There's no doubt that swimming is a great form of exercise - it uses muscles throughout the body, and gives you a great cardio workout. But what if you want to lose weight? We investigate the role of swimming in weight loss and come up with some surprising answers.
Quick quiz - is swimming good for weight loss, yes or no? It sounds like a trick question, but in fact it's not - it's actually a highly debated issue in the fitness field. Here are the facts.
At face value, swimming should be excellent for weight loss. It involves almost all your major muscle groups, can place a vigorous demand on your heart and lungs, and is popular with a wide variety of people including those who are pregnant, extremely overweight, or have some kind of injury.
Swimming breast stroke or backstroke can burn about the same number of calories as a fast walk or a slow jog, while freestyle (front crawl) can burn as many calories as running. But for some reason swimming appears to be less effective than other forms of exercise when it comes to weight loss.
A look at the research literature shows that this is not just word of mouth.