Swimming Can Help You Crush Your Weight Loss Goals

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Swimming Can Help You Crush Your Weight Loss Goals

If you’re looking for a total-body cardio workout thats kind to your joints, swimming is it. And it can be a total calorie-burner, too. Just keep a few things in mind to get the most out of it.

First, as with any exercise, the number of calories you burn by swimming depends on the intensity with which you do it.

How much do you have to swim to lose weight?

Swimming at a somewhat casual paceabout 50 yards a minuteburns about 625 calories per hour. Kick that up to a high-level recreational athlete, where youre swimming 75 yards in a minute, and youll burn a little more than 750 calories an hour. To lose a pound, youd want to burn about 3,500 calories. So if you swam for an hour three times a week, youd burn a pound off in two weeks. And that doesnt even count any dietary changes.

Any kind of activity is better than just sitting aroundif you were previously sedentary, even 20 to 30 minutes of swimming allows you to burn calories you wouldnt have before. 

Does that mean swimming burns off belly fat?

Sort of. Swimming doesnt preferentially burn belly fat, but if its something that youll do consistently because you enjoy it, then it will help you drop pounds all over, including youre your belly.

How to torch calories by swimming

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To torch more calories, either get in more frequently, swim longer each session, or swim at a higher intensity. There are benefits to each:

Swim more frequently

As with any exercise, the key to losing weight with it is to be consistent. Swim coaches talking with athletes who want to get stronger and faster encourage them to swim less, more often. You get more out of a swim when your technique is good. So getting in the water more frequently beats banging out a long session where youre just fighting falling-apart technique at the end.

Also, unless you have a pool in your back yard, swimming requires a little planningyou have to get to the pool when its open, make sure you have your cap, goggles, towel and whatever else you need for the shower afterward. (Check out the best goggles here .) Make it easy for yourself and have your swim bag ready to go at all times, so you can spend less time looking for stuff and more time working out.

Swim longer

Once your technique stays in place for a whole workout, see if you can make one swim a week slightly longer than the others. This will not only allow you to burn more calories, it will improve your endurance so you can swim stronger for longer in future sessions and gradually extend your time in the pool.

Swim at a higher intensity

To burn more calories in less time, use an interval training approach. Instead of swimming the whole time at 65 or 70 percent of your max heart rate, break your workout into sets. There are a million different ways you can approach it. One way would be to try swimming 4 laps at 70 percent, 4 at 80, and 4 at 90, resting between each set of four. Then descend the ladder (4 at 90, 4 at 80, 4 at 70). 

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