How Swimming Can Help You Lose Weight and Get Stronger, According to Trainers


When it comes to activities that can help you lose weight, swimming probably isn’t at the top of your list — running, yes. Strength training. But swimming? Is splashing around really a severe fat burner? According to Stacy Caprio, a former swim coach and Red Cross water safety instructor, it is. “Swimming is one of the best activities you can do to tone and slim your entire body,”

She says. You use your arms and legs to stay afloat and your back muscles to propel you. Plus, if you’re burnt out on other forms of cardio like walking or jogging, swimming can be a welcome change. Best of all, you don’t have to commit to a Michael Phelps-style training routine to reap the benefits. Here’s what makes swimming a stellar exercise for slimming down, plus some simple tips for diving in.


Like all types of cardiovascular exercise, swimming burns calories and can help you lose weight. But unlike, say, walking or jogging, moving through the water creates extra resistance, forcing you to use your muscles more.

“Swimming tones your upper body, lower body, and core at the same time, giving you a full-body workout and more overall muscle definition versus other cardio activities like running,”

says Caprio. For example, the breaststroke and butterfly work your shoulders, arms, and chest, while the backstroke strengthens your back, abs, and quads.