Contrary to popular belief, swimming is one of the very best forms of exercise for weight loss that one can engage in. Detractors have stated that those who swim are more susceptible to putting on pounds than taking them off. This short sighted opinion is based on the fact that swimming increases your appetite unlike any other weight loss exercise.
Swimming lowers your core body temperature. No matter how great of a swim you have, when the body is cold it automatically wants to warm up. Thus the huge appetite, which will undoubtedly raise the core temperature back up to a satisfactory level once food is consumed. A common solution to this small conundrum is to soak in the jacuzzi after your swim, or to take a steaming hot shower if the jacuzzi is not an option.
As with any successful weight loss routine, a key element to reaping the benefits of an excellent workout is to adjust your eating accordingly. A healthy diet is the yin to swimming’s yang. Swimming provides a toned and sculpted physique while building your lean muscle mass. An increase in muscle will lead to a gain in weight, but is quickly offset by your diet. The lean muscle mass brings with it added benefits.
Water is almost 800 times more dense than air, providing a 14% increase in resistance as opposed to air. The lack of gravity permeating while swimming not only takes much needed pressure off of your joints and tendons, but in the process greatly enhances the flexibility of those very same joints. The same can not be said of running or other forms of strength based exercises.
The following is a mini list of swimming workouts, including their caloric reductions, using a 150-pound woman as a base of reference.
Freestyle stroke- This particular technique serves as the standard swimming stroke. Uninterrupted flutter kicks work in unison with alternating overhead strokes, while laying face down in rotating your head from side to side for breathing. Freestyle swimming at a leisurely pace for an hour burns almost 500 calories, while a more energetic pace will burn 680 calories in the same time span.
Butterfly- In this most difficult of swim strokes, a dolphin kick is used in tandem with a simultaneous windmill motion of your arms. With your arms reaching out in front of you, touch your thumbs together with a downward pull towards your feet. When your arms are in close proximity to your waist, swing them out of the water up and over your head. Breathing occurs through each downward pull of your arms, popping your head out of the water. An hour of swimming the Butterfly stroke burns approximately 748 calories.