5 Reasons Swimming Burns More Calories! - The supreme primate (2023)

When I started training for my first Ironman half triathlon a few years ago, I would say that swimming was my weakest link. I started swimming when I was young and my training was just for recreation. I started to take this seriously in the ironman half marathon.

During that time I realized that swimming is one of the best exercises to do not only physically but also mentally. It is ideal for any level: beginner, recreational athlete or recreational use. It's low impact, which is good for bigger people who want to shed a few pounds but can't at the gym.

5 Reasons Swimming Burns More Calories! - The supreme primate (1)I feel it's the most relaxing form of exercise. Relaxation and exercise are two words that don't go together, but it's possible when you're in the pool. For this reason, many athletes and fitness enthusiasts recommend incorporating swimming into their exercise routines.

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that swimming is one of the most effective exercises that can help you burn more calories compared to any other exercise. There are many ways to do this: your pushing, keeping your body warm in the water, and water resistance.

Below I have listed 5 reasons why swimming burns more calories. If you're interested in a fun, relaxing workout that gives you more bang for your buck, read on and let me know what you think in the comments section.

5 reasons why swimming burns more calories

1. Swimming is a low-impact, full-body exercise.

The word "low impact" has a lot of negative connotations: it's not as effective and it's not as heavyburn calories, or does not help build muscle. But in swimming, in fact, it is one of his strengths. Being a low-impact exercise, it just means you can jump in a pool even if you're recovering from an injury or when you've reached the age where arthritis starts to bother you.

The good thing about it is that it's still super effective. Recreational swimming for an hour will help you burn about 500 to 550 calories. It also still depends on your weight, the type of shots you land, the speed and intensity of each round. Imagine burning up to 900 calories in an hour of intense exercise.

Not only that, even if you're just doing a few relaxed breaststroke laps or intense butterfly sessions, you're still targeting almost every major muscle in your body as you try to perform the stroke while staying afloat.

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2. Each puff helps burn more calories

While there are many factors to consider when trying to determine how many calories you're burning in the water, each stroke can provide a different benefit that will help you maximize each swim session. This allows you to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.

Let's say you enter the pool at around 150-150 pounds. A different hit will have a different hit on your body each time. But to give you an average number, this is how much you can burn per hit:

Relaxed riding:an average of 240 calories per hour
Ride Intense:an average of 310 calories per hour
relaxed back:an average of 340 calories per hour
Intensive costs:an average of 410 calories per hour
chest:an average of 340 calories per hour
Relaxed freestyle:an average of 370 calories per hour
Moderately relaxed freestyle:an average of 530 calories per hour
Intensive Freestyle:an average of 630 calories per hour
Mariposa:an average of 880 calories per hour

Notice how interested I was in writing "an average of". This is because intensity plays a big part in every shot. If you can't keep the intensity constant, the calories burned will also fluctuate.

For example, you want to burn as many calories as possible, and based on the information I gave above, doing the butterfly motion will do just that. But butterfly after butterfly for each round is just not realistic. You'll burn in just 15 minutes. So you want to do something that's somewhat sustainable, like… B. integrate butterfly stroke into breaststroke. This is more doable and you will certainly maintain your intensity longer.

3. The afterburn effect

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Swimming is one of the most effective exercises not only during, but also after. This is the principle of the afterburning effect. Basically, you keep your calorie burn at a certain level even after your workout. Sounds amazing, right?

Officially, this principle is known as EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Cardiovascular and resistance training programs are usually the ones that trigger the afterburn effect, but it also depends on the intensity of the training. You also need to consider how long you've been doing this. But most importantly, not all exercise triggers afterburn.

Fortunately, swimming triggers EPOC, which occurs with the amount of oxygen needed to help your body recover and return to its normal pre-workout state. Holding your breath underwater puts your body into a greater oxygen deficit compared to other sidewalk workouts, which further intensifies your workout and helps trigger afterburn.

Turning your swim session into an intense HIIT workout can trigger the afterburn effect. Alternate breaststroke and intense freestyle on each lap. Then try to do this continuously for about 20 minutes, maintaining the intensity of each puff. The big benefit of swimming is that it can easily trigger burns compared to other exercises.

4. Swimming is a form of strength training

Another reason you burn more calories in the pool is that it's also a form of resistance training. Even walking on water will make you feel like you are carrying extra weight on your body. In fact, it compares to weight lifting and is one of the reasons why swimming is such a great full-body workout.

To put things in perspective, walking on water is like walking on the sidewalk with weights on your ankles. Water is much, much denser than air. This is very important to keep in mind, as it is one of the reasons why swimming burns more calories than walking or running.

The added resistance of the water allows your body to work harder, keeping your heart rate up and helping you burn more calories. After a few laps in the pool, you'll feel like you've just come from a day of leg or upper body training. It doesn't feel like much when you're in the pool, but it feels downright heavy when you're outside.

One tip that experts recommend is to increase your speed as you complete more laps. That way, your heart rate will gradually increase, which is a healthy process, and you'll end up expending more energy. I would also recommend swimming at least 3 times a week for around 45-60 minutes for best results.

