So many of us, myself included, seem to be in a perpetual fight against weight gain. Whether you have to lose 5lbs or 55lbs, it is a hard battle, and it is important to put your time into the right exercises and diet routine that will work best for you.
Swimming burns fat. However, it is not possible to target belly fat specifically in the pool. Swimming is a high-calorie burning exercise that will burn fat from all over your body. With a low-calorie diet and a calorie-burning swimming regimen, swimming will help you lose belly fat.
In this article, I want to share my experience of swimming for weight loss and help answer the following:
- Does swimming burn belly fat?
- How to make your swimming more effective for burning belly fat.
- Tips of burning more belly fat with swimming.
Does Swimming Burn Belly Fat?
The swimming pool is a great place to get in shape and shed some pounds. It’s also a good way to have fun with the family, or just relax on your own. But does swimming really help you lose belly fat?
How Does The Fat Loss Process Work?
When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to understand how the fat loss process works.
Fat is stored in the body in cells called adipocytes. When you eat, your body breaks down the food and converts it into energy. This energy is used to power your everyday activities, and any excess is stored in the adipocytes.
To lose weight, you need to create a deficit between the number of calories you consume and the number of calories you burn. When you achieve a caloric deficit, your body will trigger the fat loss process, which occurs in two stages:
The first stage is called lipolysis, and it is triggered by the lack of energy (calories) required for conducting daily activities and exercise.
When this occurs, the body fat stores are broken down into free fatty acids, which will then circulate in the bloodstream.
When these fatty acids are circulating around the body, they are ready to be used as the primary source of energy, and this can be for anything like fidgeting, running errands, or exercising.
2. Fat oxidation
The second stage is called fat oxidation. This is the stage where your body takes the previously released fatty acids and uses them for energy. The body will simply use them to fuel your daily activities and during this stage, the free fatty acids will be breathed out.
So, without going through those two stages of fat loss, you will not lose any weight. Therefore, a caloric deficit is what you need to lose weight.
But where does swimming come into this?
How Does Swimming Help You Burn Belly Fat?
There are four ways in which swimming can help you burn belly fat:
1. Swimming Burns Extra Calories
Swimming is a great way to burn calories. In fact, swimming for an hour can help you burn up to 500 calories, depending on your weight and intensity.
This is because swimming is a total body workout. It works all your muscles, including your core muscles, which are responsible for burning belly fat.
2. Swimming Is A Low-Impact Exercise
Low-impact workouts of exercises like swimming use the body fat for energy rather than carbohydrates.
There are two energy systems – one that is fuelled by sugars from carbs and another that is fuelled by fat stores. High-intensity workouts mostly burn sugars during the workout, whereas low impact workouts burn fat stores during the actual workout.
3. Limits Cardiovascular Adaptation
It’s no secret that any type of exercise improves your cardiovascular health.
However, swimming helps to improve cardiovascular health by increasing lung capacity and reducing resting heart rate. This is important because improved cardiovascular health makes it easier for your body to burn fat.
As your body becomes stronger, you can swim or exercise for longer, which enables you to burn more calories as you get fitter.
4. May Speed Up Your Metabolism
The term ‘metabolism’ is a holistic term given to all the physiological and biological processes that occur in the body naturally. All these processes require a number of calories every single day. Everybody’s metabolism works at a different rate, and some may have a fast or slow metabolism.
When you have a slow metabolism, you are at a greater risk of gaining weight since you won’t be burning as many calories at rest. In this instance, swimming is the perfect solution.
Not only does it stimulate your metabolism and help you burn calories, but it also suppresses your appetite post-workout. This means that it works on both sides of the equation – helping you burn more calories (calories-out) and reducing your food intake (calories-in).
How To Make Your Swimming More Effective For Burning Belly Fat
To make swimming more effective for burning belly fat, you will need to do a few things.
1. Increase Intensity
First, you need to make sure that you are swimming at a fast pace. This means swimming quickly and using all your muscles. Try to swim as fast as you can and use a swimming stroke that is both powerful and efficient.
2. Increase Resistance
Second, swimming with a resistance band (also known as a swimming harness) can also help to burn belly fat. The band will add an extra level of resistance to your swimming, which will make your workout more challenging and help you burn more calories.
In addition, you could use hand paddles to increase the resistance. These are plastic paddles that you can place on your hands that will help you pull more water as you swim.
Pulling more water means an increased resistance on your muscles.
As a side note, if you have not used hand paddles before, it’s prudent to avoid getting the biggest size unless you are already a strong swimmer. Hand paddles come in different sizes from small to extra-large, and the larger the paddle, the more resistance placed on your arms.
You will be amazed at how much resistance wearing hand paddles can place on your arm muscles and you can quickly become tired.
3. Swim On An Empty Stomach
Finally, swimming on an empty stomach can also help you burn more belly fat.
When you swim after fasting for a few hours, your body will simply use the fat that is stored in your body for energy. This means that you will not only burn belly fat during swimming but also after swimming as well!
Tips For Burning More Belly Fat With Swimming
Below is a list of some extra things you can do to target belly fat in the pool:
- Do swimming workouts that are difficult for you. You can join swimming classes like pool spin classes and aerobics.
- Eat a light, healthy breakfast before swimming to reduce your appetite energy intake later.
- Do the swimming workout on an empty stomach.
- Use a swimming stroke that is both powerful and efficient.
- Swimming with a resistance band can also help to burn belly fat.
- Try swimming faster to increase the intensity of your workout.
- Fasting for a few hours before swimming will allow your body to use stored body fat as energy.
So swimming can help you lose weight and burn belly fat. If done correctly, swimming can be a great way to get fitter and healthier while losing weight at the same time.
It is a lot more fun than sweating it out in the gym too!
If it is used effectively with other forms of exercise such as cardio or strength training, swimming should really make a difference when looking to achieve weight loss goals such as improving cardiovascular health and reducing waist circumference (which plays an important role in preventing metabolic syndrome).
However, just like any form of exercise, if swimming becomes too much, then rest before pushing yourself further.