Different research studies undertaken about the effects of swimming and weight loss have all resulted in a common finding that Swimming is not considered to be an ideal exercise for weight loss, when compared to land based exercises such as running. There are numerous reasons as to why these studies have concluded this. Here are some examples of what the research finding have to say:
- It is widely accepted that a high heart rate is required to burn fat. Swimming at a speed which can elevate the heart rate high enough to burn fat is most difficult for beginners and therefore to be able to reach the necessary energy exertion to burn fat usually takes time and effort. The time and effort required to achieve weight loss goals is something that most participants are not willing to wait for. Like anything weight loss will not happen overnight. Most people who participate in exercise to lose weight are impatient and searching for a quick solution. This is why most will ignore swimming as a weight loss activity and rather participate in land based exercise.
- Because water temperatures have a cooling affect on the body, it is thought that the body of a regular swimmer will build an insulating layer of fat under the skin to regulate their body temperature. In addition to this is the fact that being cold the body increases the body’s appetite to increase the BMR and help fuel the body’s requirement to increase it’s core temperature.
- As the human body usually increases temperature during land based exercise, it actually requires a lift in the BMR to cool the body’s temperature down to normal after the completion of the physical activity, by sweating. Therefore more energy is expired after land based exercising than swimming due to the fact that out body temperature does not increase as much during swimming as what it does during land based exercises.
Now to some degree these arguments are true, but I believe that any exercise workout which is correctly planned over a substantial period of time, in conjunction with a healthy balanced diet will deliver results. Swimming is an exercise which can lift the BMR and as an exercise it is possible to lose weight, maybe not as quickly as running but it can be a useful tool in the fight against obesity.
It is important when undertaking any exercise regime, whether it be land based or in our case swimming to follow some basic principles which will aid in reaching our desired goal of weight loss. In the case of swimming, here are a few tips which need to be followed to get the best out of your aquatic exercise:
- You can exercise all you like, but if you consume too many calories you will not win the battle of the bulge. This refers to understanding your BMR. In saying that, diet alone is not a winning approach. It has been proven that people who use diet alone usually find all their weight loss return as soon as they stop dieting. It is essential that with every healthy diet program you incorporate an exercise schedule as research has proven beyond doubt that exercise in conjunction with a healthy diet is the best method to weight loss.
- Intensity of the swimming workout is an important factor to being successful of reaching your desired results. There is no point in exercising to lose weight if you are not prepared to exert your self to the minimum requirement to lose the weight. It is imperative that when undertaking your workouts you apply yourself and by doing so you will see the results in no time. This is the case for people participating in swimming to slim. If you are just swimming to exercise and weight loss is not a goal, then swimming at your own pace is fine.
- It is not enough to swim for 10-15 minutes per workout as you are usually required to train for at least 30 mins three to four times a week to feel and see the benefits of your swimming workouts. In saying this, it is important that if you are starting out a training regime you do not over exert yourself. You need to listen to your body and understand what it is telling you. Most people don’t reach their goals of weight lose because they push themselves way to hard when they begin their training programs, so much so that they cant move the next day or worse still suffer an injury. Remember training intensity is something which should be increased after building a basic level of fitness first. Don’t rush in all guns blazing to be left short of the finish line.
- Interval training is proven to be a phenomenally good form of training to increase the strength and fitness of your cardio system and lose weight. It requires short bursts of activity such as sprinting one lap in freestyle and then slowing down for the next two laps before sprinting another lap and so on. This will be further discussed in swimming workouts.
It is important to understand that any exercise undertaken to lose weight can aid you to reach your desired results of weight loss. Swimming to slim is an exercise which has multiple benefits for the participant, but with weight loss you get out of it what you put in. I have devised a pretty simple equation which sums up the ability to lose weight:
Healthy Diet + Regular Training + Discipline = Weight Loss/Desired Results.
It is a matter of a proper training regime, a healthy diet and most importantly, discipline. It doesn’t matter how less we eat, if we are not active we are not burning calories. We could train the house down three, four or five times a week but if we don’t have a healthy diet or control over our appetite, we will soon realise that we are not achieving our desired results.