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Is Swimming Good For Weight Loss?


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    Did you know that swimming not only helps in weight loss but also has many additional health benefits? This article talks about the most effective ways of swimming to lose weight along with a practical diet plan and other top benefits of swimming.

    Is Swimming Helpful For Weight Loss?

    Yes, experts point that swimming is an effective cardiovascular workout and helps lose weight. This high-intensity workout increases your heart rate, helps burn calories, and aids in shedding extra kilos. It utilises the entire body, toning your muscles, making you look lean and fit.


    Obesity And Swimming — The Perfect Formula

    Swimming is a great workout for people who have excess body weight but cannot do weight-bearing exercises like walking, jogging, or running. Combine this with proper nutrition to reap maximum benefits. Swimming is a total body workout since it works simultaneously on your lower and upper body. You will benefit from the water’s resistance in addition to getting a terrific aerobic workout. Swimming is low impact and non-weight bearing, making it beneficial for those with obesity-related impairments.
    Instead of starting with the different strokes, try water aerobics initially. You can walk, slow jog, do jumping jacks and side shuffling across the pool. Once you have built some endurance, you can shift to doggy paddle and slowly graduate to strokes. Exercise in a hot climate is known to cause heat-related issues in obese patients. But swimming reduces the heat burden since one is surrounded by water.


    -Lavanya Parthasarathy, PhD, CDE

    Must Read: Non-surgical Weight Loss Treatment

    How To Effectively Swim For Weight Loss?



    Studies show that swimming for 30-40 minutes, three times a week, helps burn a greater number of calories. You may lose up to half a kilo in two weeks if you go for a 30-minute swim every day. Here are a few tips:

    • Start with a 10-minute warm-up session along the length of the swimming pool.
    • Then engage in the freestyle stroke, as it needs the least effort. You can go up to five lengths with this stroke.
    • You can then gradually start experimenting with other strokes such as freestyle kick, free pull, pull sidekick, interval swimming, targeting specific body parts.
    • Try the butterfly stroke next. It is the most demanding of all strokes and burns maximum calories.
    • According to a Harvard Medical School study, a person weighing around 56kgs can burn up to 330 calories through the butterfly stroke in a 30-minute freestyle swimming session.
    • Meanwhile, backstroke and breaststroke can help burn 240 and 300 calories respectively in 30 minutes.
    • Mixing up the intensity, duration, stroke style, and efficiency will make a difference to your overall calorie burn.
    • You can also use an online calculator to measure how many calories you can burn with swimming.

    Must Read: 10 Best Aerobic Exercises For Weight Loss

    What Is The Best Time To Swim For Weight Loss?

    The best time to go for a swim, especially for weight loss, is in the morning. At this time, the body is in the fasting stage, and it will convert fat deposits into the energy required for swimming. Hence, you can expect great results from an early morning swimming workout.

    What Is The Recommended Weight Loss Diet Plan For Swimming?



    As swimming uses a lot of energy and burns many calories, you need to compensate the body with required nutrition before and after your pool sessions. When you take up swimming, make sure your diet plan contains – enough lean protein, fewer carbohydrates, the right amount of fat, and lots of soluble fibre.

    Before: Eat a light snack or a meal with whole grains or a protein shake that gives you enough energy for a 30-minute swimming session. Eat or drink at least an hour before the session to avoid bloating. Protein bars, dates, Greek yoghurt with fruits are power-packed snack options.

    After: It is crucial to refuel your body after swimming. You can choose proteins, vegetables, fruits or whole grains such as oats, peanut butter toast, banana, honey, chicken, eggs, and sweet potatoes.

    It is necessary to stay hydrated before and after swimming so include an energy drink, plain water, or fruit and vegetable juices.

    Must Read: 30 Days Diet Plan For Weight Loss

    Other Top Benefits of Swimming

    Besides aiding weight loss, swimming has several other health benefits. Here are the top reasons how swimming helps:

    • Builds Cardiovascular Strength: Swimming boosts the heart, lungs, and circulatory system. It helps regulate blood pressure, keeps the blood sugar levels in control, and improves heart health.


    Obesity, osteoarthritis and swimming!

    Your knees are under an additional 15 to 50 pounds of pressure even if you are only 4-5kgs overweight. This also increases your risk of developing osteoarthritis or will exacerbate the condition if you already have it.[1]
    For people with arthritis and joint pains, high impact exercises can worsen their condition. Swimming is an impact-free exercise for your joints as approximately 90% of your body weight is supported by the water as you swim. You will also experience less discomfort on your joints by the relative weightlessness. A solid swimming workout will increase your range of motion and strengthen the muscles around your joints.
    A study showed that patients with osteoarthritis experienced a decrease in joint discomfort by 40%, stiffness by 30%, and functional limitation by 25% after just three months of swim training regularly. It increased their muscular strength and physical function similar to cycling.[2]


    -Lavanya Parthasarathy, PhD, CDE

    • Improves Sleep and Overall Mood: Studies show that swimming prevents insomnia and works as a mood booster. It also relieves stress and anxiety.
    • Works for those with injuries or disabilities: Swimming is a safe choice of workout for people with disabilities, those recovering from injuries, or those suffering from medical conditions like asthma. Pregnant women advised against performing a high-impact workout can also choose swimming but only under a doctor’s supervision.


    Now you know that swimming is effective for weight loss and comes with many additional health benefits. However, remember that it is necessary to create a calorie deficit to lose weight. A combination of a balanced diet and exercise will give you the desired results.

    Frequently Asked Questions

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    About The Author

    Kushneet Kukreja

    Kushneet Kukreja

    A postgraduate in Biotechnology from Kingston University and an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition, Kushneet Kukreja is a passionate writer who works in close association with the dermatologists at our head office to generate valuable and scientifically accurate content for our blog.

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