The average person burns 400-700 calories chopping wood.
The number of calories burned from chopping wood depends on your weight and chopping intensity. A 200-pound person burns 430 calories per hour chopping logs with moderate effort and 764 calories per hour with vigorous effort. A 140-pound person burns 301 and 535 calories per hour in the same scenarios.
How many calories are burned chopping wood?
Calories burned per minute = (MET x body weight in Kg x 3.5) ÷ 200
“MET” is a measurement of the energy cost of physical activity for a period of time. You can find an activity’s MET on the chart above.
A task with a MET of 1 is roughly equal to a person’s energy expenditure from sitting still at room temperature not actively digesting food.
A task with a MET of 2 uses twice as much energy as a task with a MET of 1. A task with a MET of 10 uses 10 times as much energy as a task with a MET of 1.
MET values “do not estimate the energy cost of physical activity in individuals in ways that account for differences in body mass, adiposity, age, sex, efficiency of movement, geographic and environmental conditions in which the activities are performed. Thus, individual differences in energy expenditure for the same activity can be large and the true energy cost for an individual may or may not be close to the stated mean MET level as presented in the Compendium.” (as quoted from the main page of the Compendium of Physical Activities).
A person weighs 180 pounds (81.65kg) and splits logs with vigorous effort (MET value of 6.3) for 1 hour (60 minutes).
Calories burned splitting logs (per minute) = (6.3 x 81.65 x 3.5) ÷ 200 = 9.00
Calories burned splitting logs (for 60 minutes) = 9.00 x 60 = 540
How to burn more calories while chopping wood
To burn the most calories chopping wood, focus on:
- Chopping more wood
- Chopping faster
- Chopping larger logs
- Using a heavier axe
Sources and more resources
- Ainsworth BE, Haskell WL, Herrmann SD, Meckes N, Bassett Jr DR, Tudor-Locke C, Greer JL, Vezina J, Whitt-Glover MC, Leon AS. The Compendium of Physical Activities Tracking Guide. Healthy Lifestyles Research Center, College of Nursing & Health Innovation, Arizona State University. Retrieved May 11, 2015, from the World Wide Web.
- Arizona State University Healthy Lifestyles Research Center – Compendium of Physical Activities – Lawn & Garden – Provides MET values for lawn & garden activities, including wood chopping.
- Learn about “MET” and the compendium of physical activities from Arizona State University, University or South Carolina, and Wikipedia. There is a summary of general physical activities defined by intensity from the CDC and the Harvard School of Public Health.
- Recommendations on physical activity for health from the Harvard School of Public Health and the WHO.
- Read about the health benefits of chopping wood with “Chop Your Way to a Solid Core” by Daniel Harding Jr. of Men’s Journal, Livestrong, “Woodchopping is the Best Strength Workout You’ve Never Tried” by Nick English of BarBend, “Wood Splitting for Exercise” by Bobby R. Goldsmith of Livestrong, “Chopping Wood a Manlier Feel than Sports” by Jacob Davidson of Time, and “Chopping Your Way to Better Health” by John Cihomsky of Sharp Health Care.
- Learn to split wood with “How to Chop Wood” by Dina Rudick of Modern Farmer, “How to Split Wood” by YouTube’s Art of Manliness, “You’ve Been Splitting Firewood with an Axe Wrong” by YouTube’s CrazyRussianHacker, and “How to Split Wood (With or Without an Axe) by The Manual.