Swimming to Burn Calories: A Helpful Guide
Swimming is an excellent low-impact cardio workout that you can start as an infant, and continue for your entire life. It is the only of its kind, and has a ton of benefits that you can enjoy—but does swimming burn enough calories? We are getting into that today.
What Does “Burning Calories” Mean?
“Calorie” is a word we hear a lot. How many calories are in your food? How many calories did you burn? Calories in, calories out. But, what even is a calorie, and why would you want to burn it? A calorie, in simple terms, is a measurement for energy. We consume a calorie (or kilocalorie), and then our body stores it away for energy-use later on. When we exercise, we burn those consumed calories to produce the energy needed to make it through the workout ahead. But, some workouts burn more than others. Take, for example, running. A 150-pound person who runs at six mph for one hour can burn around 680 calories, whereas the same person doing Hatha Yoga for an hour will burn about 283. That’s a big difference, but where does swimming land on this scale?
Swimming to Burn Calories
Swimming is a fantastic workout because of its cardiovascular benefits and low-impact nature. The amount of calories burned while swimming significantly depends on the effort you put into your workout (which is the case for all exercise). A 150-pound person swimming for one hour can expect to burn around 400 calories, according to caloriecontrol.org.
Why Calorie Count Doesn’t Always Matter
We tend to focus a ton on calories in the fitness world, and while it is good to know where you stand, there are other things to take into consideration. With swimming and other low-impact cardiovascular exercises, this is especially important. A runner, for instance, should be taking quite a bit of rest days every week. They are completing high-impact exercises, and their body needs time to repair and recover. But swimming workouts are almost virtually impact-free, meaning you may be able to swim for longer periods and more frequently. So, while a one-hour run may burn 680 calories, you should only complete them two to three times a week. A one-hour swim, however, will burn around 400 and you could essentially do it every day.
How To Swim To Burn Calories
There are tons of different exercises that you can do in the pool, from AquaFit to pool sports, but when it comes to calorie burning, learning to lap swim is the way to go. There are a ton of swimming strokes to try, and since variety is the spice of life, you should see how many you can learn. But, when it comes to torching calories, the butterfly stroke reigns supreme. According to the Calorie Cruncher on Swimming.org, you can burn more than 800 calories an hour with the butterfly stroke. But don’t be fooled, an hour of swimming the butterfly stroke is an enormous task. So, start small. Learn to lap swim first, and then begin to track time and laps.
Here are some of the other swimming strokes ranked by most calories burned per hour, according to Swimming.org:
- Butterfly: 808 calories
- Breaststroke: 734 calories
- Backstroke: 514 calories
- Leisurely Swimming: 440 calories
Should I Swim to Burn Calories?
The answer to this is simple. When you like your workout, you work out. So, whether you love swimming, going to group exercise classes, lifting weights, water aerobics, or doing yoga, you need to do what you love to do (making sure you switch up your workout and challenge yourself, of course). One of the reasons that swimming is such a fantastic exercise to add to your routine is because you can swim well into old age, making the effort you put in today beneficial to you for years to come.
Where To Swim
At Chuze Fitness, we have lap pools at several of our locations. We offer group exercise classes in the pool, and always have new and experienced swimmers practicing their laps. So, come on in and give it a go. We would love to see you in the pool at any of our locations below.