Swimming is often considered as a fun and recreational activity but did you know that it is also considered as one of the best workouts that you can do if you want to lose weight?
Regardless of whether you are practicing your strokes at a competitive level or at a leisurely pace, you’re already giving your body a thorough workout.
If you haven’t thought about using swimming as part of your workout regimen, here are a few reasons why you should.
1. It burns calories
You can actually burn more calories when you swim compared to running or walking.
A person of average built can burn around 400 to 500 calories in an hour of swimming at moderate intensity.
2. Tones the muscles
Your body is thoroughly exercised when you swim specifically your glutes, shoulders, legs, arms, and back thus giving them more muscle tone.
3. Increases motivation
Since swimming requires you to wear as minimal clothing as possible, you will be motivated to work out harder in order to have a great looking body.
4. Increase metabolism
Whatever type of exercise that you do as long as it increases your heart rate and at the same time burn excess calories in your body, your metabolism will also increase.
This is what makes swimming a good exercise to follow if you want to increase your body’s metabolism.
The better your metabolism is the faster you can lose weight.
5. Gives your muscles a work out
The various strokes in swimming require more muscle power which means that every time you swim, you are giving your muscles a thorough workout.
For those who want to increase their muscle mass, you should try high intensity swimming as this can help boost the growth of your muscles.
With these reasons alone, you can already get quite a lot of benefit from swimming.
Regardless of whether you want to lose weight or bulk up, this exercise is worth including in your exercise regimen as it will give you the results you are looking for in no time.
6. Swimming is low-impact exercise
You’re only bearing about 10% of your weight when you swim due to the buoyancy of water.
With greater ease of movement and less strain on bones, joints and muscles, swimming has a lower risk of injury than many other forms of exercise.
7. Swimming improves your sleep
People who undertake vigorous exercise such as swimming are around twice as likely to report on having a good night’s sleep, according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation.
They’re least likely to report sleep problems, with most avoiding problems like insomnia and waking too early.
8. Swimming is sweat-free
As a swimmer, you’ll never get overheated or feel sweaty because the water around you is constantly cooling you down.
9. Lowers disease risk
Not only is swimming kind to your heart and a great form of cardiovascular exercise, it’s also shown to control blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and reduce levels of bad cholesterol in your blood.
So by swimming regularly, you’re less likely to develop illnesses like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
10. Boosts your mood
Another study shows that swimmers, no matter what level, are less prone to tension, depression, anger and confusion when they’ve been swimming.
It means that novice and amateur swimmers can feel just as good as the pros, thanks to the release of feel-good hormone serotonin.
11. Reduces stress levels and raises self-esteem
According to a survey of 4000 swimmers undertaken by Speedo, 74% agree that swimming releases stress and tension, 68% say that being in the water helps them to feel good about themselves and 70% feel mentally refreshed after swimming.
How Long Do You Have to Swim to Lose Weight?
Swimming is an activity that can aid weight loss.
The U.S. Masters Swimming website notes that swimming has the added benefit of providing a total cardiovascular workout.
How long you’ll need to swim to get thin depends on your weight, how fast you swim and the swimming stroke you use.
According to personal trainer Alice Burron, M.S., an exercise physiologist and spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise.
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.
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.
Freestyle is a fan favorite because it’s easy to learn and it burns major calories.
But it pays to mix things up. “Using various strokes balances your muscles and helps beat boredom,” says Shinofield.
Two to try are backstroke improves your posture by working your back and shoulder muscles) and breaststroke (it uses the hip and inner-thigh muscles, which are often missed in other workouts).
Get the most from each stroke by following this advice from Shinofield:
Backstroke Eyes up. Look straight up at the sky or ceiling—not at your toes, which causes your hips to sink—so your head is in line with your spine.
Make a Y. Reach back with each arm at a 45-degree angle to your body; it places less stress on your shoulders and makes your stroke stronger.
Breaststroke Sweep through. Reach your arms overhead, palms together.
Rotating your palms outward, pull down until your hands are nearly level with your chin. Bring your hands inward by your chest, then reach again.
Whip it. Bend your knees and bring your heels toward your butt. Turn your toes outward and kick your legs back and together (like a frog) as you extend your arms forward.