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Is swimming a Good Weight Loss Workout?

 Is Swimming A Good Weight Loss Workout?

Cardio exercise is one of the most common components of weight loss success, as you already know. However, if you've been relying on traditional methods like cycling and running, you might want to switch things up and try swimming.

"Although swimming appears to be difficult and frightening at times, it is one of the best cardiovascular workouts anyone of any age can do," says Kris Gagné, a Life Time senior swim coach and a USA-registered and ASCA-certified swim coach. "It's an aerobic workout that strengthens the heart muscle, and the water supports 90% of your body weight, so it's gentle on your joints."

Swimming, in fact, can be used for both cardio and strength training. Swimming raises your heart rate and burns calories, while the various strokes and fighting against the resistance of the water help to strengthen your muscles.

Trying a new workout routine can be difficult, to say the least. Here's everything you need to know about swimming for weight loss and how to maximize your swimming workouts.


What are the weight-loss advantages of swimming?

Swimming can help you lose weight by increasing your heart rate and toning your muscles, according to Gagne. Swimming is a total-body workout, with each stroke utilizing different muscle groups. It incorporates arms, legs, and core equally because you're constantly using your core to stay up in the water.

According to a Harvard University study, swimming for 30 minutes burns 330 calories, butterfly burns 330 calories, backstroke burns 240 calories, and breaststroke burns 300 calories for someone weighing 125 pounds. Those same workouts would burn 488, 488, 355, and 440 calories for a 185-pound person, respectively.

Running for 30 minutes burns 342 calories for a 120-pound person and 510 calories for a 180-pound person, according to a chart from the American Council of Exercise. Cycling for 30 minutes at an average speed of 10 miles per hour burns 165 calories for a 120-pound person and 246 calories for a 180-pound person. Swimming, without a doubt, ranks among the best cardio exercises.


Is swimming an effective way to reduce belly fat?

Swimming is a great way to lose belly fat because it is a full-body workout. However, Gagne cautions against concentrating on "spot training," or working only one body part to lose weight in that area, especially since your body composition and genetics can influence where you store fat. (You also have no control over where fat is lost first!) Swimming, on the other hand, can help you lose weight, which will eventually lead to a loss of fat in general, including belly fat, and certain strokes work the abs particularly well.

Swimming engages a variety of muscles throughout the body, but butterfly, backstroke, and breaststroke will engage your core more when it comes to targeting specific areas. The more you engage them, the more work you're doing to build leaner muscle in that specific area "Gagne agrees. Nonetheless, he observes, "Making sure you're eating a healthy, well-balanced diet to complement all of your hard work is the best way to help you lose belly fat."


To lose weight, how much swimming do you need to do?

The good news is that, especially if you're new to swimming, you don't need to start with much. "At first, going three times a week for 30 minutes will be very beneficial," Gagne says. "You'll discover that you're using muscles you weren't even aware of."

However, it's important to remember that eating at a calorie deficit is a big part of losing weight, so you should ideally be eating fewer calories than you're burning. Using an online calorie counter and visiting the Compendium of Physical Activities site is a good way to calculate the calories burned while swimming.

This website uses METs, which are defined as the ratio of your metabolic rate while performing a specific activity to your metabolic rate at rest. According to the CPA website, your MET can range from 4.8 to 13.8 depending on your stroke and intensity. You can estimate how many calories you burn per activity by using the calorie counter and entering your body weight, MET, and duration.

Basically, you need to burn 500 calories per day to lose one to two pounds per week. You can either cut 500 calories from your diet, exercise to burn 500 calories, or do both. Swimming can easily help you meet your deficit goals. Thirty minutes of vigorous butterfly, for example, burns 472 calories in a 130-pound adult.


What does a beginner's swimming workout entail?

While freestyle is widely regarded as the quickest and easiest stroke to learn, Gagne advises beginning with breaststroke. "I begin with this one because it burns a lot of calories and allows newer swimmers to keep their heads above water at first, at least until they gain confidence. they gain confidence in their swimming and breathing technique."

Gagne recommends swimming slowly for 30 minutes three times a week to begin, and then gradually increasing speed or time spent in the pool after four weeks. Once you've gotten the hang of swimming for 30 minutes, try this swim interval workout:

  • Warm up by swimming four lengths of the pool slowly (with a maximum of 25 breaths between each length)
  • Swim five lengths at a moderate pace without stopping.
  • Continue swimming at a high intensity, or as fast as you can, for another five lengths.
  • Cool down for two lengths slowly.

"As you learn more strokes, you can mix up your swim workouts to target different parts of your body," she says "Gagné agrees. "The more you swim, the faster you'll be able to cruise—it just takes some practice."


How can you increase your swimming calorie burn?

Swimming can help you burn more calories in a variety of ways. When you're looking for a more challenging workout, try these suggestions.

  • Boost your resistance. In the water, you can add resistance by using flippers, resistance bands, or buoys. Anything that makes it more difficult for you to kick and stroke through the water will help you gain strength.
  • Alter the direction of your stroke. The type of stroke you use also matters, with studies showing that the butterfly stroke burns the most calories, followed by the breaststroke, backstroke, and freestyle. Because an hour of butterfly is difficult to achieve, Gagne suggests combining all of the different strokes. In your workouts, aim to do your harder strokes for a minute or two at a time, then switch to freestyle as an active recovery when you're completely exhausted.


  • Intervals should be included. Swimming with HIIT intervals can help you burn more calories because the faster you go, the more difficult the workout becomes.  According to research from the American College of Sports Medicine, a 155-pound person swimming freestyle fast for an hour burns 704 calories versus 493 calories swimming at a slower pace," Gagne says. Intervals will help you swim faster because you won't be able to swim that fast nonstop. For example, swim as many lengths as you can as quickly as you can for 30 seconds, then take a 30-second break. Breaking up your workout into sets of specific intervals allows you to keep a faster pace and better stroke form, which will help you improve your performance and burn more calories.
  • Working out with a swim coach is a good idea."A swim coach can also assist you in developing a workout plan that includes breathing exercises so that you can gradually increase your time and speed over the course of a few months," says the author. Gagne says, adding that this will result in more calories burned in the pool. "Getting started is probably the most difficult part," Gagne says, "especially if you're not an experienced swimmer." A coach, on the other hand, can help you overcome your fears and hesitations so that swimming becomes a fun, go-to workout for you.


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