Trimming the Waistline With Swimming Laps

Lap swimming burns calories for weight loss.
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Trimming your waistline is a good way to protect your health by lowering your risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Exercises that burn calories and get your heart rate up are options that aid in weight loss, making swimming an ideal choice. It is important to note that you can't use swimming for spot reduction, since it burns fat all over your body. Combined with a healthy diet, swimming is an effective way to lose excess fat around your middle as well as your in legs, arms and buttocks.

Exercise Recommendations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting 2-1/2 hours of exercise each week. This guideline is generally for people at a healthy weight. To lose stomach fat, you may need to exercise for as many as five hours per week. You may choose to swim laps exclusively to meet this requirement, or combine swimming with other forms of exercise, such as walking and biking. Add two strength-training sessions per week to build lean muscle mass, which helps increase your endurance and speed in the pool and boosts your metabolism.

Calories Burned

Swimming burns an average of 400 to 600 calories per hour. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume, making swimming a good way to create the deficit necessary to trim your waistline. Your specific calorie burn may be higher or lower depending on your body size and the speed at which you swim laps. The style of swimming you choose also plays a role in how many calories you burn. For example, freestyle swimming burns more calories than the breaststroke, notes "The Daily Mail."


If you are new to swimming, build your routine gradually as you gain strength and endurance. U.S. Masters Swimming suggests doing laps for 30-second intervals, with 30 seconds of rest in between. Slowly increase your swimming time while decreasing your rest time until you are able to sustain a steady pace for your entire session. Swim for 30 to 60 minutes, three to four days per week to meet the exercise recommendations.

Strength Training

Swimming burns calories, helping you lose belly fat, but adding strength-training exercises helps tone and define the muscles in your stomach. Many can be done right in the pool, either before or after you finish your laps. Squats, bicycling, leg lifts, standing crunches and treading water are good options for engaging each muscle in your abdomen.


Despite the calorie-burning potential of a lap-swimming session, eating too many calories could undo your efforts and hinder weight loss in your belly. Consume a diet of whole foods from each food group to satisfy your hunger and control caloric intake. Avoid processed, sugary and fatty foods like candy, soda, cookies and chips, which are low in nutrients and high in calories.

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