Why Swimming is the Best Cardio to Burn All That Christmas Fat
No matter how self-controlled you may be, the holidays seem to be everyone’s favorite time to sit back, relax, and enjoy a lot of food. Then once the new year has started, you begin to notice a few extra pounds on the weighing scale, and a lot more effort required to fit into those favorite pair of jeans. It’s a normal experience, but it’s in that moment that you realize— it’s time to work out.
To lose all the Christmas fat, it’s important to find an intense cardio workout that can burn the fat away. While there are several options out there, swimming is a serious contender for battling the extra weight. Swimming isn’t just a fun activity for kids; it’s also a fierce, calorie-burning workout that can trim off the extra inches and make you stronger and healthier than you were before.
Why it Works
If you’ve ever watched swimming competitions such as the Olympics, the athletes prove that swimming can give you a lean, toned body. However, the good news is that you don’t need to become an Olympian in order to get a leaner body. A study conducted on recreational swimmers found that swimmers of all age brackets had leaner muscles, waists, and hips compared to those who don’t swim.
Swimming is an aerobic activity that manages to burn a lot of calories by working out the whole body. Since swimming is an aerobic workout, your sugar and fat is used to fuel the workout. And, as it targets so many muscle groups throughout your body as you repeatedly fight against the water’s resistance, you have a high potential for burning fat. An hour of easy swimming can burn up to 500 calories, while an intense swim workout can burn up to 700.
As it puts your whole body to work— large and small muscles included— swimming has the potential to be more effective for weight loss than other aerobic workouts. Since water is almost 800 times denser than air, you can trust that your body is working a lot harder to move through it, giving every muscle a resistance workout of its own. There is, however, extra focus put in for your arms, shoulders, glutes, and core (get ready, belly fat!). And once you’ve gotten out of the water, you can still expect some after-burn, wherein your body continues to burn calories after your swim.
So, swimming isn’t just an effective fat-burning workout. It’s also a great way to maintain your weight and build muscles. And as you develop lean muscles and become more fit, your metabolism will start to speed up as well, burning even more calories.
The Benefits of Swimming
There have been many benefits linked to swimming, making it a popular, go-to exercise. In addition to the benefits for weight management and strength training, swimming poses a lot of benefits for people that look to protect their joints.
As the water density lessens the amount of weight your body has to carry, the pressure your bones and joints might have experience during land-based activities are greatly alleviated. This means anyone can exercise in the water, regardless of age or strength. And with the extra weight from Christmas, it’s a good idea to avoid the possibility of shocking your knees by suddenly putting too much pressure on them.
On top of that, regularly swimming can also increase your overall flexibility, as well as reduce inflammation and aid in stress management!
Try Interval Training in the Pool
It’s easy to see why swimming is a great option for exercise! It can, however, be very challenging. The act of swimming may sound simple enough, but it’s a lot harder than it seems— especially when you are swimming for an hour straight. Thankfully, there are different ways to accomplish your swim workout, and you aren’t limited to swimming non-stop for a whole hour. In fact, many believe that interval training in the water may be even more effective.
Swimming at a steady pace for a set amount of time is regularly practiced by people who choose to workout in the pool. However, research has shown interval training to be more effective in terms of burning fat. That with the added benefit of needing less time to workout. So if you don’t have an hour to spare, give interval training a try.
Interval training in the water can be done by dividing your workout into shorter sections, and mixing a variety of strokes, laps, drills, and intensity levels. For example, you may swim at a high intensity for two laps, rest for half a minute to allow yourself to catch your breath, then repeat.
You Can Do More in the Pool
Another great thing about working out in the pool, is that you aren’t limited to doing laps. If you don’t want to be swimming the entire time, you could also add some other workouts while you’re in the water that are sure to give that Christmas weight a run for its money!
You could incorporate other activities into your workout, such as treading water to get you warmed up. Another effective activity to add in could be jogging in the water. In fact, jogging in the water can be a lot more challenging and burn more calories when compared to jogging on land. It ends up becoming a tougher alternative to regular running because of the added resistance from the water, and around 550 calories can be burned by moderately jogging in the water. As it targets your leg muscles, it also becomes a great variation for days you want to strengthen your legs.
So what are you waiting for? We’ll see you in the pool!
Livestrong | Speedo | Women’s Health | Times of India | Hindustan Times