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How Many Calories Are Burned While Swimming?

author image Kim Nunley
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.
How Many Calories Are Burned While Swimming?
Underwater shot of man swimming in a pool. Photo Credit Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

Swimming offers a non-impact way to burn a relatively high number of calories in a short amount of time. The number of calories you burn depends on a few factors, but you can get an idea of how many a typical session might burn. The calories that you burn during your swimming sessions will help you reach and maintain a healthy body weight, which in turn may reduce your health risks.

Contributing Factors

How many calories you burn while swimming depends on the length and intensity of your workout and your weight. The higher the intensity and longer the duration, the more calories you’ll burn. The heavier you are, the harder your body has to work to move you through the water, and the more calories you’ll burn.

Estimated Calories Burned

According to HealthStatus.com, a person weighing 150 pounds will burn about 414 calories during a 60-minute moderate-intensity swimming workout, and will burn about 666 calories with a vigorous workout. A person weighing 200 pounds, however, will burn about 552 calories during a 60-minute moderate-intensity workout and about 888 calories during a vigorous hour-long session.

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Why Calories Matter

The number of calories you burn while swimming can help create the calorie deficit needed for losing weight. You lose fat by burning more calories than you consume over a set period of time. A deficit of 3,500 calories is needed to lose a pound of fat. A 150-pound person who swims at a moderate intensity for 60 minutes could lose a pound approximately every nine workouts. A 200-pound person who swims at a vigorous intensity for 60 minutes could lose a pound of fat approximately every four workouts.

Beneficial for Everyone

Swimming is an effective way for anyone to burn calories and lose fat, but it’s an exercise that’s often recommended to overweight and obese individuals. Carrying extra weight places a significant amount of stress on your joints and other musculoskeletal structures during activities like jogging. Swimming, however, is a non-impact sport, so you can exercise safely, knowing that you’re not doing damage to your body. According to Stacy Schmidt of the American College of Sports Medicine, obese individuals have more difficulty regulating their temperature during exercise, but being submerged in water helps to keeps you cool while you’re working out.

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