Swimming And Weight Loss

While there are traces of people swimming since ancient times, swimming practiced as a sport developed in England in the 1830s. In India, the Swimming Federation of India was established in 1948. Swimming is now a sport practiced around the world and even a major sport in North America, Europe, Australia, India, and other Asian countries.

While we all enjoy splashing and lazying around in the pool, we cannot ignore the glaring benefits of swimming. You really really want to lose some weight but the idea of lifting weights for hours after work almost feels like torture?

You're probably already guessing what we're going to suggest next but you ask if swimming is a legit workout? It is a fantastic full-body workout with minimal impact on joints. When you're moving in water, every single movement you make works against the natural resistance of the water itself—every pull, every push, every stroke, and kick, requires effort to pushing the water out of the way. That by itself offers an opportunity for a workout. Club it with a few swimming exercises to lose weight and you’re good to go. The water also has amazing soothing benefits for your mind. Now, does it sound like something you'd want to consider even after a long day of work?

Whether you want to shed those extra kilos or maintain your figure, swimming (together with a balanced diet, of course) is one of the most effective ways to achieve your goals.

Swimming reduces weight and is a highly energy-intensive sport. One hour of swimming at a moderate pace will burn up almost 600 calories! Let's dive right in and understand how to lose weight by swimming.

Best Swimming Strokes To Lose Weight

  1. Butterfly stands on the winner's platform, not only does it tone your entire body, but it also burns those calories away. About 60 minutes of butterfly will roughly burn about 920 calories! That's a lot of calories!
  2. Breaststroke - is the second most effective stroke in terms of getting those calories melted away and also toning your body. An hour of medium paced breaststroke will roughly burn about 540 calories.
  3. Front crawl and Backstroke come in tied for third place! however, this does not mean that they are not as effective, they are used to keep the body in rhythm, while you shed those calories away. An hour will burn you about 540 calories which is still a lot, compared to burning 100 calories running at a medium pace covering 1km.


If you’re swimming for weight loss, the best way is varying your strokes. Don’t be mistaken, doing a few breaststrokes is not enough.

Only sustained effort and regular energy expenditure will help you to lose weight and/or slim down. So opt for regular sessions (once or twice a week) without overdoing it (30 minutes to 2 hour), instead of a long and intensive training session once every three months.

You will be shedding a whole of calories, getting yourself in shape and toning your muscles. And last but not the least you are going to have fun doing it!

Best Swimming Exercises To Lose Weight 

  1. Swimming Exercise For a Flat Stomach

This exercise requires the use of a pool noodle, which makes you float while creating an imbalance in your posture. It is in fact the action of finding your balance that makes your abdominal muscles work the hardest.

With your body vertical and the pool noodle under each arm, stretch your legs out horizontally, before opening them as you breathe in and closing them as you breathe out. Do not touch the floor and do not lie down. You should be positioned as if you were sitting on a chair.

You can vary the movements in the same position. You can also make big or small circles or kick faster or slower.

Frequency: Do two 1-minute sets of each movement followed by 30 seconds of recovery. If you want to up the difficulty level, do 4 sets of 1.5 minutes of each movement at a fast pace, with 15 seconds of recovery.

Result: in addition to getting a six-pack you will also strengthen the inside and front of your thighs.

  1. Swimming Exercise​​​ For Abs

As if four strokes were not enough, there are alternatives to the classic swim strokes to tone your abs. If you want to work your abdominal muscles without falling into a routine, undulating strokes and leg kicks will be your best bet!

Whether on your stomach, on your back or on your side, with or without fins, these leg exercises with a kickboard are very effective at strengthening your abs.

Most important: without exerting too much effort, focus on your hydrodynamics by remaining streamlined, chest high out of the water, while contracting your abs. This will help you to swim faster and work your core muscles, without tiring yourself out.


  1. Swimming Exercise For Toned Arms  

For this exercise, we recommend that you use webbed gloves to increase water resistance. This way, you will get faster results during your aquafitness session.

Standing with your feet together, shoulders underwater and arms outstretched in front of you. Make scissor movements with your arms. When you do the outward movement, try to turn the palms of your hands outward. Similarly, when you make the inward movement, turn the palms of your hands inward.

 Frequency: for a gentle session, do two 1-minute sets at a medium pace, with 30 seconds of recovery. For a more active session, perform four 1-minute sets at a fast pace, spaced out with 15 seconds of rest. In both cases, try to alternate a set with small scissors and another with larger scissors.

