Is Swimming Good for Weight Loss?

By: Rose Beasley

With warmer weather comes fewer layers of clothing and that makes a lot of people un-comfortable due to a few extra pounds gained during the winter months.  However, swimming is the perfect way to drop unwanted weight, tone up, and enjoy yourself at the same time. This is because swimming is an aerobic workout that helps strengthen the heart muscle, and is easy on your joints too since the water will support 90 percent of your body weight.

In fact, swimming can actually work as both a cardio and a strength activity. The act of swimming will pump your heart rate up causing calories to burn while the different strokes and fighting through the water’s resistance will help strengthen your muscles.  Swimming truly is a full-body workout. Each stroke uses the muscles in different ways so you are constantly using your core to stay up in the water  incorporating  arms, legs, and core equally.

This makes swimming an excellent choice to help you achieve your weight goals.  Also, because swimming can be done year round, it can help keep you from gaining any of the unwanted weight back.  For the someone who is 125 pounds, doing 30 minutes of freestyle can burn 330 calories, butterfly can burn 330, backstroke can burn 240, and breaststroke can burn 300, per a study conducted by Harvard University. For a 185-pound person, those same workouts would burn 488, 488, 355, and 440 calories respectively.

In comparison, a chart from the American Council of Exercise shows that running for 30 minutes can burn 342 calories for a 120-pound person and 510 calories for a 180-pound person. Cycling at an average of 10 miles per hour for 30 minutes can burn 165 calories for a 120-pound person and 246 calories for a 180-pound person.

Basically, in order to lose about two pounds per week, you will need to burn 500 calories a day minimum. You can either eat 500 less calories, exercise to burn 500 calories, or do a combination of both. Thirty minutes of vigorous butterfly in a 130-pound adult burns 472 calories, so swimming is an excellent choice to meet your deficit goals.

However, as with any diet or lifestyle change, it is important to keep in mind that a big part of reaching your weight loss goals is to develop disciplined eating routines with good proteins and lean fats.  Exercise is wonderful for you but can only accomplish so much by itself. So get out there and make a splash this summer. Don't worry about that extra jiggle because the more you swim will equal a more toned and happy you!

This article is brought to you by The Swimming Swan