Swimming is a truly complete sport, both from the point of view of cardiovascular and muscular commitment, which is why swimming makes you lose weight, or at least allows you to burn calories (up to 900, considering 1 hour of activity for an average person body size and about 30 years) and reduce fat.
Compared to other aerobic activities, such as running and cycling, the cardiovascular commitment can be considered similar, and consequently also the energy substrate used during and after training (which is why they can be practiced together, alternately., with numerous advantages); the difference between swimming and running or cycling is instead given by the less traumatic nature of exercising in the water and above all by the fact that a greater number of muscles are involved.
Let’s see how and how much to swim to lose weight.
Swimming: how to lose weight?
As already explained for running, cycling and sport walking to lose weight by swimming and in general by doing sports, you need to burn more calories than you consume with food during the day, or in any case unit of time given, for example over a week.
But this mere calculation of giving and take is not enough because depending on how you swim, in particular the intensity at which you swim and the type of training you do, and therefore the heart rate around which you train, different energy mechanisms come into play that can burn fat or sugar.
Ideally, to lose weight by swimming, you need to swim at a pace where your heart rate is between 60% and 70% of your maximum heart rate. In this way, you can be sure of burning fat that is to affect the energy reserves that make up the fat mass. However, this does not always and not immediately mean a real and tangible weight reduction.
How to lose weight with swimming?
Why doesn’t swimming make you lose weight right away? Because, as mentioned at the beginning, swimming is a truly complete sport, which involves the legs (like running and cycling) but also the arms and, at least in the beginning and certainly for those who start swimming without being trained, first of all, you get a muscle toning that compensates for any loss of fat burned with training.
Basically, after a short period of regular swimming training, let’s say at least 3 times a week for at least 1 hour, it could happen that the scale does not report an appreciable weight loss and that, however, in the mirror, we see ourselves more toned and defined. It is the consequence of a well-done workout, which has certainly reduced fat mass, but at the same time also increased muscle mass.
How fast to swim to lose weight?
From what has been said, the consequence is that it is not so much the absolute speed at which you swim but that relative to the heart rate that allows you to lose weight or not. As now numerous scientific studies and any coach or personal trainer states, it is not the bland, continuous, and prolonged work that allows you to lose weight but it is a type of training that comes as close as possible to a High-Intensity Interval Training.
So, swimming in a mild way and for a prolonged time does not allow you to lose weight and will not allow you to do it even in the long term. If you want to lose weight by swimming you have to swim at an intense pace, alternating a few laps at high speed with periods of recovery.
And it is clearly with regular training that you can increase the intensity, or speed, at which you swim, and the number of consecutive laps that you can do at a high pace, and reduce recovery times, thus triggering a virtuous circle of increasingly intense workouts that are increasingly capable of burning fat.
Where you lose weight with swimming: thighs, hips, belly, and legs
In this way, it is also possible to activate the metabolism in the long term, allowing you to burn fat even hours after the end of the workout and to lose weight by swimming in the most sensitive points such as thighs, belly, hips and arms, those were typically the adipose tissue accumulates more.
>If you have decided to swim to lose weight, you might also be interested in knowing the list of things to bring to the pool for a swimming course, how to choose the swimming cap and swimming goggles, ours buying guides on swimming costumes and all the tips on how to swim better and with the correct technique. Or you could try swimming training in the sea too, starting with these tips, and bearing in mind that swimming in the sea and in the pool are not the same thing.