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Swimming and weight loss: How many calories does swimming burn?

Will a water workout work for you? Find out how to get the benefits you’re looking for, whether in the pool or in the ocean.

Your question

Swimming classIs swimming good exercise for weight loss?

The expert answers

Swimming can be a good workout to help you lose weight. A 150-pound woman swimming at a moderate pace for half an hour burns about 270 calories — about the same as a whole hour of brisk walking. Swimming also works both upper and lower body muscles.

For people with joint pain, swimming is much easier. On the other hand, swimming is not likely to strengthen bones since it’s not a weightbearing exercise.

The main problem with swimming as a weight loss aid, however, is that many people are out of breath long before 30 minutes are over… and splashing around and hanging on the pool edge won’t burn many calories.

The key to a good swimming workout is to gradually increase your swimming time by taking a one- or two-minute break when needed and then continuing.

Eventually, the optimum 30 minutes of non-stop swimming will be achievable. Of course, as with any exercise program, check with your physician before you start.

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