Swimming for Weight Loss
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Swimming for Weight Loss

It is thought that swimming may be the best all round exercise to help you lose weight. It is said that it may help you to burn calories and might help to tone the body. However, studies suggest swimming might not be as effective as other forms of exercise for losing weight.

Swimming is said to be the third most popular type of exercise after walking and running. With public swimming pools, many people have the option of swimming laps, in race lanes or joining water aerobics classes. Regular swimming sessions are thought to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type two diabetes and strokes. It is also thought that swimming might be the best all round exercise. So, will swimming help you to reach your weight loss goals? It is important to examine swimming as a cardiovascular exercise and as resistance training as well as analysing clinical studies to see if it can help you to lose weight.

Cardiovascular Exercise


It is claimed that Swimming is a cardiovascular exercise, which might help you to stay healthy and may burn calories. It is said that swimming for an hour might help you to burn 500 calories. Although this may depend on the pace and intensity of your swimming session, this form of cardio could well help you to lose weight.

Swimming is thought to be a good form of exercise for those looking to get into shape as it is claimed that you may be able to exercise for longer compared to other cardio exercises, such as running. It is said that swimming is a fun way to exercise without feeling as though you are pushing yourself too hard. There are many public swimming pools that offer swimming classes, such as aqua aerobics, which might be a fun way to get fit. It is suggested that the water itself could keep you cool; this might prevent you from feeling sweaty and tired during your workout. Swimming may also put less stress on your body.

Swimming in water is said to give you buoyancy, which might take the pressure away from your joints. This can be a problem with cardio exercises such as running, which might cause problems with your knees and hips in the long-run. Swimming is thought to be a low impact exercise, which might allow you to avoid injury and may allow you to work out for longer. With the potential of the water to cushion movements, this might mean that swimming can be suitable for any age group, including the elderly and pregnant mothers. Thus, by possibly being a fun and easier way to exercise, it might allow you to burn more calories. This could mean that you may shed a few pounds and potentially meet your weight loss goals.

However, swimming may not burn as many calories as other types of cardiovascular exercise. Some studies say that other forms of cardio are better for losing body fat, such as walking and cycling. This might be down to the individual and how hard they work during the exercise. It is also worth considering that your diet might have an impact on your ability to lose weight. It is understood that you must consume fewer calories than your body needs to lose weight. Even if you are exercising, if you consuming more calories than you need per day, you might not lose weight or body fat. It is thought that eating a healthy and balanced diet along with cardiovascular exercise might help you to reach your weight loss goals. Following a diet plan with a calorie deficit may also be an option.

Therefore, it seems that swimming may be a good form of cardiovascular exercise, which might help you to lose weight. By being a low impact exercise, it might be suitable way for beginners and different age groups to work out and might be a fun way to reach your weight goals. However, it might not be a suitable form of exercise for everyone and may not be as effective as other cardiovascular exercises. Eating a healthy diet and having a calorie deficit are also thought to be important factors in losing weight, along with regular exercise.

Resistance Training


Swimming is thought to be the best all round form of exercise as it is said to work all of the major muscle groups in the body. This may allow you to achieve a slimmer look and might help you to tone your body. It is believed that swimming is a resistance training exercise as your muscles battle against the water to move forward and perform swimming strokes. It is thought that water is around 12 times the level of air resistance. This is said to have a similar effect to using a light weight. This may allow you to build muscle, strength and endurance.

It is thought that swimming will target the main areas of the body that people wish to tone up. It is said to work your core, arms, legs, glutes and back. Different swimming strokes might also target specific muscles even more. For example, the backstroke might target your back and shoulders and breaststroke may even work the inner thigh muscles. If swimming may help you to build muscles, this might mean you can burn more calories. This may help you to reach your weight loss goals and appear more toned.

However, swimming may not be the most beneficial resistance training exercise for losing weight. The amount of resistance is thought to be relative to the force you are using to push the water; this might mean that you decide how hard you work and may not burn as many calories as you think. Also, it may help you to build muscles but might not burn fat if you are not eating healthy or following a calorie deficit diet. Having more calories than you body needs might jeopardise weight loss goals. It is important to learn how to perform certain swimming strokes properly to avoid injury. If you are not performing the moves correctly, you may not benefit from it.

Therefore, it is thought that swimming might work more muscles than any other form of cardiovascular exercise. This may allow you to burn calories and achieve a more toned look. However, it may not be a suitable form of exercise for everyone and might not help you to lose weight if other factors override your work, such as an unhealthy diet.

Clinical Studies on Swimming

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Clinical studies looking at the effectiveness of swimming on weight loss and fat burning seem to have mixed findings. One study found that women following a swimming programme for six months did not lose any weight. The group assigned to brisk walking managed to lose 10% of their initial weight and the women who cycled lost 12%. However, the women who completed swimming laps in the pool seemed to lose no weight. The study concluded that walking and cycling seemed to be the more effective methods for reducing body fat, but swimming was not included. This suggests that other forms of exercise may be more effective for losing weight.

However, another study found that swimming might be just as effective as other aerobic exercises for weight loss. It said that as long as similar intensity, duration and frequency are used, there would be no difference in results. The study found that significant reductions in body weight, body fat percentage and skinfold and girth measurements occurred in all groups that participated in walking and swimming in different temperatures after 13 weeks. This might suggest that swimming could be incorporated into a weight loss exercise plan, perhaps with other forms of cardio.

It is even claimed that swimming in cold water may make you want to eat more. A study found that people might feel very hungry after immersion in cold water. Men were put into three groups and immersed in different water temperatures after a treadmill run. They were then given 30 minutes of access to a buffet breakfast. Results found that immersion in cold water was associated with a higher energy intake compared to those that were not immersed. This could mean that swimming might make you hungrier, which may mean you eat more and jeopardise weight loss efforts. Specifically, a study found that cold-water temperatures stimulated post exercise energy intake. Calorie intake after the exercise in cold water was supposedly 44% more than for the neutral temperature. However, this may depend on the temperature of the water and might only have an effect in outdoor swimming conditions. Further studies may be needed to evaluate how effective swimming sessions can be for weight loss.


In conclusion, swimming is a form of exercise that might help you to lose weight. It is thought to be a fun and easier form of cardiovascular exercise, which might help you burn more calories. It is also said that swimming may work more muscles than any other cardiovascular exercise. The water resistance may help you to build muscles and appear more toned. However, clinical studies seem to come to different conclusions on just how effective swimming might be for losing weight. Some studies suggest that it may not burn as many calories as other forms of cardio and may have a negative effect on the appetite. It is also important to consider that following a healthy diet and calorie deficit plan as well as exercise may have an impact on whether you lose weight.

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