From our most recent post we found out the impact of swimming on the mind, but what about our bodies? What stroke provides the best work out and fat burn?
According to Woman’s Health Magazine an easy swim burns around 500 calories an hour, while a vigorous effort can torch almost 700. And because water is nearly 800 times denser than air, each kick, push, and pull is like a mini resistance workout for your entire body – especially your core, hips, arms, shoulders, and glutes. So in addition to blasting calories as you swim, you build lean muscle, which ignites your metabolism so that you burn more calories once you’ve showered and dried off.
Like my theory Just Swim have found that the breaststroke is a bit of a slow burner in terms of calories. In fact, it is the least beneficial stroke for burning calories. So they have rated it 4th place.
4th place: Breaststroke
- Average calorie burn: around 200 calories for 30 minutes swimming.
- Breaststroke is a much better cardiovascular workout than the other strokes.
- It helps strengthen heart and lungs while toning thighs, upper back, triceps, hamstrings and lower legs.
- It helps to work and tone the chest muscles.
3rd place: Backstroke
Backstroke is the second lowest calorie burner next to breaststroke. However, it’s one of the best for improving posture and toning the all important areas for showing off the summer swimsuit.
- Average calorie burn: around 250 calories for 30 minutes swimming.
- Practising keeping yourself straight in the water can help you to lengthen your spine, helping you look taller and less hunched.
- Backstroke works to tone the stomach, legs, arms, shoulders and buttocks.
- It’s great for improving the flexibility of your hips. Great for office bound workers.
2nd place: Freestyle
Freestyle is the fastest of all the strokes, so as you might expect it is up in second place for calorie burning potential.
- Average calorie burn: around 300 calories for 30 minutes swimming
- Swimming freestyle tones your stomach, buttocks and shoulders.
- Out of all the four strokes freestyle is said to have the greatest impact on toning back muscles.
1st place: Butterfly
It’s the hardest to learn, and definitely not for beginners, but Butterfly is at the top of the calorie burn list.
- Average calorie burn: around 450 calories for 30 minutes swimming
- It’s most effective all round stroke for toning and building muscles.
- It helps with upper body strength, toning your chest, stomach, arms (particularly your triceps) and your back muscles.
- It helps to increase your flexibility, suppleness and stretches out the body to improve posture.
So what are the most popular?
Freestyle is a fan favorite because it’s easy to learn and it burns major calories. But it pays to mix things up. “Using various strokes balances your muscles and helps beat boredom,” says Shinofield. Two to try are backstroke improves your posture by working your back and shoulder muscles) and breaststroke (it uses the hip and inner-thigh muscles, which are often missed in other workouts). Get the most from each stroke by following this advice from Shinofield:
Backstroke Eyes up. Look straight up at the sky or ceiling—not at your toes, which causes your hips to sink—so your head is in line with your spine. Make a Y. Reach back with each arm at a 45-degree angle to your body; it places less stress on your shoulders and makes your stroke stronger.
Breaststroke Sweep through. Reach your arms overhead, palms together. Rotating your palms outward, pull down until your hands are nearly level with your chin. Bring your hands inward by your chest, then reach again. Whip it. Bend your knees and bring your heels toward your butt. Turn your toes outward and kick your legs back and together (like a frog) as you extend your arms forward.
By Katie Ray