To lose weight you need two things – a healthy diet and exercise. There are many ways to exercise and your choice depends on what you enjoy and how much time you have available. Two of the easiest are walking and swimming. We all know the benefits of jogging and brisk walking. But is swimming good for weight loss? It is very good. If you spend 30 minutes a day moderate swimming you will burn about 200 calories. Increase that to 30 minutes a day vigorous swimming and you will burn nearly 350 calories. With even a moderately healthy diet you will be on your way to losing a pound a week and this can be increased if you swim longer.
When people think of exercise swimming is not always the first choice. The effort just getting to a swimming spot is a more than jogging round your block and that is why fewer people swim than jog. But most people are within a reasonable distance of somewhere they can swim and, if you do make the effort, results can be impressive. You will be exercising all your muscles, not just some as with jogging or walking, and there will be no stress on the joints. Swimming is particularly good for older people, many of whom have joint problems and find other forms of exercise difficult.
There are four basic swimming strokes and they work all of you muscles, but some strokes concentrate on particular areas.
Freestyle or Front Crawl: This is good for the back muscles and hamstrings.
Backstroke: This uses the back muscles and hamstrings.
Breaststroke: Exercises the legs using the frog kick.
Butterfly: Good for shoulder and back muscles.
It has been said that you can put on weight swimming. This can happen, but usually as a result of swimming in cold water. Cold water swimming makes you hungry so you eat a lot after your swim. It is just the usual problem of eating more calories than you burn and your weight going up as a result.
Of course if you cannot swim this is all irrelevant. But why can’t you swim? If there is no physical or psychological reason not to it is a really good idea to learn. You will get fit, feel safe on boats and might even save a life. Most pools have adult swimming classes and don’t worry about looking silly. You will be learning with other people and will find swimming good for weight loss and great fun as well.
See you soon,
22 May 2012
Photo. Creative_Loafing (Flickr)