Swimming burns between 300 – 600 calories per hour depending on your weight, stroke, speed, and duration. This works out to be about 5 – 10 calories per minute.
It’s a great exercise to help you lose weight, tone your muscles, increase your fitness, and improve your health! Plus, it’s easier on your joints than walking or running.
If you’re wondering how many calories you burn swimming, use the calories burned swimming calculator below. We’ve also included some info on swimming for weight loss and how much weight you can expect to lose.
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Calories burned swimming calculator
The calories burned swimming calculator will give you a personal estimate of how many calories you burned swimming.
To use our swimming calories calculator, follow these steps:
Step 1 – Enter your weight in pounds or kilograms
Step 2 – Enter the amount of time swimming
Step 3 – Select your swimming stroke
For example, front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, or side stroke
Step 4 – Enter the distance
For example, the number of lengths, miles, or kilometers
Step 5 – Select the length of the pool
For example, a 25-yard pool, 25-meter pool, 33-meter pool or 50-meter pool
The calories burned swimming calculator will work out your calories burned swimming.
How does the calories burned swimming calculator work?
The swimming calories calculator works by first calculating the swimming distance. For example, if you’re going to swim 20 lengths, in a 25-yard pool, it will calculate it as 500 yards.
Once the calculator has worked out the distance, it calculates the swimming speed.
Based on your chosen swim stroke, it then rounds this speed to the nearest value according to data on MET (Metabolic Equivalent of Task) scores.
Using the MET score, your weight, and the time it takes to complete the swim, the calculator then uses a formula to calculate the number of calories you’ve burned during your swimming session.
The calories burned swimming are an approximation. You might burn more or fewer calories depending on your weight, duration, distance, and swimming stroke.
Calories burned swimming laps: 30 min, 45 min, and 1 hour
Front crawl (freestyle), and breaststroke all require lots of calories. However, some strokes will burn more calories than others.
Enter your weight in the box below to see the table update to show how many calories you’ll burn swimming laps of each stroke at a comfortable pace.
If you’d like to know if you’re swimming fast enough, use this swim pace calculator.
|Stroke||Calories in 30 Minutes||Calories in 45 Minutes||Calories in 60 Minutes|
Calories burned swimming distance
A good swim pace to aim for is to swim 100m in 2 minutes. The number of calories you’ll burn over a distance will depend on your weight, your swimming stroke, and the intensity of your swim.
Calories burned swimming 1000 meters
The number of calories burned swimming 1000 meters can be between 150 and 300, depending on your swim stroke, weight, and pace.
The table below shows the number of calories burned swimming 1000 meters in 20 minutes.
Calories burned swimming 1 mile
The number of calories burned swimming a mile can be between 220 and 455 calories.
The table below shows you the number of calories burned swimming 1 mile in 30 minutes.
Factors that influence the number of calories burned swimming
While swimming, you can burn between 300 to 600 calories per hour. However, you can burn more or fewer calories thanks to several factors.
Here are the key factors that can influence how many calories you burn during your swim.
The intensity of your swim
The more intense your swimming pace, the more calories you will burn.
The more strenuous swimming styles like butterfly or freestyle that have faster strokes will burn more calories than less strenuous styles like breaststroke. For more on swimming speeds, read average swim times by age.
The distance and duration of your swim
The longer the distance and duration of your swim, the more calories you will burn. If you can only manage a slow pace, aim to swim for longer.
Your body weight
Heavier swimmers will tend to burn more calories than lighter swimmers for the same swimming conditions. The reason for this is that it takes more energy to move a larger body mass through the water.
Generally, younger swimmers may burn more calories than older individuals as their metabolism tends to be faster. However, older individuals who swim regularly can still burn a decent number of calories.
The fitter you are, the more efficient your body will be at burning calories. As your fitness increases, although you might burn fewer calories, you’ll be able to swim for longer which results in more calories being burned.
Your swimming stroke
Using proper form can help reduce drag and make you more streamlined. This can help to conserve energy which means you’ll be able to swim for longer.
The water temperate and resistance
The colder the water, the more calories you’ll burn to stay warm. Also, if you are swimming in open water versus a pool, there can be more resistance which will also burn more calories.
Which swimming stroke burns the most calories?
Butterfly (quite obviously) burns the most amount of calories, but it’s not something most mortals can do.
Here’s the ranking of the major swimming strokes in order of least calorie burn to most calories burned for a 30-minute swim in a 25-yard pool (20 laps which is about 500 yards) for a swimmer that weighs 160 pounds.
