Swimming is more than a fun summer activity to help beat the heat – in reality, it’s one of the best workouts for your body. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, freestyle swimming can burn an average of 500 calories per hour, and that calorie count increases with different types of strokes.
Swimming has many health benefits, but to effectively swim for exercise, it’s important to have strong fundamental swimming skills. If you are not a strong swimmer, check out our Tulsa swimming lessons guide and take a class before exercising in the pool.
How Swimming Strengthens the Body
Swimming targets most areas of the body, including the core, arms, legs, glutes, and back.
Swimming is not only an effective cardio exercise, but because the resistance of the water is 12 times the resistance of the air, your muscles have to work harder, significantly increasing in strength with practice over time. Swimming can also increase your flexibility as you refine your skill.
Swimming Is Medium Intensity with a Low Impact
Because swimming is a medium-intensity activity with a low impact, people of all ages and even those with joint issues can still benefit from swimming and lessen their chances for injury. Swimming in warm water is especially beneficial for those with achy joints, as the warmth soothes the muscles and joints while exercising.
The buoyancy of the water can take stress off the joints as well. This is especially helpful for pregnant women who are looking for a safe way to exercise through the duration of their pregnancy, and is also beneficial for those who struggle with arthritis.
Swimming Techniques to Burn Calories
While freestyle swimming burns an average of 500 calories per hour, there are many different strokes and techniques that can increase the amount of calories burned at certain speeds and durations.
For example, swimming the backstroke burns the same amount of calories as swimming a slow freestyle, swimming the breaststroke can burn an average of 700 calories per hour, and swimming the butterfly stroke can burn an average of 775 calories per hour.
Swimming is easier on the joints and muscles than most exercises, but what it does for your body is on par with higher-impact activities. For example, running for an hour at a 10:00/mile pace burns an average of 700 calories and cycling for an hour at 15 miles per hour burns an average of 650 calories.
Many people shy away from swimming as a form of regular exercise, because they assume swimming is not an accessible activity. However, swimming is not limited to the summer months or to those that own a pool. There are many public swimming pools available year-round for those looking to practice regular swimming – for more information, view our guide to Tulsa public swimming pools.
For more information on how to get your own swimming pool installed to use throughout the season, book a consultation with us!