Does Swimming Help Weight Loss?
Ever wondered whether swimming is a weight loss tool or merely a great exercise to maintain good levels of fitness and joint mobility? Like other low level cardio workout or moderate exercises like walking, swimming too is a great exercise to keep inflammation at bay and also to lower the risk of various degenerative diseases. But does swimming help weight loss?
Usually, when starting a new workout, most people tend to lose weight. This is because the body meets a new challenge and exerts the maximum efforts, hence burning a lot of calories. But over time the body comes up with efficient techniques of taking care of the same activity and therefore the exertion reduces and you burn less calories. So from this point of view, if you’ve just started exercising, swimming is a great workout to lose those calories, and lose weight you will, provided you watch what you eat.
But what about swimming for a sustained weight loss and weight management program? Like walking or light jogging, swimming is very good as a cardio workout and even a wee bit better, because it works out the entire body. But again, like walking, which is great for maintenance by virtue of plain movement, swimming too has the same effect.
Swimming, freestyle (or with the butterfly or breast stroke) can burn up to 350 calories per 30 minutes. But this is with respect to rigorous swimming, and not leisurely swimming, which burns a mere 200-250 calories per 30 minutes. If you add this for an hour, you're burning 400 to 700 calories an hour, which is pretty good. But several factors come into play when your body reacts to an exercise for weight loss. Therefore, the same rules that entail a good weight loss program apply here:
Mix up your workouts – Swimming is a great workout. But for weight loss, you may want to throw in some weights (even body weights at home) or yoga into the mix to speed up the process. What this will do is create muscle and hence spike up your metabolism.
Metabolism boosting workouts – Sprinting is great for boosting your metabolism. But who says you can’t try sprints in the swimming pool. If water is your thing, then instead of sweating it out in a park, try this – Get into the pool and do a couple of warm up laps. Then swim one lap as fast as you possibly can (pretend that a shark is chasing you!). Stop and swim back slowly. Go again. Do at least 6 to 8 of these for a challenging full body workout that will shred you up and boost that metabolism. Increasing your metabolism is absolutely essential in a good weight loss regime.
Eat right – Any workout has to be supplemented with eating the right foods. To spike your metabolism (as you will be building muscle by sprinting in the pool and bodyweights) you need to also eat a sufficient amount of proteins.
So while we recommend swimming as part of any exercise program that promotes weight loss, we know that any workout that is the only exercise that you do may not get you the desired results. Therefore swim, and also exercise smart and exercise hard!
Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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