The Burn

Ask ten people why they exercise and you’ll get ten different answers.

For me? Hard to pinpoint. I know it’s good for me, it gives me confidence in myself and it’s something I can do with others, or alone depending on how I’m feeling or what I need to do.

Being part of a group of runners – West End Road Runners – has left its mark. I didn’t think for one moment that a running club would be any more than a place to get some coaching and maybe improve my racing times.

It does all that! But in addition I now know people from all walks of life with amazing stories, experiences and insights. I’ve managed to become a slightly better runner and also gain a different, wider perspective. Like a multivitamin for the soul!

But this week I’ve been doing something else. I’m taking the opportunity to ski again. Something that I’ve loved for more than 40 years. Reminds me of home. Of my father, my brother and sisters. Something that Shonaidh and I can do together.

I wore a Garmin. I wanted to understand how skiing stacked up against running in nerdy charty data terms. The answer? No comparison. Even hard skiing – pushing myself far away from the well groomed pistes – barely registers.

And that got me thinking. Using calories burned per hour, a fairly good indicator of exercise intensity, what activity gives you best bang for your buck?

The Mayo Clinic has the answer having studied 39 sports to determine calorific burn per hour. Skiing? For all the speed, adrenaline, technology, it burns the same energy as… golf. Around 315 calories an hour. Both sports are the energy burn equivalent of a brisk walk.

Cross- country skiing? Almost 500 calories an hour. Other highlights? Tennis 584 calories an hour, roughly the same as rock climbing.

And running? 12 minute per mile pace burns off 606 calories an hour. Vigorous lap swimming will flare off 715 calories, football 752 calories.

At the very top of the list? Running at 8mph will burn 861 calories an hour, almost three times more than skiing or a brisk walk.

The thing is that it’s all good. Being in the mountains right now feels amazing. A big walk with the dogs is great too. But running? Incredible eh?

The image by the way is of Frank Klammer. He was a proper skier. Watch this! Franz Klammer Innsbruck Olympics 1976


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