In the world of fitness, swimming often takes a backseat to other forms of exercise like running or weightlifting when it comes to burning fat. However, this aquatic exercise offers a multitude of benefits that make it a powerful contender in the fight against fat accumulation. The science behind swimming shows how this form of exercise helps burn fat, metabolizes fat, and such science has paved the way to show the best forms of swim training to maximize fat-burning potential.
Swimming is not just a refreshing recreational activity but also a powerful tool for fat burning and overall fitness. As a full-body workout, it engages multiple muscle groups, elevates the heart rate, and incinerates calories effectively. Whether you're a beginner taking lessons or a competitive triathlete, understanding the interaction between swimming and fat burning can propel you toward a healthier, leaner physique.
Your Strictly Swimming London coach can help you achieve that slender body.
Understanding Fat Burning and Metabolism
Before delving into the specifics of how swimming aids in fat burning, it's useful to grasp the basic concepts of fat metabolism. The body primarily relies on two sources of energy: carbohydrates and fats. During moderate-intensity activities, the body initially uses carbohydrates for energy due to their quick availability. However, as the intensity and duration of exercise increase, the body gradually shifts to using fats as the primary energy source.
Lipolysis: This process involves the breakdown of triglycerides (the storage form of fats) into fatty acids and glycerol. These fatty acids are then released into the bloodstream to be utilized as fuel by various tissues, including muscles, during exercise.
Beta-Oxidation: Once in the muscles, fatty acids undergo beta-oxidation, a metabolic pathway that breaks down these fatty acids further to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body's primary energy currency.
EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption): After exercise, the body's oxygen consumption remains elevated as it works to restore various physiological processes to their pre-exercise states. This phase requires energy, and a significant portion of this energy comes from fat oxidation.
Swimming significantly influences metabolism by increasing the body's energy expenditure. As you swim, your muscles work harder against water resistance, prompting a higher metabolic rate. This, in turn, enhances fat metabolism as the body utilizes stored fats for energy, contributing to weight loss and improved overall metabolic health over time. Additionally, the post-swim period involves an elevated metabolic rate as the body works to recover, repair tissues, and restore balance, further enhancing the long-term benefits of swimming on metabolism.
Swimming and Fat Burning
Swimming, being a full-body workout, engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously. The water's resistance amplifies the effort required, making swimming an excellent aerobic exercise. This resistance helps build muscle strength, enhances cardiovascular conditioning, and amplifies the overall calorie burn during a swim, making it an efficient and effective fat-burning exercise. Let's explore how swimming facilitates fat burning:
Adults tend to burn more fat when swimming due to their higher muscle mass compared to children or adolescents. Muscle tissue requires more energy, and as adults engage a larger proportion of their muscle mass during swimming, it results in increased fat oxidation to meet the heightened energy demand. Additionally, adults typically engage in longer and more sustained swimming sessions, allowing them to tap into fat stores for a more extended duration, further facilitating fat loss.
Triathletes often excel at burning fat during swimming due to their rigorous training routines. Their high level of cardiovascular fitness enables them to sustain longer and more intense swimming sessions, promoting fat oxidation as a primary energy source. Moreover, the cross-training nature of triathlons ensures that these athletes engage in various workouts, including swimming, which enhances their overall metabolic efficiency, aiding in fat burning throughout the entire race.
Optimizing Swimming Training for Fat Burning
While swimming inherently offers fat-burning benefits, structuring your training routine or lessons effectively can maximize its potential. Here are some strategies to consider:
Swimming is a versatile and effective exercise for burning fat and promoting overall fitness. Its ability to engage multiple muscle groups, elevate heart rate, and provide a low-impact workout makes it an attractive option for individuals seeking to shed excess fat. Through processes like lipolysis, beta-oxidation, and EPOC, swimming kick starts the body's mechanisms to utilize stored fat as a source of energy. By structuring your swimming training to include interval training, endurance sessions, variety, and consistency, you can unlock its full potential for fat burning. So, the next time you dive into the pool or take your lessons, know that you're not only enjoying the water but also engaging in a powerful fat-burning workout that benefits both body and mind.
At Strictly Swimming London, we can incorporate or even totally focus on fat burning workouts during your lessons.
In the world of sport and fitness, swimming, running, and cycling are three of the most popular cardiovascular exercises. Each activity has its own set of benefits and appeals to different individuals based on their goals, preferences, and physical conditions.
