Swimming and calories: Effective workouts in the water

Swimming is not only beneficial for our mental health, but also an effective way to burn calories and improve your fitness. How many calories does swimming 1000 meters burn? And is it possible to increase the amount of calories burned while swimming? You'll find the answers to all the questions here, so read on.

What has an influence on calories burned when swimming?

To answer the question of how many calories you generally burn when swimming, it is important to first look at the factors that play a role. The amount of calories burned during a swimming session is not only dependent on the activity itself, but is also influenced by individual factors such as

  • Body size: taller people tend to burn more calories when swimming as they need more energy to move in the water.
  • Body composition: Muscle consumes more energy than fat, so people with more muscle mass can burn more calories.
  • Gender: Men generally have a higher percentage of muscle than women, which can lead to higher calorie consumption.
  • Age: Muscle mass tends to decrease with age, which can reduce basal and power metabolism.

The intensity of training also plays a decisive role when speaking of calorie consumption when swimming, as it determines how many calories are ultimately burned. The more challenging and demanding you do your swimming training, the higher your body's energy requirement, which in turn leads to an increase in calorie burning. 

Calorie consumption: cold or warm water?

A frequently asked question is whether calories burned are higher in cold or warm water. It is true that the body burns more calories in cold water as it has to use more energy to maintain body temperature. However, swimming in warm water can be just as effective, as calories burned ultimately depends on the intensity of the training.

Caution: Swimming in cold water can lead to an increased hunger feeling. Instead of fast food and sweets, opt for healthy snacks after training. Read our article on tips for optimal nutrition during swimming training.  

Overview table: Calories burned per 1 hour swimming

To give you a comprehensive overview of calories burned of different swimming styles, we have put together an informative overview table with the approximate amount of calories burned for each swimming style. The values apply to a young woman weighing 60kg:

Swimming style

Calories burned per 1 hour swimming

Breaststroke slow

250 kcal

Breaststroke fast

540 kcal

Slow crawl

370 kcal

Fast crawl

720 kcal

Backstroke slow

230 kcal

Backstroke fast

420 kcal

Butterfly swim

650-960 kcal

So if you train more intensively, such as in the fast crawl or butterfly swim, your calories burned per hour are higher compared to swimming breaststroke slowly. By varying the different types of swimming styles and adapting your training to your fitness goals, you can effectively burn fat and strengthen your muscles.

Calculating calories burned while swimming

To help you calculate your own calories burned while swimming and optimize your training sessions, you can use a simple formula to help you track your progress and achieve your fitness goals:

Basal Metabolic Rate (Calories) × MET : 24 × Duration

MET stands for metabolic equivalent and represents the defined average energy expenditure of various activities - exact values can be found at the Compendium of Physical Activities

→ Various online calories burned calculators also provide estimates of calorie consumption based on weight, swimming style and training duration.

Tips for increasing calorie consumption while swimming

To increase your calorie consumption while swimming, we have put together some useful tips that are easy to implement and can still make your trip to the pool fun: 

  • Vary your swimming styles: try different swimming styles such as crawl, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly. This variety allows you to activate different muscle groups and train your entire body holistically. This increases your energy consumption and promotes calorie burning.
  • Increase the intensity: increase your swimming speed or integrate interval training into your swimming sessions. This will increase your heart rate and encourage your body to use more energy. This leads to an increased calorie burn.
  • Use swimming aids: Fins, paddles or a swimming board can increase resistance in the water and intensify muscle work. This allows you to train more effectively and burn more calories as you put more strain on your body.
  • Swim together: Find a training partner or a group to stay motivated. By supporting each other, you can spur each other on to more intensive training sessions and increase your calories burned. Games in the water are a great way to combine 'work' and fun. 
  • Stay regular: The continuity of your swimming sessions is crucial. By swimming regularly and being consistent with your training, your body gets used to the exertion and can increase its performance. This leads to increased calorie burning in the long term.

→ Don't forget that the right swimwear helps you to feel comfortable in the water and perform at your best. Check out our wide selection of sports bikinis and sports swimming costumes online and choose your next favourite outfit! :) 

With these tips, you can not only burn calories effectively, but also increase your enjoyment of swimming and achieve your fitness goals. So, get in the water and enjoy a refreshing and effective workout!

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