Swimming for Fitness and Weight Loss Tips


swimming for fitness tips

When some people decide to lose weight, the first thing they do is get — or renew — their gym membership. But you don’t have to hit the gym to transform your body. As a matter of fact, you might have better results with activities you enjoy, like swimming.

Swimming isn’t only a great way to cool off on a hot day, it’s also one of the best ways to lose weight. So, how can you swim to lose weight? Read on for a few tips and tricks.

1. Swim in the morning before eating

A person swimming in water

A morning swim isn’t feasible for everyone, but it’s worth a try if you can access a pool before work. “Waking up in the morning and going for your swim will leave your body in a fasted state ready to utilize those fat stores as energy,” explains Nick Rizzo, a trainer and fitness director at RunRepeat.com, an athletic shoe review site. “Swimming isn’t only a great form of cardio, but it’s a full-body workout as well, so you can expect some great results.”

2. Swim harder and faster

A man is sitting in the water

Swimming burns a lot of calories when you’re just starting out. But as your swimming skills improve and you become more efficient, your heart rate doesn’t increase as much, warns Paul Johnson, founder of CompleteTri.com, a website providing guidance, tips, and gear reviews for swimmers, triathletes, and fitness enthusiasts.

The solution, according to Johnson, is to swim harder and faster to keep your heart rate up. Wear a waterproof fitness tracker to monitor your heart rate while swimming. Your target heart rate during a moderate-intensity workout should be about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate.

3. Swim four to five days a week

To lose weight, the more physically active you are, the better. This applies whether you’re jogging, walking, using cardio equipment, or swimming. The frequency of swimming for weight loss is the same as other cardiovascular exercises, so aim for four to five days a week for the best results, according to Jamie Hickey, a certified personal trainer and nutritionist with Truism Fitness.

4. Start slow

Start with 15 to 20 minute swims every other day, and then gradually increase to 30 minute swims five days a week, as your body allows. If you start a new swimming routine at too high an intensity, muscle soreness and fatigue could cause you to give up.

5. Alternate swimming with water aerobics

You don’t have to swim every day to see results. Take a water aerobics class on your off days. This is an excellent low-stress exercise to keep moving on active recovery days.

6. Use water weights

If you’re swimming to lose weight and tone up, do a few bicep curls with water dumbbells in between laps. The water creates resistance, which can help build strength and endurance.

7. Adjust your diet

With any weight loss program, you must burn more calories than you take in, swimming is no exception.

“If your aim is to lose a few pounds, you still need to make adjustments to your diet,” mentions Keith McNiven, founder of the personal training company Right Path Fitness.

“And be careful. Swimming takes a lot of energy, so you’ll need to refuel with food. Also, the cold water can cause your appetite to increase substantially after a session.”

If you’re feeling hungrier, McNiven recommends adding more vegetables to your plate, grabbing a protein shake, and staying away from snacking.

These are some expert tips for swimming for fitness.

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