How Many Calories Do You Burn by Swimming?

Swimming is a cardiovascular exercise that has the ability to burn 500 calories or more in an hour. This exercise helps to develop strong muscles, particularly in the hips, back, shoulders and legs. In addition, it improves lung capacity better than any other cardiovascular exercise because of the intervals between breaths. Learning a few tricks can help ensure a person burns more calories while swimming.

Calories Burnt While Swimming

A man weighing about 190 pounds can burn 677 calories if he swims for an hour at a moderate pace. A woman weighing about 163 pounds can burn 581 calories if she swims for an hour. In both cases, it is assumed that the person uses freestyle and alternates strokes between arms and legs. The butterfly stroke can burn a massive amount of about 948 calories in an hour.

Changing Intensity Helps

Many swimming and weight loss experts agree that swimmers should try to keep their heart rate at about 80 percent of the maximum while swimming. To come to the figure, a person needs to subtract his age from 220 and then multiply the resultant number by 0.8. While it is not possible for a person to maintain a vigorous rate for a full hour, by changing intensity, he can ensure that his heart rate is kept high. Most professional swimmers use a technique known as ladders and pyramids which allows them to increase or decrease the intensity to keep their heart rate elevated. A lay person can try this technique by swimming some laps as fast as possible and some moderately paced. This will also ensure that the person does not take time out to rest, as it will prevent the person from burning calories. By alternating between leisurely and fast-paced laps, a person can catch his breath and do away the need to rest in between.

Points to Consider

If a person is swimming with the aim of burning calories and losing weight, he should ensure that his calorie intake does not exceed the calories burnt. If this should happen, the moment the fat is burnt, fat reserves will replace it. At the same time, the person should realise that swimming alone cannot be used for effective weight management. The person should make healthy food choices too, comprising of fruits, whole grains, vegetables and lean protein. This will allow the person to feel fitter even prior to losing weight by swimming.