When thinking about working out to lose weight, most of us picture lacing up our running shoes or heading to the gym. But those activities get boring after a while, and they can also be hard on people with bad joints or a lot of weight to lose.
So how can you exercise while protecting your joints, having fun, and losing weight? Some would say that swimming is the answer.
But is swimming for weight loss really an effective strategy? Keep reading to find out.
Benefits of Swimming
Swimming has three main benefits over other types of exercises. First, it combines cardiovascular and strength training into one motion. Swimming through water creates resistance (known as drag), meaning your heart, lungs, and muscles have to work harder than they would on land.
Second, it’s essentially zero-impact. This makes it an ideal exercise for people recovering from an injury, with arthritis or chronic pain, or with a low level of fitness. The buoyancy of the water means you can walk, run, and jump without putting undue strain on your joints.
Third, swimming can be modified to suit anyone’s fitness level. You don’t need to swim laps for an hour straight to reap benefits—even walking through the water and doing light plyometric exercises can help.
Making a Splash in Your Water Workout
But is swimming a good way to lose weight? Yes, if you’re consistent. One study found that, among a group of older women, swimming 3x a week was more effective at improving both body weight and body fat distribution as compared to a similar walking program.
The CDC recommends swimming as part of a healthy lifestyle. By their calculations, a 154lb person can burn over 500 calories per hour doing slow freestyle laps! That’s nearly as many as you would burn an hour of running, and you’re also getting a true full-body workout.
If you’re just starting out, consider using a kickboard to help you float until you’re more comfortable in the water. Then, move on to easier strokes like freestyle and breaststroke, increasing the duration and intensity of your workouts over time.
How to Dive In
Want to give swimming a try, but you don’t live by a body of water? No problem!
First, check your local high school or college—they often have pool hours open to the public for lap swimming, either free or for a low cost. The next place to look is a YMCA, gym, or rec center. There, you might find a water aerobics class that can help you boost your weight loss even more!
If swimming in public isn’t for you, it might be time to consider installing a backyard pool. You can even get a pool custom designed for your exercise needs—long and narrow for lap swimming, or a bigger shallow end for water aerobics.
Swimming for Weight Loss: Will You Take the Plunge?
All in all, swimming for weight loss can be an effective part of your exercise strategy. If you maintain a healthy, balanced diet and head to the pool regularly, you could see yourself heading toward a trimmer waistline in the future.
If you’re ready to think about getting a pool of your own, contact Wetworks Pool and Spa. Our experienced team will work with you one on one to design the dream pool that can help you meet your fitness goals. Give us a call today—we’d be happy to answer any questions you have!