All three sports can help you become healthier and fitter, however amongst these disciplines, swimming often stands out as the ultimate winner. It not only improves your heart and lung health but also has some unique benefits that make it different from running and cycling. All three of these activities work your muscles and make your heart stronger, but swimming has a special advantage because of the water's resistance and buoyancy. Swimming is good for your joints, gives your whole body a workout, and can help you relax mentally. These are benefits that running and cycling can offer but not to the same level as swimming. So, if you're looking for a lesson or exercise that's gentle on your joints, gives you a full-body workout, and helps you relax, please contact Strictly Swimming London and book a lesson and let us teach you on why swimming is a great choice for staying healthy.
1. Low-Impact Exercise:
One of the standout advantages of swimming is its low-impact nature. When you swim, the buoyancy of the water reduces the stress on your joints, making it an ideal exercise for people of all ages and fitness levels, including those with joint issues or injuries. Running and cycling, while effective forms of exercise, can take a toll on the joints over time due to the repetitive impact. Swimming allows for a challenging cardiovascular workout without the risk of joint strain.
Swimming stands out as a remarkably low-impact exercise that brings a wealth of benefits to the body, particularly to the joints and other crucial areas. Unlike high-impact activities such as running or even certain forms of weightlifting, swimming involves moving through water, which provides a cushioning effect that significantly reduces the stress on joints and bones.
The buoyant nature of water is a key factor that contributes to the low-impact nature of swimming. When you're submerged in water, your body weight is supported, leading to decreased pressure on joints like the knees, hips, and ankles. This buoyancy not only lessens the risk of impact-related injuries but also allows individuals with joint conditions or those recovering from injuries to engage in exercise without exacerbating their discomfort.
Moreover, swimming's fluid movements work in harmony with the body's natural range of motion. The water's resistance provides a gentle yet effective workout, engaging muscles without straining joints. This makes swimming an ideal choice for people seeking a cardiovascular exercise that enhances muscle strength while minimizing wear and tear on the body's framework.
In addition to its joint-friendly attributes, swimming offers an overall workout that promotes balanced muscle development. The various strokes and movements required during swimming engage muscles from head to toe, encouraging overall body strength without placing undue stress on any single area. This comprehensive workout not only helps in muscle toning but also supports joint stability by ensuring that surrounding muscles adequately support them. Many people move from running to triathlon to try and get the balance of low impact sports in their weekly workouts.
For those recovering from injuries or individuals with conditions like arthritis, swimming can serve as a valuable rehabilitation tool. The controlled environment of the water allows for gradual progression in intensity and range of motion, enabling individuals to regain strength and mobility while minimizing the risk of setbacks.
2. Full-Body Engagement:
Swimming stands out for its ability to engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. The resistance provided by water forces your body to work against it, resulting in a comprehensive full-body workout. In contrast, running primarily targets the lower body muscles, and cycling focuses predominantly on the legs. Swimming's various strokes, such as freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly, engage the arms, legs, core, and back, leading to balanced muscle development and improved overall strength.
Swimming stands as an exceptional workout that engages and develops all major muscle groups in the body. As you glide through the water, the resistance it offers requires your muscles to work against it, leading to a comprehensive full-body workout. Different swimming strokes target specific muscle groups, ensuring a balanced approach to muscle development.
Strokes like freestyle involve the arms, shoulders, chest, and back, sculpting the upper body. Breaststroke engages the chest, shoulders, triceps, and thighs. Butterfly challenges the core, back, shoulders, and legs, enhancing both strength and coordination. Backstroke strengthens the upper back, shoulders, and arms.
Additionally, the water's resistance aids in toning muscles without placing excess strain on joints. Whether you're an occasional swimmer or a dedicated enthusiast, swimming's ability to target every muscle group makes it a versatile and effective way to achieve a well-rounded and balanced physique.
3. Cardiovascular Fitness:
All three activities – swimming, running, and cycling – contribute to cardiovascular fitness by increasing heart rate and improving circulation. However, swimming has a unique advantage when it comes to breath control. Coordinating your breathing with your strokes enhances lung capacity and strengthens the cardiovascular system. This controlled breathing aspect adds an extra layer of benefits to swimming that sets it apart from running and cycling.
4. Calorie Burn and Weight Management:
Swimming is a calorie-burning powerhouse. The resistance of the water requires more effort, resulting in higher energy expenditure. Moreover, the body's natural response to the cooling effect of water involves burning extra calories to maintain its core temperature. Running and cycling also burn calories effectively, but swimming's combination of resistance and temperature dynamics provides a distinctive advantage in calorie consumption and weight management.
5. Joint Flexibility and Range of Motion:
The fluid movements of swimming promote joint flexibility and a wider range of motion. The stretching and reaching involved in swimming strokes help improve flexibility in the shoulders, hips, and spine. Running and cycling, though beneficial, lack the same level of joint flexibility enhancement due to their repetitive nature. Swimming is particularly valuable for those seeking to maintain or improve joint health while staying active.
