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Ice fishing can help you reel in health and happiness. Trout’s honour!

by | Jan 14, 2020 | Activity

It may not feel like exercise, but an afternoon of ice-fishing can burn around 1,250 calories. That’s like jogging or swimming for more than two hours! Swimming, of course, does NOT mix well with ice-fishing. Let’s leave that to the polar bears…

Turns out it’s easy to get active and healthy by going ice-fishing. Here’s how it’s done:

Walk for the win

A brisk walk to an ice-fishing hole or hut burns about 400 calories per hour. If you’re pulling a sled laden with gear, delicious healthy snacks and a beer or two, that number can climb quickly. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy some fresh winter air and frosty natural beauty? 

Shovel, drill, repeat

Once you’ve arrived at your ice-fishing spot two activities typically await: Shovelling snow off a patch of ice, and drilling a hole in which to wet your line. Snow shovelling burns around 500 calories an hour, as does using a hand auger. Then when you move to new spots, and drill new holes, the active benefits only increase!

Ice-fishing itself burns nearly 150 calories per hour, so if you spend four hours on the ice, take an hour to clear and drill six holes, and spend 30 minutes hauling a sled, you’re up to around 1,250 calories. Not too shabby!

Get your vitamins

Eating your catch is great for your health, as fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Catching some rays while ice fishing gets you more than just a face tan. (If it’s really sunny, make sure to wear sunscreen to avoid snow burn — unless looking like a raccoon is your thing.) Sunlight provides Vitamin D, a nutrient that helps your body absorb calcium, with calcium and Vitamin D working together to help you maintain healthy bones and teeth.

Up your mental game

From watching a bobber for signs of a bite to scanning the ice for prime drilling spots, ice fishing requires plenty of focus and awareness. On one hand, this can help take your mind off day-to-day worries, and in turn reduce anxiety, fight off depression, and aid relaxation.

Cast, reel, repeat

Repeatedly pulling or reeling in a line strengthens the muscles in your hands, wrists, arms and shoulders — especially if you’ve got a bite! As well as helping you pull in fish, those toned arms will turn all kinds of sexy heads. 

You know what else burns plenty of calories? The fun that can come from those sexy looks! 

Got any nifty ice-fishing tips? Share them in the comments below!

If you’re thinking about fitting easy exercise into your day, we’ve got your back.

Download “The 10 Minute Man Workout” ebook right now.

This article is made possible by the support of generous sponsors.

The Robert and Viktoria Little Foundation logo
Government of British Columbia logo
Public Health Agency of Canada | Agence de la santé publique du Canada logo

Adam Bisby
Adam Bisby

Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two who has been covering men’s health for more than 20 years. As well as researching and blogging for Don’t Change Much since 2015, Adam’s award-winning work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines such as Explore, Reader’s Digest and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN and Toronto.com. Visit Adam’s website for more information on what he does.

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  1. Avatar

    Great article , it really “caught ” my interest as an avid ice fisherman.
    Is it possible for me to repost this on an ice fishing forum here in Ontario – http://www.lakesimcoeoutdoors.com
    There is around 7,000 viewers and members that would get a real kick out of this and some good advice on the associated health benefits …..It may be a good reason also to convince our better half’s to let us fish more and get in tip top shape. >))))))*>

    • Timothy

      Hi John, Thanks for reaching out. We love your comment! I’ll reply back re your request via email. Thanks John


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