Burning Off Super Bowl Calories Is No Walk in the Park

Walking off game day calories might take longer than you think.

ByKATIE MOISSE, ABC News Medical Unit
February 4, 2011, 6:02 PM

Feb. 7, 2011— -- Although the Green Bay Packers led from the start, a close trail by the Pittsburgh Steelers made the 45th Super Bowl one to remember.

But memories aren't the only thing that will linger after Sunday's game. Long after the empty pizza boxes and beer cans have been tidied up, the extra calories consumed by many in the spirit of Super Bowl will turn into extra weight unless they're burned off.

"Super Bowl parties should be fun but the biggest mistake people can make is to overindulge and never attempt to work off the extra calories," said Molly Napolitano, Senior Health and Fitness Expert for GlobalFit, in a statement to ABC News.

To put Super Bowl Sunday's energy imbalance in perspective, GlobalFit compiled a list of typical game night foods and calculated how long it would take to walk them off. One slice of cheese pizza: 3,000 steps. A singular buffalo wing with blue cheese dip: 2,750 steps. One light beer: 1,200 steps.

"Many aren't aware how many calories they consume at parties," said Napolitano. "It's a slice of pizza, a couple chicken wings and a beer, then a handful of chips with dip and another beer. Before you know it, you've eaten two full meals and just watching the halftime show has you exhausted!"

It would take a 13,050-step (roughly five-and-a-half mile) walk to burn off Napolitano's example of typical game night fare -- that's almost the length of 100 football fields.

Consider Pennsylvania's Primanti Bros. sandwich: At 775 calories, it would take a 3.9-mile walk to burn off the ham, cheese and French fry-laden treat. And a three-mile walk would have you barely breaking even after a handful of Wisconsin cheese curds.

"What you will find is that it will take a lot more exercise than most people expect to burn off one of these monster meals," said Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center.

In his book, "Nutrition in Clinical Practice," Katz outlines some common activities and the calories they burn per minute. Walking burns up to four calories per minute. But jogging can burn up to 12.5 calories per minute, rising to 50 calories per minute for a faster-paced run.

It can be difficult, though, to get out for a run or even a walk in February -- especially this year. Luckily, shoveling snow can burn off 12 calories per minute -- 12.8 if you're digging your car out of a snow bank.

Feel Full Without Getting Heavy

Despite the calorie overload, dredging up the energy to burn off Sunday's excess might be a struggle -- especially for mourning Steelers fans. But making smart food choices can help keep the post-Super Bowl sluggishness to a minimum.

"I would suggest foods that fill you up on very few calories, and those are foods high in volume, water, fiber, and low in most other things," Katz said, adding that vegetables, fruits, soups and stews are a good choice.

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