the world. A 7.8 kilometre roadway of ice in the heart of Canada’s capital, Ottawa’s Rideau Canal offers fun for all the family. And it’s free! Newly opened for 2023 is the Peterborough Historic Lift Lock Skating Trail! If you can’t get to Peterborough or Ottawa, we’ve curated a list of 7 Outdoor Skating Trails in Ontario

Expect to burn: 500 calories per hour

7. Ice Fishing

If you ever saw Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in ‘Grumpy Old Men’ you’ll remember the ice hut scenes. Ontario’s ice-covered lakes brings this to you! Most of the larger lakes have ice hut rentals, so you can fish in comfort! But better still, rent an auger, take a couple of fold-up chairs, some hot chocolate, and your fishing rods and drill your own hole in the ice. That’s what will use up your calories. Fishing isn’t the biggest calorie burner but factor in walking across a frozen ( and often snow-covered) lake and you’ve got some burn.

8. Downhill Skiing/Snowboarding

Even though we are a little short on mountains, there are plenty of places to have a great day, or half-day on the slopes.  Every area of cottage country has it’s own ski hill from Sir Sam’s in Haliburton to Mount St Louis Moonstone near Orillia or Lakeridge in the southern Kawarthas.  For beginners, or those wanting to just have a fun few hours, these are good spots to get your snow on.

Snowboarding burns up to 580 calories per hour

9. Just Fun in the Snow

Just getting out and having fun with a snowball fight or a walk with the kids looking for animal tracks can be exhilarating in winter. Breathing the cold fresh air, trudging through a snow drift or two, creating snow angels or building an igloo will get your heart rate up and have you feel like you’ve had an hour in the gym (but without the sweaty others and the constant hum of TV).


Sometimes winter is best experienced from indoors. When the snow is coming down in bucket loads and the world is mostly white, the best thing may be to curl up in front of a log fire with a good book.

But, when you do this after a couple of hours in the snow, it feels so much better.

Find Your Perfect Winter Cottage

Check out some of our winter cottages here. Most of them have an open fire, some have a hot tub and the majority are pet-friendly so you can bring along your furry friends – just don’t forget their booties!

CottageLINK Rental Management
Email: info@clrm.ca
Toll Free: 1-866 323 6698

Our Hours:
Mon-Fri 9-5
Sat-Sun 9-5

Business Address:
PO Box 39036
Columbia PO, Waterloo, ON, Canada N2T 0A7

Email Sign Up

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.