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Calories burned in Cold weather walking vs Warm weather walking

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Im just wondering if there is a difference in the amount of calories burned walking at different times of the year.

Temp. today was 18, not sure what the windchill was but we were dressed in our Cross country ski clothes.  After a 30 min walk we were more winded than normal....we were winded and thats not normal. LOL

I, personally, think you would burn more cals in the winter. 

Does anyone know?  Is there a difference in the amount of cals burned?
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ok I answered my own question :)


Here is the answer I FINALLY found for anyone that is interested.

Do I burn off more calories exercising in the cold?
Cold weather itself does not increase calorie needs. (And remember: the weather can actually be tropical inside your ski outfit or running suit!) Your body does use a considerable amount of energy to warm and humidify the air you breathe when you exercise in the cold. (For example, if you were to burn 600 calories while cross-country skiing for an hour in 0 degree weather, you may use an estimated 23 percent of those calories to warm the inspired air.) But you use the heat you generate with exercise to warm the air you breathe and prevent your lungs from getting chilled. Hence, you might not sweat as much. But, you don't burn extra calories--unless your body temperature drops and you start to shiver. In the summer, you would have dissipated this heat via sweat.
You may, however, burn off a few more calories to carry extra clothing. Athletes who lug around heavy clothing and sports equipment--skis and ski boots, heavy parkas, snow shoes--do burn more calories. For example, the Army allows 10% more calories for the heavily clad troops who exercise in the cold. But winter runners or race walkers generally wear minimal heavy clothing...
&nbps; If you are too scantily clad (or have little body fat) and your body becomes chilled, you will need more calories to stay warm. For example, scantily clad research subjects who exercised in the cold (14 degrees F) burned 13% more calories than when they performed the same exercise at room temperature--about 450 vs 400 calsories per hour.
thanks for sharing :)
The weather inside my coat lately has been anything but tropical. Brrrrrrrrrrrr!
LOL I know what you mean!  Only thing was We both felt very dehydrated. 

I am skeptical of this answer on several grounds.

There seems to be some confusion between the concepts of burning calories and dissipating (removing) body heat.   Whether it is warm or cold outside, if you generate body heat, that heat will be dissipated either through cooling the skin via sweating (warm weather) or warming cold breaths of air (cold weather), or both.

If the body is cold, we have several choices:  increasing our activity to generate heat (burning calories) or shivering - will cause us to burn more calories.  Putting on warmer clothing, or moving to a warmer environment, will decrease the need to burn extra calories to stay warm.

That said, I too would like to see a more scientifically accurate answer to this question. 

I agree with the "answer" in post #1, and don't see much/any conflict with that in post #5. Combining the two:

The cold itself doesn't affect much, but the fact that it is cold might affect what you do in response. As long as you aren't shivering, the calories burned are just dependent on your total weight (body plus clothing) and how fast that you go. If you go faster than normal because you think that you might get cold, you burn more calories. If you go slower than normal because you are overdressed, and overheating, you burn less. At least that is how it works with running. There are some small additional details like the physical hinderance of the clothing you wear, and maybe you tense your shoulders more in the cold, etc.

I would guess that you walked faster than normal to generate some extra heat or to "get it over with" faster, which would mean that you burned more calories than usual and would explain why you got winded. On the other hand, plenty of people wouldn't want to breath deeply in the cold air, so they might go slower, wear more clothes to stay warm enough, and end up burning less than their usual workout. Your breathing rate and oxygen consumption are closely associated with your calorie burn rate.

As an anecdote that you may find interesting:  This winter, I did a race right up (and back down) the snow packed runs at a ski resort (wearing traction devices on the feet). It was around 30F. The winner wore short running shorts, no hat, and no shirt! His oxygen consumption is so high that he stayed plenty warm. Most of us "lesser" humans wore thin tights on the legs, and a short sleeve shirt. No one wore a hat, but it was nice to have an ear band at the start (which ended up in your pocket).


edit/add: In paragraph two, when I said that you may have "burned more calories than usual," I was assuming a walk of the same length of time (not necessarily the same distance) as usual. I should have said that your cal/hr burn rate might have been higher, because you may have been putting out more effort than usual. That is kind of a critical point that I left out.

Oh my, a reply comes, 7 years later! I was really hoping for a different answer because it's been so horribly cold lately, but... I found this article in the New York Times, here's a quote:

Yes, caloric expenditure will increase if one stays lightly dressed, but not much, said Wayne Askew, director of the division of nutrition at the University of Utah. A more effective way would be to walk up and down a few flights of stairs, he said.

So basically, the additional expenditure is so marginal it's probably not worth the suffering. Personally, I'm going to keep exercising indoors until the weather is no longer polar, brrrr.

There's also further discussion of this same study here, via the Huffington Post.

Hope this helps! 



7 Replies