So, is swimming good for weight loss? Some research says yes, while other research says that it may have the opposite effect. One swimming and weight loss study conducted by Doctor Greg Gwinup for the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that people who used swimming as their primary method of exercise actually GAINED weight. His study found that those people who walked, ran, or cycled lost, on average, around 17 to 19 pounds while his subjects who swam gained around 5 pounds.
Why does swimming sometimes cause weight gain? It’s because swimming causes a larger gain in appetite than running (which actually suppresses appetite), biking, or walking. The gain in appetite comes from the stimulation of the appetite that cold water has on the body.
But don’t think that swimming is a bad exercise and that you shouldn’t do it or stop doing it. Swimming is a fantastic exercise that works almost every single muscle in your body without producing any stressful impact on your body. The weight gain that people see when swimming comes from acquiring lean muscle mass not body fat.
Is Swimming Good For Weight Loss? Yes! If Done Correctly
What DOES makes swimming better in some aspects than land-based aerobic and cardio activities is that it is a zero-impact activity and is an excellent aerobic conditioner.
Some experts may tell you when wondering is swimming good for fitness, that it’s is not the best form of weight loss, but it really depends on what your goals are and what you enjoy doing. It boils down to this:
Swimming does burn calories, is low-impact, and is very fun. I like it much better than running on a treadmill for an hour. Plus it can be very refreshing. It would be less than ideal if you are trying to lose a LOT of weight. You may be better sticking to land-based exercises. However it wouldn’t hurt to include swimming once or twice a week just to break up the monotony. The bottom line is to make sure your exercise regimen is varied.
Making Swimming More Effective For Weight Loss
You can make swimming work better for you by improving your performance in the water. You don’t have to be a Michael Phelps but the better your times and the faster you can go the more calories you’ll burn and the more effective swimming will become for weight loss.
1.Try and learn the right way to do the strokes. Research indicates that those who perform the strokes correctly burn many more calories than those who do not. The better you become at swimming techniques the more weight you’re going to be able to lose.
2.Change it up in the water. Once you get the strokes down, or while you’re practicing them, try and alternate. Some strokes are more intensive and burn more calories than other strokes. Freestyle and butterfly stroke are much more intense and burn more calories than the breaststroke and backstroke. However they are also more energy intensive so you could recoup some energy by alternating breaststroke and backstroke inbetween butterfly and freestyle.
3.Time yourself. This is just like running on land. Find out how long it takes you to complete a designated pool length and keep working on improving that time. The more you improve the more calories you’re going to burn.
4.Be careful about eating after swimming. Swimming, unlike running or riding a bike, can cause you to be VERY hungry when you finish. So don’t partake of a big meal right after you swim or al l your calorie burning will go right out the window. Try drinking a big glass of water and eating a banana when you’re finished swimming. This should curb your hunger.
5.If you’re new to swimming you should start slow. Hit the pool 2 to 3 times a week for about an hour at a time. Also try to build up your stamina. Work on swimming steadily for a minute and then resting for a minute. Keep building up until you can swim 5 to 10 to 20 laps without stopping.
6.Get lessons or ask a trained swimmer to help you out. This can help get you motivated and provide direction that you may not be able to get on your own. You could probably find pretty cheap lessons at your local YMCA or swim club. Look online or in your local yellow pages for locations and phone numbers.
You should consider adding swimming to your weight loss plan simply because it’s such an excellent full body exercise. You definitely don’t want to make it your primary exercise. You want to keep your exercise regimen varied with weight training, running or walking, cycling, hiking, sports, etc. This not only helps you lose weight but it also keeps you from getting so bored that you quit!