Is Swimming Fat Loss Effective?

The answer to the question "Is swimming fat loss effective" is YES but not for the reason most would think. Let's see why!

It is widely admitted that swimming is one of the best and healthiest forms of aerobic exercise, which has millions of fans throughout the globe, but is also an activity most people have connected it with fun times (i.e. sunny days on the beach of a Greek island ).

As an exercise it is considered to be low impact, as it does not affect the joints, and it can help the improvement of our overall health and fitness levels.

Moreover it can provide an uplifting of our cardiovascular functionality as well as increase our muscle tone thus assisting in becoming leaner.

Swimming is a great exercise both for the upper and the lower body, and, according to Dave Thomas, USA Swimming sport-development consultant in Colorado Springs, only 20-22 minutes of swimming fat loss or for cardiovascular training can assist us in losing about 300 calories.

What do scientists say

Scientific circles have provided the community with contradicting studies concerning the question " Is swimming fat loss effective?"

Some scientific researches such as the one published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine (1987 May-Jun;15(3):275-9), which did not show positive effects of swimming on fat loss, compared to such activities as brisk walking, cycling and other types of cardio.

The same idea is reiterated in the work of Professor Louise Burke, a Head of Nutrition at the Australian Institute of Sport, who found out that swimmers usually have higher levels of body fat compared to other athletes.

However, there’s an alternative viewpoint which supports swimming for fat loss.

A group of scientists at Division of Physical Therapy, University of Utah, led by Gappmaier and Lake, concluded in their own research, which was published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 2006 Dec; 46(4): 564-9, that water aerobic activities, such as swimming, assist in more effective abdominal fat loss.

These findings confirmed earlier theories about the effectiveness of swimming fat loss, especially abdominal fat loss, suggested by an expert team in the Department of Kinesiology, School of Health Sciences, West Chester University, which were presented at American College of Sports Medicine, 1999, Seattle, and published in Appetite magazine, 2000 Aug; 35(1): 1-7.

Who is Right and Why?

It is rather awkward that different kind of scientist teams can be driven to so, almost, opposite conclusions about swimming.

However what can be found by looking at the details of the studies is that none of them, while they try to see if swimming for fat loss purposes is effective, or not, has calculated the effect of the water temperature in their results.

To be a bit more specific , there is an important difference between the conditions of the first group of studies and those of the second one, regarding temperature range.

Swimming in cold water is usually linked to increased appetite, followed by increased calorie intake whereas swimming in water of 27-28 degrees Celsius does not cause this effect.

This hypothesis was confirmed by a study of experts at the Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, University of Florida, who found out that exercise in cold water is linked to increased calorie intake (published in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 2005 Feb; 15(1): 38-47).

Therefore, swimming fat loss is effective provided that it will take place in warm water.

Those who truly enjoy swimming and want to incorporate this type of aerobic exercise in their daily workouts can benefit greatly from it, because trying to lose fat with the exercise someone enjoys the most, can bring amazing results and rapid fat loss.

Swimming Styles

As far as swimming styles, Experts from FitDay online journal suggest using the following:

Sidestorke: A basic style of swimming for fat loss, sidestroke can be performed by lying on the side and extending the arms one after another above the shoulder.

Front Crawl: The fastest swimming style can be performed by alternating overarm strokes combined with active flutter kicking the feet.

Backstroke: Similar to the previous swimming style but the swimmer floats face up.

Breaststroke: This is a relatively slow swimming style which can be performed by extending arms outward, with palms turning outwards, and using frog-kick of the legs to support the movement.

Butterfly Stroke: A combination of windmill-like movements of arms with downward dolphin kicks of the legs. The hardest of all but the one that rips the most benefits as it is high intensity exercise.

Return from swimming fat loss to fat loss workouts

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