6. Low Heat Impact:
Swimming offers a refreshing reprieve from high-impact activities in warm weather. The water's cooling effect minimizes the risk of overheating during intense workouts. Running and cycling in hot conditions can lead to heat-related issues, making swimming a safer and more comfortable option when the sun is blazing.
7. Stress Relief and Mental Well-being:
While all three activities trigger the release of endorphins – the body's natural "feel-good" chemicals – swimming provides an additional mental health advantage. The sensation of being in water has a calming effect, reducing stress and anxiety levels. The rhythmic and repetitive nature of swimming strokes can induce a meditative state, contributing to enhanced mental well-being and relaxation.
8. Rehabilitation and Injury Prevention:
Swimming is often recommended for rehabilitation purposes due to its low-impact nature. It is gentle on injuries and can aid in recovery from conditions such as sprains, strains, and stress fractures. Additionally, swimming helps prevent injuries by strengthening muscles and improving joint stability. Running and cycling, while excellent forms of exercise, can sometimes exacerbate existing injuries or lead to new ones due to their impact on joints. We can tailor your lessons to reduce impact on your joints within your swimming strokes.
Swimming, running, and cycling all have their merits and cater to different fitness goals. However, swimming emerges as a clear winner when considering its low-impact benefits, full-body engagement, cardiovascular advantages, joint flexibility improvements, and mental well-being enhancements. While running and cycling have their place in a well-rounded fitness routine, individuals seeking a workout that prioritizes joint health, muscle balance, and mental relaxation will find swimming to be an optimal and rewarding exercise choice. As always, consulting with a healthcare professional before embarking on a new exercise regimen is recommended to ensure it aligns with individual health conditions and goals, and we can monitor your swim
Many of our Strictly Swimming London clients entering into our triathlon swim programme and lessons have seen the benefits of swimming on their overall fitness, see please contact us on info@strictly-swimming,com to book a lesson.
The sport of swimming requires a combination of cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, and flexibility to execute the four swimming strokes effectively. Flexibility is an essential aspect of swimming and triathlon, as it enables swimmers and triathletes to achieve proper technique and reduce the risk of injury.
Requirements of Flexibility in the Four Swimming Strokes:
Flexibility is necessary in all four swimming strokes, but the degree of flexibility required varies:
The freestyle stroke, also known as the front crawl, requires a significant range of motion in the shoulders, back, and hips to perform efficiently. Swimmers who lack flexibility in these areas may struggle to maintain proper form, resulting in slower swim times and an increased risk of injury. Proper freestyle technique requires the swimmer to keep their head down, their hips up, and their arms reaching forward with each stroke.
Breaststroke requires a unique combination of power, speed, and flexibility. It is a slower stroke than freestyle, but it requires more coordination and timing. The stroke requires the swimmer to pull their arms back while simultaneously pushing their hips forward, resulting in a “frog-like” motion. Swimmers must have adequate hip, knee, and ankle flexibility to execute the stroke properly. Without proper flexibility, swimmers may experience discomfort and difficulty achieving the necessary range of motion.
Butterfly is one of the most challenging swimming strokes to master, as it requires significant strength and flexibility. It is a demanding stroke that requires a high degree of coordination and synchronization. The stroke involves a dolphin kick and a simultaneous arm pull that requires extensive shoulder, back, and hip flexibility. Swimmers who lack flexibility in these areas may struggle to execute the stroke correctly and may experience shoulder and back pain.
Backstroke requires the swimmer to maintain a horizontal position while floating on their back. It requires a significant degree of shoulder and back flexibility, as the swimmer must reach their arms above their head and maintain a straight line while kicking. Swimmers who lack flexibility in these areas may struggle to maintain proper form and may experience discomfort in their shoulders and back.
Body Types and Flexibility:
Body type can play a significant role in a swimmer’s flexibility. Individuals with a mesomorphic body type, characterized by muscular and athletic builds, tend to have higher levels of flexibility. These individuals have a higher muscle-to-fat ratio and are often more physically active, which can contribute to greater flexibility.
Individuals with an ectomorphic body type, characterized by a lean and slender build, tend to have lower levels of flexibility. These individuals have less muscle mass and may struggle to maintain proper form in the water, resulting in slower swim times and an increased risk of injury.
Individuals with an endomorphic body type, characterized by a heavier build and higher body fat percentage, may struggle with flexibility. These individuals may carry excess weight in their hips and thighs, making it challenging to achieve the necessary range of motion in certain swimming strokes.
