An average person who swims consistently for an hour can expect to burn more than 500 calories on average and in some cases upwards of over 750 calories depending on the intensity of your swimming. That is a tremendous amount of calories to burn in such a short amount of time that not many other aerobic exercises can burn that much.
While swimming can offer a lot of great benefits for someone looking to lose weight, however if you’re not careful you may fall victim to some of the drawbacks you can encounter while swimming. That is why I have outlined some of the most powerful benefits swimming provides and how you can prevent yourself from falling victim to some of the drawbacks you may encounter. This way, you can maximize your results if you decide to include swimming into your exercise routine.
The Power of Swimming to Burn Fat
There are many benefits swimming provides that other aerobic exercises don’t. It is because of these benefits that swimming can become a very efficient way to accelerate weight loss. Some of these benefits include:
- Resistance – Swimming provides additional resistance that other aerobic activities do not have. This is because water is much more dense to move against than air. This resistance requires you exert more force to move the same distance in water versus on land which results in your body having to burn additional calories to keep it. This is part of swimming’s secret as to why you can burn so many calories swimming.
- Different Types of Swimming – While swimming, you aren’t just stuck into one type of way to swim, you have access to many types of swimming poses that each provide various intensities. It is because of this sheer amount of choice that helps prevent an aerobic exercise like swimming from becoming dull quickly.
- Branch Out of Swimming – While in the water you don’t have to just swim. Many people take up water aerobics or pool running to switch things up from your traditional “swimming laps around the pool” approach. These other types of water activities can also be very effective in accelerating fat loss.
- Balanced Workout – When you do typical aerobic workouts such as running, your workout focuses exclusively on your legs. Swimming encompasses the use of all of your muscle groups to work in propelling you forward. This is advantageous in that it provides a much more balanced workout that gives all your muscle groups an even workout.
Things to Keep in Mind if You Swim
While swimming can be an excellent aerobic exercise that can assist in burning fat, there are a few disadvantages it can bring along with it that can destroy any results you are hoping to get. Luckily, these disadvantages can quickly disappear if you know what to look for and how to prevent them from happening.
The main disadvantages are:
- Water Temperature Affects Hunger – When swimming, it is important that you pay attention to the temperature of the water. If you find the water chilly, then you may find yourself more hungry. According to a study conducted by the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, published in February 2005, food intake increased in participants who swam in cold water versus neutral water by 41%. The study also saw no noticeable increase in the levels of energy expenditure between the two groups. This is why it may be more beneficial to swim in warmer water as all it takes is to give into those food cravings to completely wipe off any results from your workout. Who needs increased food cravings, as it is already hard enough to ignore them when they aren’t amplified.
- Poor Way to Expend Heat – If you swim in cold water your body will also be quicker to re-adjust its metabolic rate which results in fewer calories burned after working out. This is a problem because what typically happens after a workout is your body spends a lot of additional energy after the workout cooling you down. If you’re swimming in cold water then you will counteract the heat that is expending from working out and your body doesn’t need to spend energy to cool itself down.
- Hunger Strikes Again – Let’s face it, whenever you’re done with an aerobic exercise you get hungry. Well, swimming amplifies this hunger more than other aerobic exercises which if you’re not careful, can easily make you gain all of that weight back in no time. This is amplified even more in cold water too, as noted above.
As you can see, it is almost as easy to fall victim to some of swimming’s shortcoming as it is to experience its benefits. Don’t let that discourage you though, as swimming is a very powerful aerobic exercise for weight loss that you should at least consider.
So what do you think about swimming? Have you found it beneficial to include it into your exercise routine? I personally prefer to swim from time-to-time during the warm months of spring and summer to change things up in my exercise routine.