Swimming is a sport or workout that engages many muscle groups of the body. Guess you have heard or read somewhere that you can lose weight by swimming. You should be wondering how to swim for weight loss.
It is not complicated just a matter of the right intensity, correct diet, and right swimming strokes. When you learn how to swim for weight loss, you will have a relaxing, fun yet productive workout that will burn off the fat as swimming has a huge potential for weight loss.
Is swimming a good way to lose weight?
Although it may not be top number among the activities to do for weight loss, swimming is a great fat burner.
Water is 800 times denser than air and that’s why you get a harder time moving your body in water than on the ground. Basing on this fact, swimming challenges your body with every kick, push, and pull.
Swimming can tone the upper body, lower body, and the core all at the same time since it involves many different muscles. While swimming, one burns calories as it uses up energy and gets your heart pumping fast.
I also wonder if you sweat when you swim. Whether you sweat or not, swimming gets you burning calories. A simple and relaxed swimming can help you burn 500 calories in an hour while a more intense workout can burn up to 700 calories during the same period of time.
While swimming, you also get to tone muscles and get you leaner muscles. Lean muscles boost your metabolism which in turn helps to burn more calories thus weight loss.
How to get the best out of swimming for weight loss.
To get the best results out of swimming for weight loss, you should do the following.
Don’t stick to one swimming stroke, always switch up.
Using the same speed and technique will get the body used and it will not be more challenging for weight loss.
Switching up techniques will challenge the body more often and different swimming techniques target different muscle groups and thus whole-body fat loss.
2. Swim 4 to 5 days a week.
If its leisure once in a while can be enough. However for the sake of losing weight, the more the physical activity the more weight lost.
Therefore 4-5 days a week can help you achieve weight loss by swimming.
3. Swim at a high intensity.
Swimming at a slow intensity or pace will be able to burn calories as you start swimming practically when you are a beginner. But as your body gets more flexible and used to swimming, that pace will no longer be challenging.
To get the best results, one should swim faster and harder to get your heart pumping at a high rate. With this intensity you will continue losing weight without hitting the plateau.
4. Watch your diet.
During weight loss, workouts are always accompanied by proper meal plans for weight loss. Swimming is no exception and it needs a good meal plan that supports weight loss.
Swimming uses a lot of energy and thus if you are making a diet plan consider strength-giving foods that are low in calories.
You should eat healthily to provide the body with the right nutrients yet staying within the calorie boundaries you can burn.
If you are wondering how to make a meal plan, here is an article I wrote that will guide you on How to make a weight loss plan.
5. Start out slow.
The ugly move pulled by many beginners is exhausting themselves with workouts on the first day. This is wrong and it may cause injuries when you over-exercise. Intense swimming can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue which may discourage you from swimming the next day.
You can start with 15-20 minutes of swimming then gradually increase to 30 minutes and more as you get more flexible and stronger.
It is also important to have resting days to allow the muscles to heal up and recover from the intense exercises. Advisably, 4-5 days of swimming per week are healthy and beyond that may be harmful.
6. Get enough sleep.
Sleeping will help your body to heal and get rest from the workout soreness and stress on the body. Aim at having at least 7 hours of good sleep in order to achieve a weight loss.
More so, sleeping helps with weight loss as the body will be able to burn calories as you sleep after a workout.
Learn more about how sleep can help with weight loss by reading this article. The article shows you how you can use sleep to lose weight, and how sleep can help you to lose weight. These two sound similar but they are not; read for yourself.
7. Swim in the morning before breakfast.
If the pool is accessible, swimming in the morning before breakfast will make the body use fat stores for energy thus weight loss.
8. Use body weights for more challenging swimming workouts.
Swimming may not be as challenging as you want it to be weeks after you have got used to it. Adding on body weights like ankle or wrist weights can give your body a more challenging workout which is the essence of weight loss.
9. Swim with floats or life vest in your early days.
If you are a beginner learning how to swim, it is better to use floats which will keep you on top of the water.
This will help to prevent drowning as you learn to swim.
What you will need for swimming and their uses?
Basically, swimming will not need a lot of gear to be done. To start with, a swimming cap, training goggles, and a costume can get you started.
Here are my best picks of swimming gears.
What body parts does swimming tone?
Swimming lengthens and stretches your muscles used with the repeated movement. The repeated act of stretching the muscles increases endurance and tones the muscles throughout the body.
The upper body.
