Swimming does help you lose weight, provided you don’t start piling on the high-calorie foods to make up for the calories that you will be burning. It is also an excellent way to tone all of your muscles, including your legs, arms, back, shoulders, chest and abdomen.
Is swimming advisable for weight loss and toning?
Burn off those calories
The trick to losing weight is creating a calorie deficit, and swimming is high on the list of big calorie burners. The number you burn during a single session can depend on your intensity level, age and weight but slowly it will come to a steady average. If you keep swimming on a regular basis, you will burn more calories than doing exercises such as jumping rope, doing martial arts or attending a high-impact aerobics class.
Strength training benefits
When you burn calories and lose fat, the result will be a slimmer body that appears more toned as losing that fat means the muscles you already have are more visible. Swimming packs a one-two punch because it is not only a big calorie burner, but also a form of resistance exercise. Water offers 12 times as much resistance as moving your limbs through the air, meaning those laps you’re doing are a form of strength training as well.
Tone your body
If you stick to a consistent routine of swimming for 30 minutes at a time, three to five days a week, and don’t overeat, expect to slim down and build muscle. However, you can get toned even faster by getting more strategic about your time in the pool. Variety is the key to preventing the muscle adaptations that lead to exercise plateaus. Mix up your workouts every few weeks, or every time you are in the pool. Instead of doing the crawl or breaststroke all the time, incorporate new strokes such as the side stroke, backstroke or butterfly. Use a kickboard to place special focus on the legs one day, and then use a pull buoy during the next session to focus on the arms. You can try treading water too.
How can swimming benefit you in other ways?
Swimming has several other advantages apart from helping to lose weight and toning your body:
- Top athletes use swimming to aid recovery from injury as it is low impact but still builds excellent muscular and cardiovascular endurance. So if you have had an accident and want to get back into exercising, taking up swimming is an ideal way to do that.
- Swimming can be relaxing and give you a little ‘me’ time away from it all. Burning calories might be the last thing on your mind but what an excellent bonus!
- You could also join a water aerobics class if lane swimming isn’t your thing. These are held in most pools so check in and ask at your local centre to find out more.
Considered the most basic swimming stoke, the sidestroke is performed while lying sideways in the water. One arm is extended straight out above the shoulder. The arms are then alternated backward and forward. Simultaneously, you perform a scissor kick.
The backstroke is similar to the front crawl except that you float face up instead of face down. Again, you alternate over-arm strokes while continuously flutter kicking.
During the breaststroke, you begin with your palms touching and pulled into your chest. This should be similar to being in prayer. Extend arms simultaneously outward at shoulder height with palms facing down. Next, turn your palms outward and push in a semicircle motion until they return to the starting position. Begin with your legs extended behind you in a streamlined position. Bring your knees up, kick out and then return the legs to the streamline position, similar to a frog kick.
The front crawl, or freestyle, is the standard swimming stroke. In this stoke, you alternate over-arm strokes while continuously flutter kicking your feet. You are face down in the water and breathe by rotating your head from side-to-side.
The butterfly is considered the most difficult swimming stoke. During this stoke, you move your arms simultaneously in a windmill-like motion. Begin with arms stretched out in front of you, with thumbs touching, and then pull down towards your waist. As your arms get close to your waist, bring them out of the water over your head. At the same time, you employ a dolphin kick. You breathe by popping your head out of the water as you are pulling your arms down to your waist.
Is swimming good for weight loss and toning
Thus you can see why taking up swimming can be extremely advantageous for you not only in terms of losing weight, but also maintaining good health and fitness. Ready to hit the pool?
Is swimming good for weight loss and toning