October 19th, 2016
Swimming can burn approximately 475-750 calories per hour, depending on the stroke you do. Compared to walking, which burns about 270 calories per hour, swimming can help you drop weight faster than many other activities.
So, what is the best swimming stroke for weight loss? The one you do, of course. Or in this case, the one you do the best.
Flailing around with an inefficient and poorly executed stroke will only make you tired and frustrated. But it is important to note that in terms of calorie burning, not all strokes are the same.
For example, the butterfly stroke burns a whopping 900 calories per hour – but very few can really do the butterfly for an hour straight. It is a stroke that is difficult to master and also technically demanding. On the other hand, the freestyle stroke burns approximately 800 calories an hour when swum at a brisk pace. And it is one that almost everyone knows how to do or can easily learn.
If you want to lose weight, your best bet is a stroke that you can swim faster and longer. But it doesn’t have to be just freestyle. In fact, ideally, you would want to vary your choice of stroke in order to work all your muscles and stave off boredom. The breaststroke burns as many calories as freestyle. You use your leg muscles to power through the water, giving them a good workout. The backstroke, while burning fewer calories, works your abdominals and shoulders.
The key to a swimming workout that gets results is breaking it into smaller segments. Structure your swimming workout like you would any workout on land. Warm up, plan some intervals and be sure to include a cool down. You can use a moderately paced freestyle for your warm up. Mix in work intervals to raise your heart rate, and rest intervals that let it come down a bit. Intervals like this are best for losing weight. Be sure to swim different strokes, do some drills, and vary your intensity. This will not only make your workout more interesting, it will make it more effective.
There’s no doubt that swimming can give you a workout similar to running or cycling without putting undue pressure on your joints. And because of the 12-14% increase in resistance you get from pulling yourself through water, you can also tone your muscles without having to use weights. The repetitive motions of the swim stroke helps keep your joints flexible – especially the hips, neck shoulders, and core.
If you’re looking for a different way to lose weight, take your workout to the swimming pool!