Most probably, swimming may not be at the top of your list when it comes to activities that can help you lose weight. Weight training, yes. Running, definitely. How about swimming? Is swimming around really a serious fat burner?
According to primary care sports medicine physicians, a long-term exercise plan for weight loss should at least include cardiovascular exercise, which could feature swimming. Stacy Caprio, a former swim coach and Red Cross water safety instructor, points out that “swimming is one of the best activities you can do to tone and slim your entire body.”
Besides providing excellent cardiovascular benefits, swimming is particularly useful for people with hip, knee, or ankle arthritis. Other forms of exercise, like running or walking on a treadmill, put a lot of pressure on the joints. On the contrary, swimming can be a welcome change since you only use your back muscles to propel you and your arms and legs to stay afloat.
Here is what makes swimming a fundamental exercise for slimming down, plus some simple tips for swimming to lose weight.
6 Tips on How to Lose Weight Swimming
- Start Your Day with a Morning Swim
Jump-start your day with a morning swim. The early morning swim, combined with the soothing rhythm of the strokes, has a noticeable relaxation effect, much like a meditation. Experts approve that eating a light meal or snack is safe before swimming. Make sure you don’t hit the pool on an empty stomach.
- Incorporate Strenuous Swimming
Picking up the pace and running a mile burns more calories than walking the same distance. The same applies to swimming; strenuous swimming burns more calories than swimming slowly and steadily. Experts suggest developing a structured plan, perhaps working with a coach or swimming with a group, to push past mental and physical barriers to swimming harder and faster.
- Vary Your Swim Route to Keep it Interesting
Your weight-loss efforts may plateau if you swim with the same level of intensity for weeks or months. This often makes it difficult to remain motivated in the long run. Swimming repeatedly at the same pace over the same distance could also produce boredom. It would help if you kept alternating your swim routine to keep things interesting in the water and break through weight-loss plateaus. For example, you may mix in a lap or two, during which you swim as fast as possible in the middle of your usual routine. You may as well choose to have occasional races with a partner.
- Add a Swim Class to Your Routine
Take a swim class to learn or brush up on proper techniques if you are new to swimming or used to swimming but are rusty in your strokes. This can help you to be more efficient and get the most from your aquatic workouts.
- Swim as Often as Possible
No rules dictate how many times you should swim as part of a weight-loss effort. What’s clear is that the recommended amount of exercise to maintain good health is at 75 minutes of strenuous exercise each week or at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, or a combination of the two. You can attain your minimal cardio by swimming three to five times a week for 25 minutes or more, depending on whether you’re going at a strenuous or moderate pace.
- Evaluate Your Dietary Habits
You need to be mindful of your eating regimen if you are swimming to lose weight. Remember that reducing calorie intake while engaging in a regular swimming routine can help you drop pounds. Dietitians recommend cutting down or eliminating high-calorie processed foods, such as cookies, candy, cakes, and processed meats. Instead, increase your intake of healthy foods, such as beans, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fresh fruits. Always be conscious of portion control, even with whole foods, because calories count.