Is Swimming the Fastest Way to Slim Down?

Can swimming help you lose weight and just how many calories will a good swim burn? We take a look at how swimming can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

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Swimming slims

Swimming helps lose weight, burn calories and puts little stress on your body. Swimming works all the major muscles, and will tone you up and slim you down!

Slim and fun

You can train to swim at a competitive level or you can enjoy a few healthy lengths at your local pool; you decide how much you want to achieve in swimming and set your own pace. Whatever level you choose, swimming is good for you and it's never too late to learn or improve your swimming skills. A relaxing form of exercise means weight lost by swimming is fun too!

Where to swim

Many public pools now offer swimming combined with aerobics , (aqua-aerobics), to help lose weight. This is high impact aerobics without the high impact. Aqua-aerobics (or swim-nastics) will help to shed those pounds, and tone you!

What are the benefits of swimming to aid weight loss?

  • Swimming burns calories, so helps you lose weight and swimming for weight loss has been regularly praised for its cardiovascular health benefits, especially for older people. As swimming uses so many muscles in your body, your heart and lungs must work hard to supply them all with oxygen. This means that swimming will give your cardiovascular system an excellent workout.

  • Any exercise that makes you breathe a little heavier is good because it means your body is working hard! As your heart and lungs get stronger you will be able to go for longer before you get tired, your resting heart rate will decrease and blood pressure will lower.

  • Regular swimming when losing weight will improve your health and may reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.

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Can swimming improve your figure and muscle tone?

Swimming is known to be one of the best all round aerobic exercises because it works all the major muscle groups so targets every area of your body.

There are 4 main strokes to choose from:
  • Freestyle
  • Breaststroke
  • Backstroke
  • Butterfly

and you can tailor your swimming sessions to exercise specific areas of your body.

Swimming provides constant resistance exercise as you are battling against the water to propel your body forward. This makes it excellent for increasing strength especially in the upper body.

As your swimming progresses you will build muscle which in turn burns fat. So calories will be burned as you swim, plus you will burn more calories as your swimming improves. You will also burn an increased amount of calories even after the exercise is finished as your body uses energy to recover and rebuild muscle tissue.

Due to the nature of the movement when performing swimming strokes it can aid in improving the flexibility of the muscles and joints.

Can Swim help slimming?
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Slim while you swim?

Swimming is an activity that can aid weight loss. It has the added benefit of providing a total cardiovascular workout. How long you’ll need to swim to get thin depends on your weight.

Weight Loss

Because 3,500 calories equals one pound, you’ll need to burn 3,500 more calories than you take in to lose one pound, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cutting 500 calories from your daily diet would do the trick. But exercise, along with cutting calories, will accelerate weight loss. The CDC recommends at least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as swimming, per week. After you reach your weight loss goal, regular swimming will help maintain your weight. The National Weight Control Registry, a database of people who’ve lost an average of 66 pounds and kept it off for at least five years, reports that 90 percent of people who successful lose weight exercise an average of an hour a day. Finding a physical activity you enjoy, such as swimming, is important because you’re more likely to do it consistently, resulting in weight loss.

Calories Burned

The CDC states that a 154-pound person burns around 510 calories by swimming laps for an hour. If you don’t change your diet, you’ll need to swim laps for about seven hours to lose one pound. The more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn. If you weigh 200 pounds, you’ll burn around 637 calories by swimming laps for a hour while a 240-pound person would burn around 763 calories during an hour of swimming laps. Because swimming uses virtually all of the body’s muscles, it can erase just as much body fat as land-based exercises. In a University of Utah study comparing exercise in water to walking on land, overweight women who swim four times a week for 40 minutes slim down just as much as women who walk the same amount of time at the same intensity level.

Swimming Strokes

Different swimming strokes burn different amounts of calories, influencing how long you need to swim to lose weight. If you want to get maximum calorie burn for the time you spend in the water, use the butterfly stroke. This difficult stroke, which uses a dolphin-like kick and windmill arm motion, will burn around 150 calories in 10 minutes for a 160-pound person. After the butterfly stroke, the freestyle stroke, also known as the front crawl, burns the most calories. Because the freestyle is the easiest swimming stroke, it’s the most popular one used for fitness and weight loss. The breaststroke and backstroke are other swimming techniques that burn lots of calories, equivalent to a fast walk or slow jog for the same amount of time. The more you swim using a particular stroke, the faster you’ll improve your technique and the more calories you’ll burn.

Tips

To up your calorie burn and lose more weight, it is recommended interval training. Swim as fast as you can for a lap, then swim the next lap at a more relaxed pace. By increasing your workout intensity, even if only for short spurts of time, you’ll increase the calories burned and raise your metabolic rate so you’ll continue to burn calories even when at rest. Consider wearing a bathing cap. It will reduce resistance in the water, allowing you to increase your swimming speed and burn more calories. The U.S. Masters Swimming website recommends using a variety of strokes to break up your routine and help avoid boredom. Try using fins, hand paddles and kickboards to add variety to your water workouts too. Start slowly and gradually increase your endurance until you can comfortably swim for 10 to 30 minutes without stopping to rest. If you swim regularly, you’ll soon reach your weight loss goal and see a slimmer you.

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