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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Weight Management arrow Is Swimming Good for Weight Loss? Facts About This Activity

Is Swimming Good for Weight Loss? Facts About This Activity

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: April 7, 2023
7 min read 1412 Views 0 Comments
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Exercise is great for burning fat and building up your fitness level, including swimming short and long distances. Can this physical activity help you lose weight? Does it have many health benefits? We detail if swimming is good for weight loss and the benefits that come with it.

Swimming for weight loss

Swimming is a fun activity that can help you drop a few pounds.

Many people do swimming workouts to burn calories and lose fat in stubborn areas like the arms, back, stomach, and thighs. You can regularly go swimming to see weight loss results or feel healthier. Either way, you’re bound to strengthen your entire body. 

Going for a swim can help you achieve your weight goals. But how does it target that stubborn fat on your body? Is it more effective than other common exercises? 

In this article, you’ll learn if swimming is good for weight loss.

Swimming for Weight Loss – Is It a Good Exercise?

Yes, swimming has many health benefits that help you lose weight. You can go for a daily swim to burn calories and see a physical transformation over a few weeks. 

Any cardio-based workout can burn fat since you’re performing an intense exercise that gets your heart pumping. Swimming is a great example of cardio that works every muscle in the body. This can strengthen your muscles when working to fight through the water resistance.

The more energy you put into swimming, the more calories you will burn. A swimming workout is easy for both beginners and professionals. People with joint problems like arthritis, muscle strain, bursitis, and lupus can also go swimming, as the water supports 90% of your weight.

How many calories does swimming burn?

You can burn around 400–500 calories doing moderate swimming laps in one hour. Performing this exercise for a few days each week should encourage weight loss. 

How many calories you burn will also depend on your current body weight. Those who weigh 190 lbs might use more energy than someone who weighs 130 lbs. You can also perform vigorous swimming laps to burn extra belly fat on your weight loss journey. 

Just remember that everyone is different and can expect unique results. A swimming routine is dependent on your personal fitness goals. If you want to target those stubborn fat stores, try high-intensity swimming sessions that make you feel sweaty and worn out. 

How to Lose Weight With Swimming: 5 Easy Tips

Losing weight can be challenging, especially if you don’t know where to begin. Swimming is easy for beginners and can help you progress on your fitness journey. 

Here are 5 tips to help you lose weight with swimming: 

#1 Swim before eating

Exercising before your first meal will ensure your body burns fat instead of carbs. This is due to the metabolism eliminating carbs during sleep, so it will have no choice but to use fat for energy instead. Go swimming early in the morning to lose those extra pounds of weight.

#2 Swim at least 4 days a week

You should swim at least 4 days a week to eventually see physical results. This activity ensures you’re burning enough calories during swim workouts. It’s also recommended that people exercise for 300 minutes a week if they want to achieve their weight loss goals.

#3 Alternate swimming with strength training

If you want to burn more calories, you can perform strength training exercises outside of swimming. This should help you feel stronger when performing swim strokes at a moderate intensity. Building up your strength is also great for enhancing different muscles in your body.

Some examples of strength training exercises are lifting weights, using resistance bands, climbing stairs, hill walking, and using your body weight for push-ups. You can work on your strength on alternate days or combine it with your current swimming routine.

#4 Use water weights

You can use water weights during your workout in the swimming pool. This extra resistance can encourage you to burn more calories. To lose belly fat, you need to increase the intensity of your swimming sessions each week; otherwise, your body will get used to the same workouts.

Submerge yourself in the water and stop until the water reaches your chest. Hold the weights by your hips to feel the resistance. Many people do arm exercises with these weights, including bicep curls and lateral raises. You’ll soon feel the water pressure on your muscles. 

#5 Take a swim class

A swim class may teach you a new swimming technique that helps you lose weight. For instance, the swimming front crawl and backstroke might increase your heart rate, leading to more calories burned. New techniques always make water aerobics more fun and intriguing. 

How Does Swimming Change Your Body?

Swimming can tone the body, increase muscle mass, strengthen blood vessels, and improve your overall fitness. This exercise is great for your personal workout plan. 

