How many calories does swimming burn?

Swimming is, without a doubt, a great way to burn off any extra calories you might be hoping to shed! Not only is swimming a great exercise to aid in losing or managing your weight, but as it is a low impact workout it’s also a great option for anyone prone to injuries or pain, particularly in the lower back or joints. 

Calculating your calorie burn

The exact number of calories you will burn in the swimming pool will vary from person to person. Factors such as your weight, metabolism, swimming stroke, speed and time in the water will all affect the total calorie burn of your workout. A swimming burn calculator is an easy way to get a more accurate idea of how many calories your body burns when swimming. Typically, the more you weigh and the higher your metabolism, the more calories you will burn per hour of exercise.

With these factors in mind, a 30 minute breast stroke swim will burn an average of 150 – 280 calories, or 300 – 560 calories per hour. If you prefer to measure your calorie burn over distance, swimming 500m will burn around 120 – 160 calories, and a 1 mile swim will burn around 315 – 420 calories.


Swimming to burn fat and lose weight

Swimming is an aerobic exercise, which means that during your workout your body is burning fat to keep you sustained. Interval training, where you vary the intensity level of your workout, is a good addition to a swimming workout plan aimed at weight loss. Aim to keep your heart rate at around 60 – 90% of the maximum for your age group (you can get a waterproof heart rate monitor to help with this), as you will be burning calories more effectively in this zone. Whilst all swimming strokes will burn calories effectively when performed continuously, the one that packs the biggest punch for fat burning is the butterfly stroke, with a rough average of 704 calories burned per hour!


Remember: always seek professional medical advice for any new exercise plan, and ensure you are swimming in a safe, supervised environment.