On top of its long list of health, fitness and wellbeing benefits, an hour of moderate-pace swimming burns a not-to-be-sniffed-at 500 calories an hour. Want to better that? Here’s how, with a few small tweaks to your training, you can fire up your workout and burn more calories – without spending longer in the pool.
Switch strokes and burn up to 700 calories an hour As with all sports, the length of your session and the amount of effort you put in help determine just how many calories you burn. However, by switching swimming strokes you could eat up an extra 200 calories at each swimming session. The most effective swimming strokes for calorie burning? Butterfly and breaststroke. Thanks to the full body effort it takes to perform them, nail an hour of either and you could burn a whopping 700 calories!
Try something different in the pool If you want a change from swimming laps, simple exercises like aqua running and jogging (which are harder in the pool due to the greater resistance water provides) offer a great way to burn calories. In fact, a moderate jog in the water can burn around 550 calories an hour and it works all your leg muscles too. If you feel a bit self-conscious by yourself, join a group class, such as aqua-jogging or aqua-aerobics.
Tone up and work harder using training aids Training aids, such as a pullbuoys and kickboards, allow you to focus on specific muscle groups – great if you want to tone up or work on just your upper or lower body. Choose a kickboard if you want to work your legs, or a pullbuoy to target your arms.
Reduce your rest periods If you spend more than 10% of your time in the pool resting, aim to reduce your rest periods. Resting less and swimming for longer will keep your heart rate up and help to burn calories. Setting yourself realistic goals whilst you swim, such as reducing your lap times, or swimming for longer, will help you to build momentum and give you a goal to aim for.
See you in the pool! For more training tips and swim fitness advice, including step-by-step instructional videos and tips from our elite swimming coaches, visit our News, Tips and Techniques area.