Swimming and weight loss are the prefect combination when done in the right way. Swimming uses just about every muscle in the body, so swimming for weight loss is the perfect way to shed those excess layers. However, it’s how you swim that ultimately determines if you have burned a large amount of calories or only a few.
Hate the gym? Are your legs crying in pain at the thought of going outside for a jog? Maybe you have a medical condition that makes it impossible for you to do many load bearing, gym based exercises. Or maybe you’re just one of those people who loves to swim.
Lets face it, swimming is relaxing, calming and peaceful. You’re not going to get interrupted by someone calling on your phone and you can let your mind escape away as you glide through the water.
Swimming is one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise, but swimming to lose weight requires getting out of your comfort zone.
Let’s be honest – swimming is easy to take it easy. You can swim up and down the pool without a care in the world, swimming breaststroke or whatever stroke you swim and slip into a comfortable pace without knowing you’ve done so.
So, step up the pace. Swim a few lengths faster than usual, enough to get you a little breathless. Enough to increase your heart rate slightly, and you only need to do it for a short period of a couple of minutes.
Do this a few times during your swim and over the coming days and weeks, increase the amount of times you swim faster or the length of time you swim faster for. You will find it becoming easier as your fitness and stamina improve and this will result in weight loss and gradual changes to your body shape.
One of the most common cries I hear in the pool from regular swimmers is:
“I swim 40 lengths every day but my weight and body shape have stayed the same.”
Arguably the most common mistake when it comes to swimming and weight loss is to do the same thing every time. Swimming 40 lengths once upon a time may have been an effective form of weight loss for you, but that does not mean it will be now. What worked once before will not continue to work for you in the same way.
The reason? You have slipped into your comfort zone without knowing and you are no longer challenging your body. Your muscles and cardio respiratory system have become used to your routine swim and your body now needs fewer calories to get through it. The result, no more weight loss and you may even see your weight begin to increase.
The solution is to get out of your comfort zone again. Change the routine by swimming some faster lengths for longer times. Try a different swimming stroke or maybe try and get your 40 lengths done in a quicker time.
Give your body a different challenge and it will respond by burning more calories.
Yes, absolutely you can. Swimming and weight loss still works for breaststroke alone. As long as you change the pace and duration of your swims, you can effectively burn sufficient amounts of calories swimming breaststroke.
Put in a flat out sprint length followed by a slower recovery length to help increase your heart rate for a short time.
Swim a set distance against the clock and then see if you can repeat the same distance next swim but in a quicker time. For example you swim 800m breaststroke and it took you 25 minutes. See if next time you can swim the same distance in 22 minutes.
You do not need perfect swimming technique to lose weight, but a basic grasp of the strokes will help. Swimming out of your comfort zone is the most important aspect of swimming and weight loss, so swim the way you have always swum for now. Worry about swimming technique later.
If improving your swimming technique is something you wish to do, The Swimming Strokes Book contains practical exercises and technique tips for all four of the basic swimming strokes.
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