Swimming for Weight Loss – Pros & Cons

You’ve been struggling to lose weight. You could not consistently go to the gym, so you gave up on it. Jogging was challenging. And all these workout programs are giving you a headache.

But you love swimming. To you, it’s an easy sport. You have so much fun at it that you can spend hours on the pool. You’re excited about just how safe it is when you’re in your favorite pool.

You’re now seriously considering it as your preferred weight-loss method. To help you decide, let’s dive deep into this.

Swimming for Weight Loss

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Is Swimming a Good Way to Lose Weight?

If you’re able to access a pool for a regular workout, then swimming can be beneficial. It’s a low-impact way to burn calories. And it’s so much fun.

Before taking it seriously as a weight-loss method, you need to know the pros and cons. We’ll start with the pros.

Pros of Swimming to Lose Weight

Swimming is Good for Losing Belly Fat

Are you not fond of sit-ups and crunches? Worry no more. You can now swim that belly fat away. Here’s how:

  • Backstroke strengthens your abs and quads. Doing it for 30 minutes can burn 367 calories.
  • Treading in deep water aggressively in 30-second intervals, exercises your entire body. It can help you lose that annoying belly fat.
  • Dolphin kicks help with toning. Tighten your muscles as you move in a dolphin-like wave motion, paying close attention to your glute and abs.
  • When a bit tired of the actual swimming, you can go to the shallow end and lean with your back to the edge. After that, move your legs like you’re riding a bicycle in 30-second intervals. Punch it so that it gives you extra impact
  • Multiple swimming exercises can help you keep fit

You can finally get that flat stomach that you deserve. Make sure you’re swimming regularly and focusing on movements that work on your stomach.

Swimming Tones Muscles

When swimming, you engage almost all your major muscle groups. Your arms, legs, abs, torso, neck, stomach, and hips are all active.

It’s like a form of resistance training without the weights. Swimming regularly tones your core, lower body, and upper body at the same time.

This gives you a full-body workout, helping you with overall muscle definition. The best part is that as you build muscles, you burn calories. You end up losing weight and looking really good while at it.

Remember that for you to properly tone, you’ll not just be swimming for leisure. You’ll need to swim in ways that help in muscle-toning purposefully.

Here’s how it works:

  • Water provides more resistance than air and land. Doing each stroke properly and powerfully will strengthen and lengthen your muscles. As you do this repeatedly, you’ll develop muscle endurance. Eventually, your muscles will be more toned out.
  • You reach forward and pull backward using your arms. This engages the muscles in your arms and chest. Doing the backstroke takes care of your shoulders and upper back.
  • Your core muscles are fully active when swimming. Abs and lower back help with balance and movement. Legs keep kicking while working your hips. Such activities lead to well-toned core muscles.

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Cardiovascular Benefits of Swimming

When it comes to muscles, your heart is the most important muscle in the body. Swimming takes care of this, too. Of course, all other exercises work the heart as well, but swimming has a special place.

A study of deaths on men aged between 20 and 90 proves this. After 13 years of follow-up, 11% of people who did not exercise at all died. So did 9% of walkers and 8% of runners. And what about swimmers? Only 2% of swimmers died. This shows that swimming can help prolong your life.

What specific cardiovascular benefits does swimming offer? Check them out below:

  • Swimming trains your body to optimize the usage of oxygen
  • It helps those with chronic illnesses such as arthritis to still get to exercise
  • Regular swimming relaxes you and reduces stress, contributing to your cardiovascular health
  • Your heart becomes more efficient at pumping as you keep exercising it in the pool
  • Taking a swim improves lung fitness, thus improving your cardiopulmonary system

A healthy heart, a healthy life.

Swimming Is Beneficial for Losing Weight If You Have Asthma

Yes. If you have asthma, swimming can help. It’s popular among asthma patients because it has less asthmogenecity compared to other forms of exercises.

You may have less exercise-based asthmatic attacks if you use this as your main form of exercise. Reasons for this are still unclear. However, some evidence suggests that the high humidity of the air you breathe in lowers respiratory heat loss. In short, warm and moist air causes less irritation as compared to cold and dry air.

Indoor pools have less exposure to asthma-inducing allergens like mold spores and pollen.

These reasons make it a brilliant way for you to lose weight if you’re struggling with asthma. You can do so much more underwater as opposed to on dry land.

Depending on the severity of your asthma, you may need to consult a doctor first before making this your major weight loss method.

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If You Have Suffered an Injury in the Past Swimming is Good for Losing Weight

Sadly, you suffered an injury in the past. Especially if it was so bad that it makes it challenging for you to do most exercises. The good news is you can swim. It makes for fantastic rehab. Here’s why:

  • It helps strengthen muscles and ligaments
  • Swimming supports your body gently, especially on the injured areas
  • Your body experiences less pressure
  • Water makes it hard for you to stumble and fall since it’s a low impact exercise

Making swimming part of your weight loss journey even if you’re not injured yet is a viable option as well. You won’t have to stop exercising due to long-term injuries or even old age. This makes it a sustainable weight loss method.

There are different types of injuries, though. Some injuries prevent you from swimming. Therefore, the need to consult a physician first is not overemphasized.

Cons of Swimming for Losing Weight

Like anything else, swimming has its negative side. Here are some cons you need to be aware of:

Slower weight loss

It does help you lose weight, but the effect may be slower.

Being submerged in water can lower your metabolic rate. This means you burn fewer kilojoules.

Additionally, you may have a surge of appetite after swimming. If not controlled, you can easily gain back the calories you lost due to increased eating.

If water is not properly treated, you could get sick

The advantages of swimming work great when you’re doing it in a pool that’s properly and regularly treated. However, if you do it in untreated waters, you may contract water-borne diseases.

Chloramines (reaction between chlorine, urine, and sweat) can form if chlorine levels are too low. This can lead to irritation of the eyes, skin, and the respiratory system.

Also, chlorine may take longer to kill cryptosporidium, which causes diarrhea.

Skin irritation

Chlorine can irritate your skin. If after a swim you bask in the sun, you can get a sunburn. Swimming in extremely hot weather can make this worse due to the combination of water, sunlight, and chlorine.


Swimming is an exciting sport. It can help you lose that elusive weight. It has massive advantages, as outlined here.

Of course, it also has its disadvantages. However, these can be easily mitigated by using the right gear, ensuring you use a treated pool, avoiding binge-eating after swimming, and taking a shower.

For you to get amazing results, you must be consistent. Now you can rush out, get into your swimming gear, and swim that weight away!