Will Swimming Make Me Skinny?

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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Swimming is often praised for being a great way to burn calories and supporting people in their quest to lose weight and achieve the perfect beach body for the summer. However, getting skinny can be more complicated than just swimming every now and then.

Swimming is just one way to help you lose weight and become skinny, but it must be combined with other things to do it safely and healthily.

Read on if you’re interested in learning the specifics about losing weight with swimming and whether or not swimming to lose weight is for you.

Woman smiling in a pool - Will Swimming Make Me Skinny?

How Many Calories Can You Lose?

This is not as straightforward a question as some people make it out to be. There are guidelines for how many calories you can lose while swimming, but the exact amount can vary based on a variety of factors. These include:


  • How long do you swim for
  • How intense your swimming session is
  • Which stroke do you use during a swim session
  • Your current body weight


All of this can be boiled down to a hypothetical situation. For example, if a person weighing 150 pounds were to take a somewhat leisurely swim for an hour, they can expect to burn around 400 calories. However, if they speed up, they might burn up to 700 calories per hour.


Woman smiling in a pool - Will Swimming Make Me Skinny?


How Many Muscles Do You Use During Swimming?

The stroke you use to swim largely influences how many of your muscles are actively engaged in your exercise. Which specific muscle groups are also used changes depending on how you are swimming and what stroke you choose to use.

In general, though, studies have shown that as many as 50 muscles across the body are used while swimming.

This is much more than the number of muscles used for other popular aerobic exercises like running and a major reason why many people consider swimming to be a more effective workout for losing weight.


How Much Should You Swim for Weight Loss?

This question is also quite subjective and depends on your personal situation, but there are some rules of thumb to help out the majority of people. If you are just starting to work out for the first time in your life, you will want to take it slow and ramp up your exercise over time.

A good way to start swimming for weight loss is to swim your stroke of choice for just 15 to 20 minutes in a single session. You should then alternate days that you swim so your body has time to rest and recover.

Eventually, you will want to increase the amount of time you are constantly swimming and the frequency of your swim sessions until you achieve and maintain a weight you are happy with.


How Often Should You Do it?

As you start to lose weight, you will need to keep up the exercise or even increase it to keep the weight off. However, it is important to allow your body to recover and not overdo yourself.

If you don’t rest, you risk an injury that causes you to gain weight again or is debilitating in some other way for a prolonged period. It is also possible to swim too much and cause chronic issues.

That being said, it is usually recommended that you spend four to five days a week in the water if you are serious about losing weight and maintaining a healthier lifestyle.


Is it Better Than Running?

Some people would have you believe swimming is a miracle exercise with no downsides and only the best benefits.

But unfortunately, this simply isn’t true. In reality, you should mix up your workout routine to avoid injuries and strains that can keep you from achieving your goals.

Swimming is a low-impact exercise which makes it especially good for overweight and obese people, but running is important for maintaining bone density in your legs and spine.

So while swimming is better for burning more calories within a set time, running still has benefits that swimming cannot offer.


Final Thoughts on Will Swimming Make You Skinny 

The key to weight loss is consistency more than intensity. In the end, swimming should be just one tool in your kit of ways to lose weight and become skinny. A proper diet will also go a long way towards achieving a healthy calorie deficit as you work on yourself.

Other exercises like weightlifting and running should be worked into your routine at some point to work all aspects of your body that swimming doesn’t cover.