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5. Helps strengthen bones

As you age, your bones literally start to get thinner. Because of this, seniors are prone to osteoporosis and other bone diseases. There are few exercises that are easy on the bones and help fight weight loss... and you guessed it, swimming is one of them.

Because swimming is low-impact, it puts less stress on your bones and more stress on your muscles. Pulling the muscles around the bones is enough to help you rebuild your bone density and just make it stronger.

You can also train underwater while recovering from an injury. I remember tripping on my last marathon and only feeling the pain after the adrenaline wore off. He couldn't walk well for a few weeks and was a bit reluctant to get back to running or cycling. Swimming was my only option and I found it to be very therapeutic for my bones and that was my starting point for recovery.

If you have strong bones and can recover quickly from injuries, you can get back to your normal routine more quickly to burn the calories you want. Stronger bones mean more exercise, and more exercise means more calories burned.


5 Reasons Swimming Burns More Calories! - The supreme primate (2)Editor's Space

When I was little I swam a lot and it became one of my passions. Now that I'm swimming for the Ironman, I can tell you how much more fun it is when you're good at it, like running and cycling. Of the three, I'd say swimming has the least impact if you try.lose weightbecause gravity keeps you in the water and your knees and joints don't feel the pain they do when you hit the pavement while running or biking.


Swimming has many advantages over other exercises, and you can benefit most if you do it with the right form, intensity and duration. Strengthen your muscles, heart and bones while moving your whole body. What more can you ask for in a workout? Even if you use asmart watch for swimmingYou can calculate how many calories you burned per session!

Not only that, it's an enjoyable and social workout. In the pool you are relaxed and focused, exhausted and full of energy. Water has many therapeutic effects on a person, and it is also one of the most effective ways to stay healthy. And luckily, pools are now more accessible than ever.

I would love to hear your thoughts on incorporating swimming into your exercise program. Thinking of visiting your club soon? Let me know below in the comments section.




Why does swimming burn more calories? ›

Because the resistance of water is so much higher (and more consistent) than air, it's easier to burn calories while swimming. Simply put, you'll burn more calories swimming compared to running the same distance. Swimming is a full body workout, which results in more calories burned.

Does swimming faster burn more calories? ›

You burn more calories when you swim faster and cover more distance. The fastest swim stroke—the freestyle stroke—has the potential to burn the most calories. But, that doesn't mean you should opt for the freestyle every time you get into the pool. The number of calories you burn comes down to duration and frequency.

What sport burns the most calories swimming? ›

It's the hardest to learn, and definitely not for beginners, but Butterfly is at the top of the calorie burn list.
  • Average calorie burn: around 450 calories for 30 minutes swimming.
  • It's most effective all round stroke for toning and building muscles.
Nov 14, 2016

Why is swimming the most perfect exercise? ›

Swimming is a great workout because you need to move your whole body against the resistance of the water. Swimming is a good all-round activity because it: keeps your heart rate up but takes some of the impact stress off your body. builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness.

What burns the most calories? ›

Running is the winner for most calories burned per hour. Stationary bicycling, jogging, and swimming are excellent options as well. HIIT exercises are also great for burning calories. After a HIIT workout, your body will continue to burn calories for up to 24 hours.

Why swimming is best for weight loss? ›

Swimming burns calories and can help people manage their weight, tone their muscles, and improve their overall health and fitness. This activity engages several different muscle groups and the cardiovascular system, and it can provide an excellent workout for a wide variety of individuals.

Do skinnier people swim faster? ›

“A person's drag profile (the surface area facing the water in the direction of motion) is probably the most important factor in swimming speed. Therefore, a swimmer with larger girth will face more resistance than someone who is thin,” Heggy says.

Does swimming burn the most fat? ›

Swimming cardio is one of the most effective ways to lose weight including your belly fat. This requires you to keep swimming for 15-20 minutes at the time while maintaining your heart rate levels in the particular zone that we call – fat burning zone.

Are swimmers good in bed? ›

It requires agility, endurance, flexibility, and finesse. And athletes—in theory—can implement all of those skills in the bedroom; they have an innate understanding of how the human body works. And some believe that swimmers in particular seem to have an edge.

Is it better to swim or run? ›

Swimming boosts your heart rate, strengthens and tones your upper and lower body muscles, and burns calories, all while remaining a low-impact form of exercise. Running tones your lower body, torches calories and, because it's considered a weight-bearing workout, helps prevent bone loss, too.

What burns more calories swimming or cardio? ›

Swimming burns the most calories over short periods of time. Over longer periods, running is most likely to win out for most calories burned because few people can swim for a long time, but a lot of people can run for a long time.”

Does swimming melt belly fat? ›

However, it should be noted that regular swimming doesn't specifically target belly fat. Rather, it burns any excess fat that your body has reserved for energy, regardless of whether this fat is located on your stomach, hips, thighs, or other parts of your body.

Can swimming reduce belly fat? ›

Swimming cardio is one of the most effective ways to lose weight including your belly fat. This requires you to keep swimming for 15-20 minutes at the time while maintaining your heart rate levels in the particular zone that we call – fat burning zone.


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