An hour in the pool doesn’t sound like strenuous physical activity, but you could burn a lot of fat through swimming if done right. This obviously isn’t going to be the case if you’re in the swimming pool for an hour playing Marco Polo. We’re talking about actually getting in a workout during that time.
Swimming for fat burning
Swimming is a full-body workout and can help to burn calories, build muscle, and improve metabolism. The resistance of water offers the necessary conditions to force us to use our bodies and push through. Different muscle groups in the body get exercised when we swim. Swimming is beneficial for the arms, legs, back, and even to strengthen the core. You can work out your shoulders, chest, and arms through the butterfly stroke and breaststroke or strengthen your abs, back, and quads with the help of a backstroke.
Swimming is a much more effective way to burn fat than many other forms of training like brisk walking, jogging, or running because the buoyancy of water offers protection for the joints and body. This makes it an effective form of training even for people who have joint pain or overweight people who may find other forms of training more difficult.
In fact, just 30 minutes of swimming using the breaststroke can help to burn approximately 367 calories while freestyle can burn 404 calories. Brisk walking for 30 minutes on the other hand burns just 100 calories and running at 6 miles per hour for 30 minutes can burn 300 calories.
You can even burn belly fat through specific exercises that are aimed at your core such as butterfly kicks (obliques) or flutter kicks (lower abs). Because of its low impact nature, it’s also easier on the feet, hips, and knees as opposed to high impact activities like ground-based running.
How long to swim to burn fat?
You need to burn 3500 calories if you want to lose 1 pound. If you swim vigorously for 1 hour, you’ll be able to burn 800 calories. Doing this 4 times a week can help you lose 3 to 4 pounds in a month.
If you want something less intense, try swimming for 30 minutes at a moderate pace to burn 250 calories. Doing this 4 times a week will help you lose over a pound each month. Moderate to vigorous swimming training is needed if you want to burn fat effectively. This way, you’ll be losing weight the right way as opposed to losing weight which may just be the result of losing muscle mass.
Swimming training to burn fat
Different swimming workouts can help you burn fat at varying levels. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in the water has been proven to be an effective way to burn fat faster. With this, you work out at different speeds in varying positions, including jumping, being partially submerged, floating, and standing tall. You’ll also get a full range of motion that can improve cardiovascular functioning and build muscle endurance.
A typical HIIT training can look like this:
- Warm-up: slow 4×50 yards swimming with 10 seconds rest between every 50.
- Main set: fast 6×50 yards swimming with 20 seconds rest between every 50.
- Cool-down: slow 4×50 yards swimming with 10 seconds rest between every 50.
- Apart from this, there are also exercises that you can do in the water to burn fat even if you don’t know how to swim. Doing a mini circuit of 4 moves in 3 sets with prescribed number of reps at least 3 times a week can be an effective way to burn fat. Some such exercises are described below.
Begin in the water and face the pool’s edge with your hands on the deck outside shoulders. Keep your arms straight and legs bent so that your feet are behind your body. Get your elbows to bend 90 degrees and then push yourself back up. Do 10 to 12 reps of this.
Place your forearms on the pool’s ledge with your back facing the side and body in the water. Extend your legs straight at the hip level and engage your abs. Bend your right knee towards your chest and then extend it. Do this alternating between both sides for 60 seconds.
Begin in a low squat position extending your arms at shoulder level. Jump off the swimming pool floor while pushing arms down and behind the body before getting back to the starting position. Do 12 to 15 reps of this.
Begin in the water keeping your feet under your hips and hands to the sides. Bend your right knee and bring the heel towards your butt. Swing forward your left arm at 90 degrees. As your right foot and left arm goes down, pick up your left foot towards your butt and raise your right arm at a 90 degrees bend. Alternate between the 2 sides for 60 seconds.
Tips to burn fat while swimming
You must ensure you’re swimming with purpose as opposed to just having a fun time in the pool. Warm up first by going for a walk or performing some light strength training before swimming so that you burn carbohydrates for fuel needed during your workout.
Work at intensity levels that are in the fat-burning zone and choose strokes that work on different parts of the body. Try to switch up your routine every now and then so that you’re giving your body a new experience and helping it adjust to change.
Make use of interval training to accelerate the fat-burning process.
Swim early in the morning before breakfast or at least 2 to 3 hours after eating because eating raises the body’s insulin levels which interferes with fat being metabolized for energy during any physical activity.
Swimming can end up making you really hungry so it’s important to eat right. Swimming requires a lot of energy and if you don’t follow it up with healthy food, you’re only going to end up over-eating a lot of junk which will be counterproductive for your fat-burning efforts.
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