Does Swimming Aid Weight Loss?
Swimming is one great and fun exercise. Sometimes, it’s so much fun that we forget that it’s a form of exercise. It is indeed an exercise, precisely a low-impact aerobic exercise that can be highly effective in solving some of our health disorders. When you regularly engage in swimming, you will be working on your body posture and muscular development. Swimming also improves your lungs’ capacity, flexibility, and mood. There are many benefits associated with swimming including weight loss. But, does swimming really help you to lose weight? Let’s find that out now.
So, the short answer will be “yes”. Swimming can actually aid weight loss if you do it right. There are some guidelines you will have to follow if you want to burn some fat while swimming. Being an aerobic exercise, if you want to use swimming to influence your body weight, you will have to do it almost at your fastest heart rate. Swimming with an increased heart rate will help you burn more calories. You will use swimming, at a recommended heart rate, as a procedure for achieving your goal. If you’re wondering how you can calculate your heart rate correctly while swimming, here’s how:
Firstly, determine your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. So, if you are 35, you will subtract 35 from 220, which is equal to 185. So, at 35, your maximum heart rate is 185. For you to burn fat properly as you swim, you will need to maintain a heart rate between 60% and 80% of your maximum heart rate. At 35, that will be between 60% and 80% of 185, which is between 111 and 146 BPM. To get the right heart rate, you are advised to wear a heart rate monitor to keep track as you swim.
How to Lose Weight by Swimming
Initially, you can try swimming for about 60 minutes 5 days a week. If this is tedious or you are a beginner, you may start with 30 minutes of swimming 3 days a week. The more comfortable you get with the swimming technique and your breathing, the higher you go with the time and days until you get to 60 minutes for 6 days in a week.
You must continue this until you are fit enough to swim for an uninterrupted 20 laps. As a good swimmer, it would be easier for you to lose weight just by sticking to the heart rate average that is required with interval swimming. For instance, you may choose to swim three laps at a go and then finish a separate lap slower than the other three laps before taking a 30-second break. You can immediately repeat this set after the break. If you continue this for 60 minutes, your body will mobilize the fat. You are free to use the different swimming strokes to keep your swimming lively. It doesn’t really matter which swimming stroke you use, it’s all good if you keep it engaging and at the prescribed heart rate.
5 Swimming Strokes for Weight Loss
The technique is key in competitive swimming, and it’s the same situation with swimming as an exercise for keeping fit or burning fat. So if you don’t get the swimming technique right, you may get exhausted faster and might not lose much weight either. We will look at five swimming strokes which will help with burning some extra calories and losing weight.
The freestyle stroke is also known as the front crawl, and it is one of the fastest types of swimming strokes. This swimming stroke is usually employed by athletes during swimming competitions. These are the steps to take to use the freestyle stroke:
- When you get into the water, you should float with your palms and face down, your arms will be extended and bent slightly.
- Drag your right arm towards your thigh in a semicircular movement from the starting position, and keep it in line with your body. Your right hand should then leave the water, and as you do so, make sure that it is bent a little at your elbow, with your palm facing down. You then stretch forward and use your fingertips to enter the water again.
- As you are following the previous step, you should turn your face towards your right and breathe in. Then, as your fingertips dive into the water, you should turn your face down. You will do the same thing with your left side too. Keep your legs straight with both feet moving up and down to move forward.
This is also called the back crawl, and it is a much slower swimming technique. It is more relaxed than the freestyle stroke. Here’s how you go about it:
- You will float on your back with pointed toes, straight legs, and arms extended over your head. You are to look up with your face above the water and both palms facing upwards.
- You then keep your right arm underwater. Make a semicircular motion with your arm and push the water backward using your palm before recovering your arm from the water.
- As soon as you recover your right arm from the water, dip your left arm under water and repeat the process of your right arm.
- You keep repeating the process and moving forward using both feet to make a flutter motion.
This is an equally engaging and enjoyable swimming technique. It is a useful technique for water gymnastics, and it improves the coordination of your limbs. These are the steps to take when doing a sidestroke:
- You will float with your body sideways and your head above the water looking sideways. Your legs will be kept together and your bottom arm will be extended.
- Use your legs to create a scissor movement; start flexing both legs and moving the top leg forward and your bottom leg backward before taking them back to the starting point in a circular movement.
- Use your bottom arm as the lead arm that will drag the water from above your head, and your top arm is the trailing arm which will help to push the pulled water downward.
- As your trail arm pushes the water back, your lead arm moves forward to the starting position.
- The combined efforts of both your arms and legs will propel your body in the water.
This is quite effective in burning body fat. The butterfly stroke also strengthens your muscles. Here’s how to go about it:
- Let your body float in the water with your face looking down. Your arms will be slightly bent and extended shoulder-width apart. Both palms will be facing down with your body flat on the water.
- Drag your arms down with your elbows in a higher position than your hands, then move your hands in a semicircular movement towards your body.
- In a sweeping motion, recover both arms out of the water and allow your hands to enter the water again just like before.
- Each time your arms come out of the water, breathe, lift your chin, and look straight. Keep both legs together and kick downward with your toes pointed.
- The first kick should be small after your arms re-enter the water.
- Use your feet like a mermaid.
Our last swimming technique, the breaststroke, is also known as the froggy stroke among kids. They think it makes you swim like a frog. Let’s check out the steps now:
- You start by floating in the water with your face down. Keep your body flat with arms extended over your head, and both palms (closer to each other) facing down.
- Turn both palms outward and pull the water from above your head to your chest. Keep your arms straight as you do all this. Fold both arms back as soon as your palms get to your chest level before moving both arms to the starting point over your head.
- Ensure to lift your head in intervals in order to breathe systematically.
- Stretch your arms forward and exhale slowly through your nose and mouth as you dip your head into the water.
- Keep both feet together and toes pointed.
- To move forward, use your legs and feet, pull your heels to your glutes, point your toes toward your shins, and kick the water backward.