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Swimming is a fun sport great for health and fitness and yet extremely energy-intensive when practised regularly.
On average, one hour of swimming at a moderate pace can burn between 500 and 600 calories. That’s pretty good already, right?
Not enough? Without further ado, let’s try to organise our workouts to make this number look like peanuts, without necessarily spending more time in the pool!
1. Vary the Strokes
Variety is the enemy of calories! It is of course obvious that the duration and intensity of your session will determine the calories burned. However, diversifying your sessions by changing the stroke, exercise and pace is not very complicated, and contributes tremendously to caloric expenditure. First, it is important not to accustom your body to the effort or it will lose fewer calories than before. Habits can be formed quickly and things can soon become increasingly easy. Moreover, changing the stroke allows you to work all parts of your body uniformly. By alternating three or four strokes during the same workout, you allow all your muscle groups to work efficiently and thus scorch all the more calories.
For information, strokes, which require a intense full body effort and which thus consume a maximum of calories, are the racing breaststroke and the coveted butterfly. Swimming offers you four strokes that you can easily multiply with a very large number of exercises with or without training equipment. Imagine the scope of possibilities!
2. Vary the Equipment
And we really mean it! No point in using the pull buoy, the board, the hand paddles, the fins and the swimming bands, all at the same time! To burn a maximum of calories during your swimming sessions, varying the training equipment is devilishly effective. Wearing fins or paddles (among others) improves the stroke technique and the quality of your movements tremendously. This dynamic awareness of the muscles produces better results in the long term. Further, training equipment adds considerable resistance to the water, reducing your hydrodynamics and hence hindering your movement. Contrary to common belief, this is beneficial for the training, as you will have to redouble your effort to carry out the same movement. And as we know, the greater the effort, the more calories we burn!
3. Vary the Rhythm And Intensity
Changing the intensity, pace and rhythm in swimming as in all sports is a foolproof way to burn a maximum of calories, because your body will have to get used to it quickly.
Rest times are also an important factor. You have two solutions to burn a maximum of calories through rest times. If you reduce them between each series or length, your heart rate will have to adapt quickly and you will burn calories effectively, without necessarily swimming longer.
The best solution however is active recovery. Continued movement allows you to keep your heartbeat at a certain level, which will promote caloric expenditure. One of the most classic means of active rest is the “double arm backstroke”. It helps you to relax your muscles over 50 or 100 metres, by performing scissor movements with the legs and arm cycles with the two upper limbs simultaneously, on your back.
So, remember to add diversity to your sessions! In addition to breaking the routine, if all these conditions are met, you can, at your best form, burn 700 or even 800 calories per hour! Impressive, isn’t it?