People who don’t like going to the gym or performing interval training can swim to shed those pounds of fat. They might feel comfortable going at a faster pace during swim laps, or they may want to gradually increase their fitness level by doing a moderate-intensity workout.

Going for a swim can also be a way to wake your body up in the morning. This may lead to a better night’s rest. Any cardio-based workout will fuel your organs with enough energy to function properly. More energy leads to a healthier body that isn’t at risk of health problems.

4 Benefits of Swimming: There’s Why You Should Start Swimming

Swimming is a great workout that includes resistance training and plenty of hard swimming strokes. Anyone can try this form of exercise to boost their overall health. 

Let’s take a look at the 4 benefits of swimming: 

#1 Builds strength and endurance

A long or short swim can help you feel stronger, especially if you use weights that test your muscle strength. You can perform leg and arm exercises in the water. Even completing swim laps for 60 minutes can show how strong you are when doing different strokes.

Pushing against the water’s resistance is bound to get your heart racing, leading to improved endurance. Building great physical stamina can help you perform other high-intensity workouts in the future. You just need to have the confidence and motivation for it. 

#2 Full body workout

Swimming can help target every muscle group in your body. This may promote a 1–2-pound drop-off each week since you’ll most likely be burning lots of calories. Pushing against the water’s barrier can strengthen your muscles and eventually tone your entire physique. 

#3 Alleviates stress

Going for a swim can release endorphins in the brain that send out the “feel good” signals. This will reduce stress hormones (like cortisol) that bring your mood down. Swimming can also produce other positive chemicals like serotonin – a happy hormone that encourages good feelings.

#4 Great for your health

Any type of exercise will hugely benefit your health. Swimming can strengthen the heart and lungs, preventing health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cardiac arrest, and strokes. One 60-minute swim a day is all you need to reduce the risk of health conditions.

Just make sure to talk to a doctor before trying a new exercise. This ensures you don’t push yourself too hard, especially if you’re currently suffering from a health condition. Always know your personal limits and stop swimming if it becomes too much. 

Stretches to Help You Warm Up Before Swimming 

A 10-minute warm-up is super important for stretching your muscles.

You can start by doing a wall press that involves facing the wall and extending your arm. Place your hand flat against the wall with your thumb facing upwards. Rotate your torso away from the wall until you feel a stretch in your chest. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on the other side. 

Another option is arm swings that loosen up the muscles. Stand straight and move both of your arms in big circular motions. You can keep switching directions, but make sure this movement is stretching your arms. Do this for 30 seconds, or until you feel satisfied with the stretch. 

Warming up might seem easy, but it’s essential to know what stretches are good for swimming.


How many calories do you burn swimming for 30 minutes?

You can burn around 200–300 calories when swimming moderately for 30 minutes. The number of calories can depend on several factors like your weight and exercise intensity. Losing weight also requires you to consume fewer calories than you’re burning. 

Does swimming help burn belly fat?

Yes, swimming can help you lose fat from every part of your body. To lose more fat, limit your food intake throughout the day and increase the intensity of each swim. 

Does swimming burn more calories than running?

Running may burn the same amount of calories, depending on your current weight. Swimming might burn fewer calories if your heart isn’t racing during each lap. 

How many laps should I swim?

Try to do 20–30 laps in 30 minutes and build your way up from there. Getting stronger takes time and may not always be an easy process.

A Word from MD

Swimming is a great way to burn stubborn fat on your body. You can do this exercise if you’re a beginner wanting to see physical results. Try to go for a swim at least 4 times a week or perform strength training exercises on separate days. Either way, you’re bound to achieve your goals.

A simple swimming program can also improve your health. Cardiovascular exercise will strengthen the heart muscles, encouraging a healthier lifestyle that doesn’t comprise health problems. If you want to feel stronger, go for a swim every morning to feel awake and happy.

Consult with a doctor about swimming to see if it’s safe for you. Not everyone can perform intense workouts, so it’s better to double-check with a medical professional.


Swimming is a simple exercise that doesn’t require equipment or heavy lifting. 

People who don’t feel comfortable at the gym often go swimming to lose weight, so it’s worth trying if you’re looking for something fun. You can do small laps or short swims as an active recovery too. 

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: April 7, 2023
7 min read 1412 Views 0 Comments

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