A recent study by the University of Western Australia has shown that swimming is indeed an effective way to lose weight – but there are few issues to consider:
- You actually have to do it. Sitting in water is not enough; nor is hanging off the end wall to have a chat with your mates
- Related to the first point, you have to keep doing it. It’s no good swimming for a few metres and then stopping to have any more than a short rest. If your technique or your swimming fitness are not good enough to swim more than a few metres, get some coaching (like my Sunday morning sessions)
- You need to do more than one session per week. Three is ideal; and ideally in a variety of training sessions: high intensity as well as endurance
- High Intensity Training (HIT) – such as interval training – is an excellent way to improve your CR fitness rapidly, to lose those kilos on the scales and to lose those centimetres around the belly in the shortest possible time. HIT involves swimming in short bursts of high intensity effort, coupled with periods of less intensity and rest. It is best to do this under supervision and with a coach who makes you do it and ignores your whinges. We do all of this in our 8am and 9am sessions on Sundays. Again, you should ideally do more than one HIT session per week
One possible problem with swimming for weight loss is that it often makes us feel hungry afterwards – especially if we are swimming in cold water, such as in the open water in winter. We want to eat afterwards to warm up. But eating too much will only put back all those kgs you have just taken off.
Any form of exercise is good for our health, but swimming is the best. But don’t forget, the best form of exercise to lose weight is pushing away that plate of food!
For a recent ABC Health Report on the benefits of swimming for exercise and weight loss, including the results of the UWA research, visit: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-17/swimming-can-be-effective-for-weight-loss-researcher-says/7171110