If you are looking for a way to help you lose weight, then swimming can be a great idea. After all, swimming can help you develop muscles throughout your body while reducing your weight. Apart from lowering your chances of being obese or overweight, it could improve your physical condition too. That’s not all. Swimming is considered a low impact sport, which means injury or stress to certain parts of your body is minimized. Now, you might be asking: “how many laps should I swim to take advantage of these benefits?” Read on to find out.

How Many Calories Will Swimming Burn?

There are many factors to consider in terms of the number of calories you burn. One of them is your weight since the heavier you are, the more calories you can burn. Your metabolism is another thing to consider regardless of your weight. What's more, your swimming stroke will also affect the result.

Your Weight

Generally, the number of calories you can burn depends on your weight. This means lower weight leads to lower calories and higher weight means more calories burned.

For instance:

  • If you weigh 130 pounds, swimming in freestyle for an hour burns 413 calories if you swim slowly or 590 calories for swimming fast.

  • If you weigh 155 pounds, you can burn 493 and 704 calories when you swim slowly and fast in freestyle, respectively.

Keep in mind that these numbers are according to basal metabolic rate only and not conclusive.

The Type of Stroke

Your weight is not the only determinant factor for the number of calories you burned. If you want the answer to your “how many laps should I swim to burn calories?” question, then you need to look into your swimming stroke as well. This is because your technique has a direct impact on your manner of swimming.

In other words, people with poor stroke technique tend to burn more calories compared to another person with excellent swimming technique since he swims better.

Nonetheless, swimming can help you burn 500 to 1,200 calories per hour, regardless of your swimming technique. If you want to know specifically how much calories you can burn, check out this online swimming calories calculator.

How to Burn More Calories in Swimming

You know that you can burn calories at least 500 calories when swimming. Believe it or not, you could burn more than this number and make swimming your ultimate weight loss partner. How is this possible? Check out these tips on how to burn more calories in the pool.

Swim Vigorously

To burn more calories, it is important to keep your heart rate up to 80 percent. Swimming vigorously keeps your heart rate up, which means more calories burned. Still, give yourself a break after 10 to 15 laps since this could cause fatigue as well.


Go for Sprint

If you want to burn more calories in swimming, then you have to swim fast. Don’t take it literally. Pacing is still important to help you last longer in the pool. By sprint, this means do one easy lap followed by a fast one. As you build your pace, increase the number of slow and fast laps. This allows you to burn more calories in the pool and at the same time, you won’t get tired easily.


Remember the Ladder

Many swimming experts refer to a technique called “ladder.” This technique is where you break your laps into segments with 15 to 30 seconds rest in between laps. Most swimming experts recommend a rest after every one, two, four, and six laps, and then back to four, two, and one.


Get Some Rest, but Rest Less

You have gotten some tricks as to "how many laps should I swim to burn calories as much as possible", actually, how you rest during swimming is also important. It’s okay to rest since doing laps continuously could burn you out and reduce your time in the pool. Rest also allows you to recover, giving you more energy to do more laps.

Still, this doesn’t mean you should loiter in the pool area. This means 10 seconds rest in between laps or swimming slow. The key is to allow yourself to recover in a manner that you won’t lose your intensity as well.


It’s Okay to Play

Doing laps could help you lose weight. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to add toys like swim fins, kickboard, foam buoys, or hand paddles. Apart from the calories you will burn, pool toys could help tons your arms and legs as well.

Bonus: The Swimmer’s Diet

What you eat is important too. One hour before you swim, eat carbs like pasta or rice in small amounts to give you energy without feeling too heavy. Add fruits like banana for your source of potassium. Skip fatty foods as much as possible since they are hard to digest and may affect the weight loss benefits as well. Don’t forget your bottle of water to keep you hydrated.

It is important to replenish the nutrients you lost 20 to 30 minutes after your swim. Make sure you have banana or protein bars on hand to help you recover quickly. For your main meal, don’t forget to incorporate protein for muscle replenishment and repair. Lean chicken, fish, eggs, turkey, and low-fat cheese are good. Fresh fruits, wholegrain pasta, and yogurt are also good food options you can have after swim.

All in all, to answer your question, “how many laps should I swim to lose weight,” the answer is simple: it doesn’t really matter. What matters most is you vary your strokes and intensity, and eat wisely. You will then surely enjoy the weight loss benefits of swimming.


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