On the upper body, swimming engages and tones muscles of the shoulders, biceps, triceps, chest, and upper back.
The breaststroke and backstroke engage more of the upper body.
Swimming engages your abs, hips, and lower back. This means that swimming can get rid of belly fat and expose those abs.
Swimming engages your low body too and targets the muscles of the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. The freestyle stroke engages more of the lower body.
Which swimming stroke is best for weight loss?
Doing different exercises will get your body getting a challenge thus weight loss. For a greater calorie burn, switch up strokes each day. For the best results, try a different stroke every day for a full body weight loss.
Certain strokes are more challenging to a particular body part or section and thus switching up can get your body fat loss as a whole.
- The butterfly stroke is the most demanding swimming stroke, works the entire body, and burns the most calories.
- The breaststroke comes second in muscle engagement and burning calories.
- Backstroke is also a good muscle engaging and fat burning stroke.
On a swimming day, mix up the intensity of your workout for better results. It is recommended to do sprint interval training consisting of sprints of 30 seconds then four minutes of rest.
Repeating the sprint intervals six to eight times can be effective workouts if the sprints are done with great intensity during those 30 seconds.
Switching strokes on a day’s work out is also effective and fun than a monotonous swimming stroke.
How can I burn more calories swimming?
Swimming is an exercise that will make you burn calories and lose fat. But how do you burn more calories while swimming?
Aim at engaging every muscle.
Different swimming strokes engage different muscle groups. To burn more calories and lose weight, change strokes often and avoid swimming only one stroke which you find easy or your favorite swimming stroke.
Switching up will give your body the challenge needed to burn calories and lose weight.
Increase your swimming intensity.
Swimming at the same slow pace every day will not give you the desired weight loss results. Increase your intensity to achieve more from your workouts. A faster swimming pace burns more calories than a slow one.
For instance, a 155-pound person swimming freestyle stroke at a fast pace for an hour can burn around 700 calories. Whereas swimming slowly can burn around 490 calories while swimming slowly by the same person and at the same time.
Do interval training.
Interval training involves breaking your swimming into specific intervals.
Do bursts of intense swimming for a certain period say like 30 seconds. Then take the time of rest by doing slow-paced swimming as you recover and gain more strength.
For example, 5 sets of 30 seconds with 10 seconds of breath rests.
Add equipment to your swimming.
More calories can be burned when you use equipment during swimming. The best equipment to help you burn more calories are fins, paddles, and snorkel. The use of weights also helps you burn more calories as they pose more challenges.
You can try other exercises while in water.
Try something different in the pool far from swimming for example you can do aqua running or jogging. A moderate jogging in water burns around 550 calories in an hour and works all your leg muscles.
On days you don’t feel like swimming, you can choose to jog or play a water sport.
How much do you have to swim to lose weight?
Swimming for weight loss requires regular workouts. There is however no exact measurements of how long you should swim in order to lose weight.
Different people burn calories differently due to different variables. Weight, rate of metabolism, individual diet, and rate of workout all influence weight loss differently in people.
In order to estimate how much you need to swim for weight loss, you should first know your calorie-burning target.
However, on average, swimming burns up to between 500 to 700 calories per hour. But with high intensity, more calories can be burned.
Fitness experts recommend at least 30 minutes of swimming which is 2.5 hours a week if done within 5 days. This is the least time you should swim in order to lose weight.
Foods a swimmer should eat for weight loss.
Swimming uses a lot of energy and thus you should eat energy giving foods, proteins to build and repair the body plus other vitamins and nutrients essential for a healthy body.
There is no special diet for swimmers but rather a healthy eating of nutrient-dense but low-calorie foods.
A swimmer for weight loss should eat the following;
- Whole grains like millet, whole rye, brown rice, wild rice, whole wheat
- Lean proteins. like beans, greek yogurt, eas, poultry meat, lean beef, pork loin.
- Fruits like kiwi, apple, grapes, drupes, berries, bananas, avocado, and passion fruits.
- Leafy greens like kale, spinach, cabbage, watercress, microgreens, turnip greens, endive, swiss chard
The bottom line.
Swimming is a workout that will help you lose weight as well as making you healthy. While swimming, many major muscle groups of the upper body, lower body, and core are engaged.
This makes swimming a more healthy exercise you should do. However, you should note that swimming alone will not help you achieve weight loss but rather important tips in articles below;
19 best foods for muscle gain that are low in calories
Things you should know about exercise vs diet for weight loss