While it's not likely to be an activity you'd sign on to do as a regular "workout," shoveling will definitely add to your effort to burn calories. According to Harvard Health Publications, you'll burn about as many calories shoveling snow as you would lifting weights or using a stair step machine -- and more than you would doing low-impact aerobics.
Calories per Minute
The number of calories you can burn doing any given activity will depend on several factors, including your weight and your exertion level. Harvard Medical School's assessments put the calories burned shoveling snow at the following:
- A 125-pound person can expect to burn 180 calories in 30 minutes, or 6 calories per minute
- A 155-pound person can expect to burn 223 calories in 30 minutes, or 7.43 calories per minute
- A 185-pound person can expect to burn 266 calories in 30 minutes, or 8.86 calories per minute
Remember though that those are averages, and the actual number of calories you'll burn may be more or less. You'll tend to burn more calories when you're shoveling wet snow since it tends to weigh more, as well as when you're shoveling at a faster rate or when you're scooping larger amounts with each shovelful.
As with all outdoor activities, take care to avoid overexertion and injury. To protect your back, bend your knees and then straighten your legs to lift the shovel upward. Also perform a warm-up activity, such as walking or jogging lightly, to get your heart and your muscles ready for the intensity of shoveling.