How Much Weight Can I Lose Swimming?

You can burn more calories swimming than you can jogging, dancing or even doing aerobics, provided you swim vigorously and use some of the more challenging strokes.

Swimming is a great way to lose weight.
Credit: Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/GettyImages

If you swim on a daily basis without increasing your calorie intake, you're likely to see serious slimming as the weight comes off. Consult your doctor before taking up swimming or any new exercise regimen.

Tips

Swimming laps burns more calories than some other popular cardio activities. Spend 30 minutes a day in the pool, eat a healthy diet and you may be able to lose approximately half a pound to 1.5 pounds a week.

How to Burn Calories

To lose weight by swimming or doing any other form of exercise, you must burn 3,500 calories more than the number your body requires to maintain your weight to lose one pound. Find out approximately how many calories you need to maintain your current weight by using an online BMI calculator — or one provided by your fitness app online on your wearable.

Once you know how many calories you need to maintain your weight, you will know how long you will need to swim to burn enough calories to create the deficit you need.

Read more: How to Lose Weight With Swimming

Casual Swimming Effects

Casual swimming — the type you do when you're at the pool with your kids or hanging out at the lake — burns calories, but not as many as you'll burn if you get into a regular habit of swimming laps.

Nevertheless, even a leisurely pace of swimming will help a 185-pound person burn approximately 532 calories an hour according to Harvard Health Publishing. If you're in the habit of hanging out at the pool three times a week and spend an hour swimming, you will lose almost half a pound each week.

Types of Strokes

The type of stroke you use will determine how many calories you burn says Swimming.org, and therefore how much weight you lose. Freestyle, the stroke you see people use most often, burns from 650 to 820 calories an hour, depending on the intensity. Doing the backstroke burns 514 calories, the breaststroke burns 734, the butterfly 808 and a fast front crawl 808.

Even treading water can burn up to 888 calories if done vigorously. While most people will not be able to do a butterfly stroke for an hour at a time, you can vary the strokes so you work a variety of muscles while swimming laps. A 185-pound person can expect to lose approximately 1.5 pounds of excess weight a week if he swims each day.

Read more: Swimming Vs. Running for Exercise

What to Eat

Swimming can stimulate appetite, as swimmers are more depleted after exercising than people who cycle or run. You can eat a low-fat, light-carbohydrate snack immediately after exercising to avoid having a huge appetite later, which can thwart your weight-loss efforts.

Fill up on low-calorie fruits and vegetable when you're hungry, and consume meals that include lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. FINA advises against eating too little to support your athletic endeavors. Keep your energy level up so that you can swim those strokes that burn the most calories.

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