It can become extremely challenging to go out for a run or sweat it out in the gym during the sweltering summer months. In such a scenario, swimming seems like the perfect physical activity to incorporate into one’s workout regime to achieve fitness goals and at the same time to beat the heat. Swimming can result in higher metabolism, help build endurance, muscle strength, and also provide cardiovascular fitness. But does swimming also help in reducing weight?
Neha Sahaya, a wellness coach, took to Instagram to share why swimming is not the ideal exercise when it comes to weight loss, mentioning that swimming can increase appetite thus making it hard to control calorie intake.
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How does swimming increase appetite?
“Swimming is a form of exercise that can increase appetite due to several factors,” wrote Sahaya, as she shared them:
– Swimming in cold water can cause the body to use more energy to keep warm. This increase in energy expenditure can also lead to an increase in appetite.
-Swimming can also cause dehydration, especially if it is done in a heated pool or in warm weather. Dehydration can often be mistaken for hunger, which may lead to an increase in appetite.
–Swimming is a high-intensity exercise that can burn a significant number of calories. When the body burns more calories than it consumes, it triggers hunger signals to replenish the energy stores. Therefore, after a swim session, the body may require more energy and signal to the brain to consume more food, thus increasing appetite.
“Overall, swimming is a great form of exercise for staying healthy, but it is important to listen to your body and fuel it with the right nutrients to support your fitness goals,” she concluded.
What do other experts say?
According to Utsav Agrawal, fitness coach, FITTR, “contrary to the myth that swimming is not effective for weight loss, swimming is actually a highly beneficial form of exercise for weight management”.
He went on to list several reasons why swimming can, in fact, be an excellent choice for weight loss:
1. Full-body workout: Swimming engages multiple muscle groups throughout the body, including the arms, legs, core, and back. It offers a comprehensive workout that can help you burn a significant number of calories.
2. Low-impact exercise: Swimming is a low-impact activity, meaning it puts minimal stress on your joints. This makes it an ideal option for individuals with joint pain or those who are overweight, as it reduces the risk of injury compared to higher-impact exercises like running or jumping.
3. Increased calorie burn: Swimming is a cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and boosts metabolism. It can help you burn a substantial amount of calories during a session, depending on the intensity and duration of your swim.
4. Improved endurance: Swimming regularly can enhance your cardiovascular endurance and stamina. As your swimming skills progress, you’ll be able to swim for longer periods at higher intensities, resulting in more calories burned.
5. Muscle toning and strength building: Swimming is not only a great calorie-burning exercise, but it also helps build lean muscle mass. As you swim, you’re continuously pushing against the resistance of the water, which strengthens and tones your muscles.
6. Consistency and sustainability: One advantage of swimming is that it can be a lifelong activity. It is enjoyable and refreshing for many people, which increases the likelihood of maintaining a consistent exercise routine. Regular swimming can contribute to sustainable weight loss and overall fitness.
“While swimming can be an effective exercise for weight loss, it’s important to note that diet and nutrition also play a crucial role in achieving your weight loss goals. Creating a balanced diet and combining it with regular swimming sessions will optimse your weight loss efforts,” he told indianexpress.com.
Things to consider when swimming
Here are some additional considerations to keep in mind for swimming based on personal health and fitness, as shared by Agarwal:
1. Warm-up and cool-down: Just like any other exercise, it’s important to warm up before swimming to prepare your muscles and joints for the activity. Start with some gentle stretching and perform a few laps at a relaxed pace. After your swim, cool down by swimming at a slower pace and stretching again to help prevent muscle soreness.
2. Stroke selection: Depending on your fitness level and any existing health conditions or injuries, certain swimming strokes may be more suitable than others. For example, breaststroke or backstroke can be less strenuous on the shoulders compared to freestyle (front crawl). Experiment with different strokes to find the ones that are comfortable and enjoyable for you.
3. Breath control: Proper breathing technique is crucial in swimming. If you’re a beginner or struggle with breath control, consider taking swimming lessons or working with a swim coach to learn the correct techniques. Learning to breathe efficiently will help you maintain endurance and swim more effectively.