Swimming - how much and how often to make a difference?

(21 Posts)
fatlazymummy Sat 13-Oct-12 08:42:05

soggysummer definitely not a blind hope! I found it great for toning me up. Swimming uses a lot of muscle groups and it is resistance training as it requires more effort to move through water than air.
Breaststroke is good for the arms, pec area and inner thighs. I also found it strenghtened my pelvic floor.
When I added breaststroke [to a reasonable level] I found my tummy improved dramatically, I noticed a difference within 3 weeks.

Definitely book some time with a teacher to correct your stroke if you learned how to swim a while ago. Although swimming is a very gentle and effective sport, it can cause strain if you are swimming incorrectly ie if you look top far up on your breaststroke, it can cause neck strain. You would probably only need a couple of sessions and doing stroked correctly can make it much more effective.

Huf, if freestyle makes you out of breath, don't worry, it will come. You can breathe bilaterally (ie on each side) and then build up to breathing on every second, then third stroke. Swimming a bit slower will leave you less breathless and as your swimming and fitness levels improve, so will your breathing. You can also try to swim with a kick board in one hand (curl your hand over the top so that your forearm is resting on it) then do the arm stroke on one side only. This will allow you to concentrate on your arm stroke and breathing without too much body roll. The mistake that most people make is holding their breath so make sure you breathe out fully through your mouth and nose during recovery (when your arm is out of the water). Not fully exhaling will make you breathless too .... Have fun and try not to think too hard about it grin

SoggySummer Sat 13-Oct-12 00:09:21

I have just restarted swimming again. I am not particarly good, but do breast and back stroke.

I try and swim fast (for me) and am out of breath enough to have to sometimes stop for moment or 2. I also try and increase my number of lengths every week.

I am hoping that even if its not burning masses of calories it will help tone up a few muscles and make some bits a bit less wobbly. Is this a blind hope??? I also think I am more likely to take myself off to the pool than the gym and that swimming surely has to burn more calories than sitting on my arse at home mumsnetting!

eightytwenty Sat 13-Oct-12 00:00:58

Would thoroughly recommend stroke development classes to anyone wanting to improve their style or fitness. I do 2 hours per week. It's made a massive difference to my fitness. I've lost 1.10 stone and my brain is challenged all the time. Never a tedious moment. I used to be ravenous/ good for nothing afterwards, but my body has got used to
It I think.

stargirl1701 Wed 10-Oct-12 18:48:57

I swim at 6:30am. I have a banana before I go and then porridge and fresh fruit when I return. I'm not hungry again till lunch. I can't swim in the evening without snacking though. I doubt I would've lost the weight swimming after work rather than before.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 10-Oct-12 18:23:34

I swim most days, do yoga most days, do bodypump once a week
and am 5:2 intermittent fasting
it seems to work

Stylelostinlabour Wed 10-Oct-12 17:36:21

Well you do have to be careful with swimming for weight loss as unless it's cardio as other have said it won't really do much also as someone has said it makes you hungry so can undo all the hard work.

I swam last year 6 days a week 2 miles plus a day (pool, sea, docks and lakes) and gained two stone but i was training for a swim challenge smile you need to do other exercise with swimming to have an impact I believe.

mummymeister Wed 10-Oct-12 17:22:56

I go once a week for an hour and swim fast enough during the time to be out of breath but too unfit to do much more than this. i also do zumba for an hour and walk 15 minutes briskly every day. weight still coming off with slimming world diet so i am happy

Huffpot Wed 10-Oct-12 16:46:32

This thread inspired me and I went last night and really enjoyed just doing my own thing. I did breast stroke and back stroke.
I just can't get my breathing right with free style and its really annoying me

mirai Tue 09-Oct-12 11:17:09

Thanks for the replies everyone. My pool doesn't have any vending machines so I can't be tempted afterwards, I'll just take a bottle of water!

I am going to go again tomorrow and will mostly do breaststroke but will try some backstroke, I just get so worried with backstroke ill end up crashing into the wall, or another swimmer!!

I go by myself so no one to talk to me or distract me so will just get focussed and see how I get on! smile

TellMeLater Tue 09-Oct-12 03:55:14

Swimming makes me hungry, as a consequence I have never found that it makes any difference to weight loss.

fatlazymummy Tue 09-Oct-12 00:41:56

Swimming was my main exercise while losing weight. I used to go 3 times a week.
It's hard to say how far you should be swimming as everyone swims at a different level. You should be pushing yourself to swim a little faster and further each time.
I agree with talkingpeace. swimming up and down chatting non stop to your mate won't achieve much .
You might also find it helpful to vary your stroke. I swim breaststroke and backstroke [unfortunately I can't do freestyle] as it will work different muscle groups. Some people also recommend throwing in some sprint lengths [a form of HIIT]
Lastly, stay away from the vending machines! It might be a good idea to take your own snack for after your swim [obviously to fit in with your own diet.

Huffpot Mon 08-Oct-12 19:32:23

Hiya Mirai

I'm only fairly new to swimming as was a late learner. I go for a 30 minute lesson once a week as I'm not massively confident but am going to try and go once more through the week. I do SW as well and I do think it helps my weight loss

TalkinPeace2 Mon 08-Oct-12 13:45:44

"to make a difference"
- to make a difference to your cardio system, ANYTHING that leaves you out of breath for 30 minutes 3 times a week - ie swim fast enough that you cannot talk
- to add to weight loss, a fair bit done regularly BUT 50 minutes of breast stroke = 500 excess calories burned = one normal 6 inch subway sub.
To lose weight you have to eat less AND not eat lots because you have done some exercise

I swim a mile 4 or 5 times a week (1604 metres, takes me 40 minutes)

if you are losing weight, swimming is really good as it helps the circulation all over and helps the skin to shrink....
if you are chatting while swimming you are not achieving anything much

springlamb Mon 08-Oct-12 11:02:07

But at the other end of the spectrum - the tentative swimmer one - I have lost 12lbs since August bank holiday by swimming 20-26 slow lengths on a Saturday and a Wednesday and doing an aqua-fit class on a Monday. I can only swim breaststroke too. Although the class is a tough one.
OK, I have been watching my food intake too but I am a feast-or-famine dieter.
I have lost about 4/5 inches round my middle.

mirai Mon 08-Oct-12 11:00:50

Yes, making a difference is definitely losing weight or, in my case, slimming down my huuuuge found behind!!

Well done star girl that's a great achievement. I can only go twice a week because of work, I will aim to work up to 60 lengths, managed 30 last time!

stargirl1701 Mon 08-Oct-12 09:25:05

I lost 3 stone over 1 year by swimming 50 lengths every day. I did not change my diet. I now maintain my weight swimming 5 days a week, 40 lengths a day.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Mon 08-Oct-12 09:17:18

For me, to make any difference, I have to swim 60 lengths freestyle (25 metre pool, takes me about 40 minutes) once or twice a week. It will be different for different people.

Basically I need to come out of the pool feeling wobbly-legged and with achy arms. If I find it hard to lift the hairdryer up to dry my hair afterwards I know I've done enough.

By making a difference BTW I mean losing weight.

mirai Mon 08-Oct-12 08:58:40

How far do you swim when you go, Huffpot?

Huffpot Mon 08-Oct-12 08:49:18

Shall watch with interest as I go once a week and am looking to increase it :-)

mirai Mon 08-Oct-12 08:48:30

Just as it says in the title really, what kind of distance should I be aiming for when I go, and how often should I be going a week?

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