It almost seems too fun to be effective, but swimming can burn fat, too. “It’s just like any other aerobic exercise, in that we use both fat and carbohydrates for energy as we swim,” Cindy Dallow, PhD, RD, a sports dietitian and triathlon coach, told POPSUGAR. Cleaning up your diet can help ensure you’re eating fewer calories than you burn, which is crucial for weight loss, but the intensity and frequency of your workouts can also help you more quickly reach your goals.
“The slower the swimming pace, the higher the percentage of calories that are burned from fat. However, when we swim fast, we use more total calories than when we swim slow, so technically, faster swimming will help with weight loss more than slower swimming,” Dr. Dallow explained. She recommends including high-intensity intervals in your swim workout to burn more fat. (Try this interval workout designed for the pool.)
As for the frequency of your workouts, one study found that women who swam for 60 minutes three times a week lost a significant amount of body fat after 12 weeks, but “it varies too much from person to person to say with any accuracy,” Dr. Dallow said. “In general, a woman who swims for at least 45 minutes four days a week, with two of those days including fast intervals, has a better chance of losing body fat than someone swimming less often or at the same pace each time.”