When it comes to exercising for weight loss many of us tend to assume the only way to do this is sweating it out on a cross trainer or a running track. However, swimming is actually just as effective as any other type of weight loss activity and also places less stress on joints and bones. You’ll not only burn calories at an impressive rate but swimming also helps to build and tone muscle too.
How does swimming help you to lose weight?
- The movement required for swimming is a form of cardiovascular exercise that will automatically trigger the body to start burning calories. In the water there is also the added benefit of resistance – muscles have to work harder to propel your body through water, as opposed to air, so you can see more intense results than you might from a workout on land.
- Swimming is a full body exercise. Whereas you might target individual muscle groups when you opt for exercise such as running or weights in a gym, swimming works the entire body. So you’ll get new muscle definition everywhere and you can target this with different strokes. For example, butterfly will focus on arms, chest and shoulders.
- You’ll start burning calories straight away and notice a loss of body fat quickly. Depending on the stroke that you opt for you can burn 350 – 400 calories in just 30 minutes of swimming, compared to 100 calories for a swift walk in the same period of time. Plus, most people start to see the benefits within just a couple of months.
- Swimming has other advantages too. For example, one study of middle aged women swimming three times a week for an hour each time found that, as well as a reduction in body fat, the women also had better endurance, increased flexibility and lower levels of cholesterol. Another study found that regular swimmers tend to lose more weight around their middle than those doing exercises like walking. This is because swimming can be used to target core muscles (e.g. with flutter kicks).
- You’ll be able to stick to your exercise regime. One of the key reasons that weight loss attempts fail is often as a result of injuries from working out too intensely or in the wrong way. Swimming is much gentler than many high impact exercise options, such as running. Hips, feet and knees, in particular, will suffer much less.
- The more effort you put in the more weight you’ll lose. If you opt for vigorous swimming for an hour every other day you could lose three or four pounds in a month, depending on your body and other factors, such as what you eat.
- Make swimming work for you. Breaststroke and freestyle are the simplest strokes to begin with. It’s crucial to get your breathing right, as if you don’t this may make swimming feel a lot harder than it needs to. You can switch up your sessions with different strokes and also add in intervals to boost the number of calories you burn per session.
Swimming is a great way to tone up and lose weight without the risk of injury that many other activities have.