Flexibility is a critical aspect of swimming, and there are several ways to increase flexibility, including stretching, yoga, and Pilates. Regular stretching can improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. We can tailor your Strictly Swimming London lessons to help you with flexibility.
By incorporating one or more of these methods into your routine and lessons, you can gradually increase your flexibility. Speak to your Strictly Swimming London coach for a plan to increase your flexibility.
Here are some swimmers who are known for their excellent flexibility:
If you would like to know more or book a lesson with strictly swimming, just get in touch with us.
As most people know, swimming is an excellent form of aerobic exercise. Whether its performing distance training in the pool (or even taking a Strictly Swimming London lesson), it helps strengthen the heart by increasing blood flow and helping it to even increase in size.
Swimming is also one of the best forms of exercise when it comes to increasing efficiency of the heart in pumping blood around the body. This increase of good blood flow has a fantastic impact on reducing bad cholesterol on both men and women adult swimmers.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy substance which is vital for your body to function day to day. A small amount of cholesterol is healthy, as it forms part of the cell walls and is also necessary to create hormones.
What are the two different types of cholesterol?
There are two main types of cholesterol – LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) or ‘bad’ cholesterol and HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) or ‘good’ cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is beneficial to the body. As adults, through our diets and lifestyles, LDL cholesterol can build up and fatty deposits can develop along the walls of arteries. Over time this causes the arteries to become narrow and blocked, reducing blood supply to the heart.
This process is called atherosclerosis and can eventually cause symptoms of angina or even result in a heart attack or stroke. One cause of high LDL cholesterol is a diet high in saturated fat. The fat in the food that we eat is then digested and taken to the liver, where it is metabolised into cholesterol.
HDL cholesterol, however, helps remove other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream and are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. HDL picks up excess cholesterol in your blood and takes it back to your liver where it's broken down and removed from your body.
Benefits of Swimming on your Cholesterol
If you're already a swimmer or participate in triathlons, you've will have discovered the benefits of swimming already. If you aren't, it's never too late to learn how to swim or to brush up on strokes that you learned as a kid. Our Strictly Swimming London coaches can even tailor your lesson to develop aerobic swim training during your lesson.
As an adult who may be concerned about cholesterol, just remember swimming ultimately prevents heart disease!!!
There is a common misunderstanding that swimmers don’t need to hydrate as much as land-based sports people as we don’t sweat as much in the water. Sure, studies have shown that we sweat less in the pool, however, this does not mean that we do not dehydrate during swim training.
In fact, there are many good reasons why we should maintain hydrating during our workouts, triathlons, and open water swims. You may hear Strictly Swimming coaches consistently harp on the need to hydrate before, during, and after practices. Hydrating is vital to the success of all swimmers.
We need water to survive obviously. Every cell in our bodies needs water to function properly. It helps carry nutrients and boosts energy, flushes waste products and is vital to maintain body temperature during swimming workouts or at rest. In fact, during exercise generally, water is much more important as more energy and fuel is being used. Even though you may feel cool in the pool or open water, there is an actual rise in body temperature, hence the reason to keep hydrating during your swimming lesson.
The cold temperature of the water does cool the body down and sweating is reduced, however, the body will still dehydrate due to high muscle activity. It is very easy to miss that you are dehydrating when swimming due to the cool water temperature, so it is more important to swimmers to keep an eye on their water intake during a workout. Make sure you have your full water bottle at the end of the pool during practice .
Here are some key physiological reasons to maintain hydration:
What to drink when swimming
Water is the best drink to quench thirst and replace fluids lost during exercise. Drink water before you start your swimming lesson. Water boasts a huge list of benefits. It’s natural, free, readily available, contains no calories.
About sports drinks
Some athletes use sports drinks that contain electrolytes and carbohydrates, which have concentrations that allow the body to refuel during exercise. Sports drinks may be useful if your activity is moderate to vigorous in intensity for more than 60 mins, However, sports drinks can be high in sugar, so always check out this out before purchasing. Remember that fruit and vegetables contain a high proportion of water, so a fruit snack (such as oranges) can help your fluid replacement.
What not to drink when exercising
Some fluids are not recommended when exercising:
How much to drink after exercising
To adequately rehydrate after your swimming session, aim to drink one and a half times the fluid you lost while exercising. You will need to drink more fluid than you lost while swimming because you will continue to lose fluid through sweating and urination for some time after you have finished your workout or lesson.
Paul started competing in swimming from the age of 8 and eventually went on to represent his country all over the world. During his time at University, Paul specialised in Aquatics and the Biomechanics of Swimming and produced numerous theses on swimming performance.