Are you considering swimming to lose weight? Excellent! There are a couple of things you should know before jumping in the water. I have been swimming for 16 years and I used swimming exclusively as my cardio to reduce my body fat by 54% in 3 months. So here it goes. First, swimming long distances at a steady speed is not very effective for losing weight. In fact, swimming ranks below running and biking in terms of calories burned. However, I will describe a method of swimming that will torch calories and you will only need to spend about 20 minutes three days per week swimming.
The second thing you need to know is that it takes practice to become proficient at swimming. If you are just taking it up, you will need to stick with it for a while before you start getting good. The good news is that you don’t have to wait to get good before you start losing weight. Plus, swimming is something you can do all your life because it is low impact. It doesn’t hurt your joints like running or similar high impact activities.
So, what is this excellent method of swimming that will help you lose weight fast? Well, it is called cardiovascular interval training, and it works especially well in swimming. Basically, it is swimming hard for a short period of time and swimming at medium intensity for a slightly longer time. How do you know what your intensity is? You use what’s called the perceived rate of exertion scale. A number one on the scale is equivalent of sitting on your couch and a number ten is swimming as hard as you can. In the six to seven range, you would be breathing hard but could still hold a conversation, albeit with difficulty.
So, for example, you could start out with a warm-up of 5 minutes in the 4-5 area of the scale. This would be an easy pace that is just starting to make you breathe hard. Then you could alternate 30 seconds of swimming at a level 9-10 with 2 minutes of swimming at a 6-7. Warm up for about five minutes, perform ten minutes of this interval I just described, and then swim easy for about five minutes to cool down.
There has been significant research done on cardiovascular interval training that indicates it burns more calories both during your workout and after you finish. Your heart rate stays elevated for longer when swimming like this. Therefore, you burn more calories and lose more weight.
As I said, swimming is the cardiovascular exercise I used on two different occasions to lose 13 and 20 pounds of fat. You can certainly lose weight swimming when you do it with the right intensity. Good luck and stick with it!