Result: this exercise mainly strengthens the arms but also the upper back, pecs and shoulders!


  1. Swimming Exercise For Toned Legs

For this exercise, we recommend that you use webbed gloves to increase water resistance. This way, you will get faster results during your aquafitness session.


Standing with your feet together, shoulders underwater and arms outstretched in front of you. Make scissor movements with your arms. When you do the outward movement, try to turn the palms of your hands outward. Similarly, when you make the inward movement, turn the palms of your hands inward.

Frequency: for a gentle session, do two 1-minute sets at a medium pace, with 30 seconds of recovery. For a more active session, perform four 1-minute sets at a fast pace, spaced out with 15 seconds of rest. In both cases, try to alternate a set with small scissors and another with larger scissors.
Result: this exercise mainly strengthens the arms but also the upper back, pecs and shoulders!


  1. Swimming Push-ups for toned Chests and Shoulders

Replace the floor with the pool side. Perform the push ups while standing in the pool by the side. Place your hands on the pool edge. Raise your body up and half way out of the water with your elbows bent and then push yourself down again. Hold for 3 seconds before lowering back into the pool.

Frequency: Do atleast 10-20 sets depending on your capability.

Result: You will strengthen your upper body while working on your chest and shoulder.

Safety Measures To Follow While Swimming For Weight Loss

  1. Identify your swimming abilities: Do not cross that

When you swim, do not wander away further or deeper than you think you can handle. Know it where you are comfortable to float/swim. Always read the depth markings around the pool. You can dive in the deeper section if you are comfortable and if you are confident. If you are swimming in open waters, make sure you have enough energy to swim back to the shore.

  1. Protect your skin

Wear adequate sunscreen when you go out swimming with minimum SPF 15. Chlorine and sun are a combination for sunburns. You can also use swimming Suits and other products that help you cover up your exposed skin.

  1. Drink water regularly

Even those you  are cool and in water throughout as you swim, there are chances of dehydration. Hence, carry a bottle of water and have regular sips to avoid dehydration.

  1. Look before you dive 

Ensure that the water is not too shallow and there are no big rocks or sharp objects in the pool as you dive. Diving head first can cause a serious a head injury if the water is too shallow. Look for signboards if in a swimming pool and make sure that when you dive you have someone around you, just in case.

  1. Have the right safety equipment around

Ensure you have a life jacket and a First Aid kit around the pool in case of any accidents or mishaps.

SWIMMING FOR WEIGHT LOSS ACCESSORIES 

1. Swimsuit

It is mandatory to wear a proper swimming costume as you start your swimming practice. A lot of women prefer a one-piece, sleeveless swimsuit as this is ideal for  kicks and strokes with freedom of movement and ease. For men, it is apt to wear tight fit swimming trunks to help with the leg movements. Board shorts are not recommended as they can get heavy and may drag in the water.

MEN'S SWIMSUIT
WOMEN'S SWIMSUIT

2. Swimming Goggles 

Swimming goggles were essential to open your eyes underwater. Opening your eyes helps you build confidence since you're able to navigate your way safely around other swimmers. Goggles are also known to prevent eye infections caused by chlorine and other human waste. Based on your size and comfort level, there are a variety of swimming goggles available to choose from.

SWIMMING GOGGLES

3. Hand Paddles

 Hand Paddles are essential to a swimmer's development. They position the hands and increase the pressure in water. The more the muscular effort in the upper body, the easier the glide on water. They are also essential to your training, whether your goal is swimming for weight loss or perfecting your strokes. Whether you want to improve your technique or gain power to glide or perform weight loss exercises, there exists a type suited to your need.

HAND PADDLES

4. Pullbuoy

To target your upper body and practice your stroke for front crawl, choose to use a pull buoy. While giving you enough buoyancy for your legs, the pull buoy allows you to better your arm strokes without having to concentrate on your kicks.

PULLBUOYS

5. SWIM FINS 

This is an all time favourite equipment and worth every buck. Fins make swimming fast and fun. They not only increased speed in water but also give your legs enough resistance for a full leg workout. Swim fins are best to tighten your thighs and glutes.

SWIMFINS

6. Kickboard

For beginner swimmers, the use of a kickboard helps you focus on your legs and hips and ensures proper footwork as you propel them in water. You don’t have to focus on your arms and can devote all your concentration to your legs.

KICKBOARDS

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 when you’re swimming for weight loss.

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!

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