- Backstroke – 183 calories
- Breaststroke – 202 calories
- Front crawl or freestyle – 221 calories
- Sidestroke – 267 calories
- Butterfly – 526 calories
Calories burned swimming: front crawl vs breaststroke vs backstroke
Here’s an example of calories burned swimming for a 200lb person, swimming for 1 hour, doing 20 laps in a 25-yard pool.
They burn 457 calories for an hour of slow backstroke.
Back stroke burns the least amount of calories.
That same person would burn 505 calories swimming for an hour of slow breaststroke.
Breast stroke burns 10% more calories than back stroke.
If they were to swim front crawl or freestyle slowly for an hour, they’d burn 552 calories.
Front crawl burns 10% more calories than breast stroke and 20% more calories than back stroke.
That’s 100 calories more an hour, by swimming front crawl or freestyle.
Is swimming a good way to lose weight?
Yes, swimming can be a good way to help you lose weight and improve your health. However, how effective it is for weight loss depends on several factors such as your diet, your overall fitness level, the intensity of your swim, and the duration.
Here are a few reasons why swimming is a good way to lose weight and some of the many health benefits of swimming:
Swimming is a full-body workout
Swimming uses multiple muscle groups throughout your body.
- Front crawl and backstroke work your arms, shoulders, core, and legs
- Breaststroke works your chest and thighs
- Butterfly (if you can manage it) focuses on your chest, abs, shoulders, core and legs
Swimming is a comprehensive cardiovascular and strength workout that can help you burn calories and build lean muscle mass.
Swimming is low-impact
Thanks to the water, swimming is gentle on your joints. It’s a great exercise option for those who are recovering from an injury or who have joint pain and conditions.
It burns calories and reduces your risk of chronic diseases
Depending on your swimming stroke, speed, and weight, swimming can burn a significant number of calories.
If you are already in a calorie deficit thanks to your diet, the extra calories burned can help with weight loss.
For more on diet and weight loss, read: How many calories should I eat to lose weight?
Apart from losing weight, regular swimming can also help reduce metabolic risk factors such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Swimming improves your cardiovascular health
Swimming gets your heart pumping, improving your heart health and promoting better circulation.
In a study to test if swimming improves cardiovascular health in sedentary women with mild hypertension, researchers found that those women who engaged in high-intensity swim training for 10 minutes, 3 times a week experienced a decrease in blood pressure and resting heart rate. They also lost weight. Those who swam at a moderate intensity continuously for an hour also experienced the same results.
If all you can manage is a quick 10-minute swim with swimming intervals as fast as you can, you’ll still experience some health benefits.
It can boost your metabolism
Regular swimming can increase your metabolism. This means your body will continue to burn calories even after you’ve finished your swim which can help with maintaining a healthy body weight.
Swimming can increase your lung capacity
Swimming is an aerobic activity that requires you to breathe deeply and rhythmically which can help improve your lung capacity. Lung capacity is the total volume of air that your lungs can hold. Increased lung capacity means that your body can take in more oxygen which can improve your physical performance, fitness, stamina, and health.
While swimming is a great way to kickstart your weight loss journey, it’s important to remember that you can’t outswim a bad diet. For the best weight loss results, incorporate regular swimming with a healthy diet.
How much weight can I lose swimming 5 days a week?
How much weight you can lose swimming 5 days a week will depend on your weight, your swimming stroke, and the intensity of your swim.
A pound of fat is about 3500 calories. This means to lose a pound, you’ll need to be in a calorie deficit of 3500 calories.
The best way to do this is to adjust your diet so that you are in a calorie deficit of 500 calories a day. Any extra calories burned through swimming will then be a bonus!
Approximate weight loss from swimming with no dieting
If you’re not up to changing your diet just yet, here’s an example of how much weight you can potentially lose swimming front crawl for 60 minutes, at a steady pace, 5 days a week for a month.
Keep in mind that this is an approximation so that you can have an idea of weight loss from swimming.
|Weight||Calories per swim||Calories per week||Approx weight loss in a month|
|150||414||2070||+/- 2 ¼Ibs|
|170||470||2350||Just over 2 ½Ibs|
|210||580||2900||+/- 3 ¼Ibs|
|230||635||3175||Just over 3 ½Ibs|
Approximate weight loss from swimming with dieting
If you start to eat a healthy diet and cut out extra sugars, you can easily be in a 300-calorie deficit through diet alone.
