Swimming is great for fitness and muscle tone, but if you’re working out with Lifeguard Class near me your waistline in mind, some might advise you to throw in the towel. That’s because there is a belief among many that swimming is a bad way to achieve weight loss.
But is this really the case?
That’s obviously a bit extreme, but it does show it. From a fat loss perspective, swimming has some real downsides compared to other forms of exercise.
It’s true that swimming involves some buoyancy, and this can reduce the work you have to do to move your body, compared to exercising on land, especially if you’re carrying a bit of body fat, which increases buoyancy.
On the other hand, you have to work against the “drag” effect of the water on your body and if your running isn’t very efficient, this can increase the energy you use for swimming as well. Kay Cox, an academic and researcher, agrees that there are some potential pitfalls in swimming for waist reduction, but it has been shown that it can definitely be done.
He led a 2010 study of healthy, inactive older women who took a swimming program and compared them to those who took a walking program. The study, published in a journal, showed that after a year on the program, the swimmers had lost more weight and more from their waists than those on the walking program.
Both groups had the same training practice (measured on heart rate monitors) and the same routine period. The first six months were supervised, then they continued for another six months without supervision.
The differences weren’t great:
The swimmers lost an average of 2.5 pounds more weight and about an inch more from their waists than the walkers. However, it is a significant finding, especially given that very few well-designed studies have studied the topic.
I think swimming is good for anyone who wants to lose weight,” said Associate Professor Cox, who has a long history as a swim coach. He takes the load off your joints compared to running or walking, meaning you’re less likely to injure yourself and thus have a better chance of staying put.
Cold water and appetite:
Professor Cox believes that it is the cold environment in the pool (26 degrees Celsius) that may explain, at least in part, why the swimmers in her study had the advantage when it came to loss of weight.
Paradoxically, cold water may also explain why many swimmers find it difficult to move fat. It all comes down to the impact of this cool environment on two aspects of the body in the post-swim period: the swimmer’s appetite (which affects how much they will eat afterward) and the energy the swimmer expends to restore their normal body temperature.
Exercise that increases your body temperature, which is more ground-based exercise, tends to suppress your appetite, but swimming has the opposite effect because your body temperature generally stays relatively low.
Most swim centers keep the water temperatures around 26-27 degrees Celsius and many ocean swimmers are subjected to even colder waters. If you swim, especially in cold water, what you immediately want to do when you come out is grab something warm to eat or drink to restore your body temperature.
Simply overeating after their workout
Therefore, it is easier for swimmers to undo all of their fat-burning hard work by simply overeating after their workout, compared to those who exercise on land.
Professor Cox believes that the women in the study avoided this by being very vigilant about their food intake. All study participants were specifically asked to eat the same diet they did before starting the exercise program (and food diaries suggest that they did).
Also, when you get hot from walking (or other ground exercise), you can passively cool down, like just stopping moving. But getting warm after a swim likely means expending more energy (which translates to burning more fat).
I think if they (swimmers)
get the same amount of exercise as they would on land and don’t compensate by eating more afterwards, it could be just as, if not more effective (in achieving weight loss). But you have to spend time and turn up the intensity.
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