The Internet has mixed reviews on swimming's effectiveness for weight loss. Some articles say that you will not lose much weight, and that weight training, running, and biking are better. Seems that you increase your appetite from swimming.
Other sites state that's it's better at losing weight, due to the heat exchange between the pool & your body. But, they also caution that you will want to eat more.
Due to a very bad foot problem, I can only swim, do the stationary bike, swim, or do non-foot involved weight training.
I live in the tropics, and my pool is always above 85 degrees.
What's your success/horror story on swimmning for weight loss?
In general, exersize is good for weight maintenance and increasing metabolism, but the most important factor in weight loss is that you are eating less calories than you are expending. It's much easier to skip 200 calories as a snack than it is to burn it off in the gym.
I think, like others have said, it depends on an individual's habits, hydration, exertion level, etc. The problem I have with "studies" like the one mentioned above is that I get the feeling that the geeks conducting the "study" don't know anything about the subject matter.
Like ktcort13, I've been swimming almost my entire life, and I've always found it to be great exercise, especially for stretching and working the muscles. When I swam competitively in high school, I didn't have a problem keeping the weight off (5'8" 125-130 back then), but yes, there were people on the swim team who didn't seem to lose any weight. In fairness, though, we were also lifting weights and building muscle merely by using them for 3+ hrs/day, so I'm sure our collective BF% numbers decreased during the swimming season.
I resumed swimming a couple of months ago after a long hiatus, and one of the first things I noticed was that my oblique and stomach areas seem to be shaping up rather nicely. I've managed to lose about 2-3" off my waist alone in the last 2 months. I'm sure it's not due to swimming alone (I also jump rope, strength train, and *try* to run), but I know I'm using those muscles when I swim, so I don't doubt that swimming has played a significant role in shaping my abs.
To answer your question, skatingisfun, I would recommend swimming over the other, higher-impact exercises you mentioned, but keep a water bottle handy when you swim, and that may curb your appetite a bit.
Good luck, and have fun!
My whole family's always been into swimming, and I did a bit this summer as a lifeguard. I didn't think it was anymore or less effective than other excercise, but it's a lot of fun for me.
I know my dad lost a lot of weight swimming about 5 years ago. He has a very bad back with a few fused vertebrae, and was, at the time, wearing a back brace every day with limited mobility. Well, he was post-divorce and decided to join the new gym that was built a few blocks away. He started out swimming with a snorkel because rotary breathing was difficult. But now, swimming has done wonders for him. He lost about 30lbs, and is now able to be much more active-he and my new stepmother are active cyclists and he uses the workout machines in the gym as well. He no longer wears his back brace, and his pain has reduced significantly. So swimming can do a world of good!
I was a swimmer most of my life, and in the not too distant past a competitive Master's swimmer -- it really is the exercise I enjoy the most, and the one that seems the most effective.
Now, I really have no choice, wicked Plantar Fasciatiis ensures that walking/running will not be in my near future.
Since your pool is warm this will alleviate most of the "body holding on to the fat to keep it warm" nonsense.
And, even if you don't end up losing much, you can definitely gain a toned body and an improved cardiovascular system.
If you reserve some snack calories for after your swim (I try to have a yogurt or banana or oatmeal), you shouldn't be killed by the starving after the swim, either.
My swim success was in junior high when I was on the swim team and the dress I put on to attend a wedding was huge in the waist -- a first for me. I hadn't been trying to lose weight (I don't actually think I did) but I lost a lot of inches.
My swim failure was freshman year of college. On the swim team, only this time I GAINED a few inches and about 17 pounds. Turns out, even swimming three hours a night can't cancel out constant noshing on pizzas, fries, and baked goods.
This year the place where I work is offering free gym memberships to employees (hope I qualify -- I'm only part-time) so hopefully I'll have a swimming success story to tell in a couple months.
I went from 148 to 143 pounds in 7 days with swimming 1/2 hour a day and doing vigorous housework/gardening this past week. My TV broke down, and it's invigorated my diet. I'm eating fish (salmon, sushi, etc), whole grains, eggs, and alot of salads & fruit.
Combining swimming with good food - - and you will lose weight.
When I get out of the pool, I drink alot of water or unsweetened ice tea and one fruit. It fills me back up.
I had an MRI on my foot, and wait the results.
Skatingisfun (and so is swimming)
What a complete load of nonsense the radio show article contains!
Increased body temperature is the RESULT of metabolism, not the CAUSE! Of course your temperature will be greater if you have to drive heat across a thermal insulator. for the SAME amount of heat tranferred. Your house will be warmer if it is insulated, but the fact that your house is warmer does not mean you are burning more fuel.
Swimming is resisted body motion which requires ATP to fuel muscles. ATP is provided by glycogens from carbs or fats. It is exercise. It burns calories. If you burn more calories than the you injest, you lose weight.
If you enjoy swimming, or are physically constrained from other forms of exercise, it is probably a great way to lose weight. If you hate it, it is probably won't be. But 1000 calories is 1000 calories, folks---it's just as hard to burn them while swimming, running or cycling, and it means just as much on the scale.
I've been swimming most of my life. I'm also a swim instructor lifeguard and swim coach. Competitive swimming is a GREAT workout. HOWEVER...The problem with swimming is how easy it is to slack off. So here are some suggestions that I would give.
-Make sure you are swimming properly. Small things wrong with yor stroke could really hurt you.
-The more you swim the more efficient your stroke will hopefully become, this means you will need to push yourself harder to get the same level of workout.
- Race the clock! This is the easiest way to insure a good workout when swimming on your own.
Couldn't agree more with waterphoenix. Breaststroke is a perfect example--if you are doing it for time, it's as intense as weightlifting; if you aren't, it's just an easy cooldown. For me, it's heart rate that tells me if I'm working hard enough.
Find a master's group to swim with. The peer pressure will keep you from loafing, and you'll pick up good technique pointers.
Swimming is an awesome sport--low risk of injury and incredibly versatile: you can swim distance for cardio, or sprint for strength; you can kick for the lower body or pull for the upper.
I found that swimming really got me started on getting fit last summer, going from doing 6 lengths to 40 or 50 by the end of my holiday (I was gone a LONG time, a whole month!) and it's great as exercise because it moves so much of the body. I've always found some strokes to be more of a workout, I hate the breast stroke because it's so hard on my arms but I love the back stroke as a bit of a "rest" stroke as it doesn't involve as much work. Can't swim with my head in the water though :(
Uh, that's a bit off topic, isn't it? Anyway, I found it to be a great exercise, I'd highly recommend it. It's also great for back problems, neck problems and arm problems (to be honest I think a doctor would tell you to go swimming if you said you had a pain in your cheekbone, but that's just me)
What you eat can have a direct effect on your skin if you're struggling with psoriasis. See what to shop for.