How to Lose Weight by Swimming

How to Lose Weight by Swimming

Swimming uses your whole body and efficiently burns calories, so it seems like a natural way to lose weight. Relying on swimming alone as a means of weight loss may fail, though. To lose weight with swimming, you must also adapt your diet and add other forms of exercise into your weekly routine.

Exercise and Weight Loss
Although exercise can help you burn extra calories and support weight maintenance, it isn't as effective as altering your diet when it comes to initial weight loss, Dr. Samuel Klein of Washington University’s School of Medicine, director of the university’s weight management program, told Forbes.com. Exercise, especially swimming, can increase your appetite and make you feel justified in eating more as a reward for your efforts. The 180 to 226 calories you burn in 30 minutes of swimming can easily be negated by an extra helping at dinner. Before you can lose weight with swimming, you must adopt a reduced-calorie eating plan; for most people, this equals 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day. Keeping a food journal or monitoring your intake online can help you track and stick to this daily intake.

Maximize the Benefits of Swimming
Adding swimming to a low-calorie diet plan can help you accelerate weight loss, especially if you work out intensely at each session. You'll burn more calories when you swim faster and actively move the large muscle groups in your legs. Join a master's group to challenge you to go farther and work harder when you do swim. A group led by a coach can also help you hone your technique so you can work longer and increase your speed. Swimming also helps you develop greater cardio endurance, so you feel more comfortable when exercising and moving on land.

Add Variety
Vary your exercise routine to reduce boredom and alter the way in which your muscles are challenged. A weight-loss plan may include two or three 30- to 60-minute swim sessions per week, but should also have two or three 30 to 60-minute brisk walks, jogs or bouts on the elliptical trainer. If you are partial to the water, you can add variety to your weekly cardio routine by trying water aerobics or water jogging. Although swimming provides some resistance due to the water, you'll need to augment it with dry-land resistance training for at least two sessions per week. Resistance training, with your body weight, tubing or weights, helps prevent the loss of muscle and encourages the loss of fat as you drop pounds. In fact, you may not lose significant weight, but your body's fat loss and muscular gain will lead to loss of inches and an attractive reshaping.

Possible Problems With Swimming
Keep in mind that swimming may be less effective than other forms of exercise in helping you reach your body-weight goal. The buoyancy of the water means you don't have to work as hard to move and thus burn fewer calories than you might during a land-based exercise session. This is especially true if you have a high percentage of fat because fat floats and assists you as you swim. You can lose weight with swimming, but it might be more difficult than it would be with land-based options.