If you aim to swim front crawl, 5 days a week at a steady pace for a month plus adjust your diet, you can potentially lose the following amount of weight.
|Weight||Calories per swim||Calories per week||Approx weight loss in a month on a 300 Cal deficit diet|
|130||359||1795||Just over 3 ½Ibs|
|150||414||2070||Just over 4Ibs|
|170||470||2350||About 4 ½Ibs|
|190||525||2625||Just over 4 ½Ibs|
|230||635||3175||About 5 ½Ibs|
Keep in mind that the weight loss above will be different for each person. Some people will lose more weight and others less. You also might not consistently lose weight – as you burn off extra fat, your body can hit a plateau before dropping more weight.
If this happens, don’t give up – keep going with consistent exercise and watching your calories, and you’ll soon be back on track toward losing weight.
What burns the most calories, running or swimming, and which is better?
Minute-for-minute, running burns around 70% more calories than swimming.
However, running has an impact on the joints and may not be practical if you are overweight or perhaps have joint issues. If you are new to running, you can also put yourself at risk of injury if you run too fast or for too long.
One hour of running followed by 4 weeks of not running due to injury, burns far fewer calories than a steady hours swim, 3 times a week, for 4 weeks.
How much swimming is equivalent to running a mile?
A 40-minute front crawl swim, at an average swimming speed, is equivalent to running 1 mile.
Swimming workouts for weight loss
Swimming workouts are ideal if you are looking to lose weight because it’s easy on your joints.
The water also helps to support your body, which makes it ideal if you are very overweight or perhaps have a joint condition or injury.
If you are new to exercise, start your routine with swimming to help you lose weight and improve your fitness.
Once you’ve lost some weight, progress to walking.
The next level from there would be progressing from walking to running.
See this plans for more help:
Tips to swim for weight loss
Here are our top tips to swim for weight loss.
- Always warm up for 5 – 10 minutes in the pool before you start to increase the pace.
- Aim to swim laps at a fast pace but make sure that you can maintain the pace for the duration of your swim.
- Aim to swim for longer – the longer you swim, the more calories you’ll burn.
- Use a swim pace chart to help you work out the ideal pace for longer distances.
- Switch up your swimming routine so that you don’t get bored.
- Remember to cool down for 5 – 10 minutes before getting out of the pool.
- Swim 4 – 5 times a week to improve your fitness, endurance and to burn calories.
How to burn more calories swimming
When it comes to burning calories through swimming, there are several factors that can influence the overall energy expenditure.
Here are our top tips on how to burn more calories swimming.
Swimming faster can help you burn more calories. It requires greater effort and engages more muscle groups, leading to higher calorie expenditure during your swim.
Swim for longer
Extending the duration of your swimming sessions is another great way to burn more calories.
Swimming for longer, even if it’s at a slower pace, will help you burn calories.
Increase the intensity
Pushing yourself to swim with greater intensity and effort can significantly increase your calorie burn in each session.
Add interval training or sprint intervals to elevate your heart rate and metabolism.
Reduce your rest breaks
If you’re used to stopping to catch your breath or rest after an intense lap, by reducing the time spent in a resting period, you can increase the calories burned overall during your swimming session.
Use a kickboard or pull buoy
Using a kickboard during your swim can help increase your caloric burn. A kickboard allows you to focus on your upper body movements, leading to a higher calorie expenditure. It’s a great way to increase the intensity of your workout while improving your swimming technique.
A pull buoy does the opposite and helps you to focus on building upper body strength and focus on your freestyle strength.
Do interval training
Add interval training into your routine by including high-intensity bursts followed by a recovery period. This will maximize calorie burn and also increase your fitness.
Swim against a current
If you’re swimming in open water, practice swimming against a current. This adds natural resistance which will result in a higher calorie burn.
Swim in cold water
When you swim in colder water, your body will use more energy to keep you warm. However, make sure you do so safely and give yourself time to acclimatize to the cold water.
Take a swimming class
Joining a swim class can help you improve your technique and push your limits under the guidance of an instructor. This ensures a more effective calorie-burning workout.
Swim with friends and have fun
Swimming with friends can make your workouts more enjoyable and will help you stay motivated. Competitive or social swimming sessions can help you push yourself and stay consistent in the pool.
You can burn between 200 and 300 calories swimming for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity.
Butterfly stroke burns the most calories, followed by freestyle, breaststroke, and backstroke. However, the stroke that burns the most calories for you will depend on your individual fitness level and technique.
There are a few things you can do to burn more calories swimming:
- Swim faster
- Swim for longer
- Swim more intervals
- Use a kickboard or pull buoy
- Use a kickboard
Yes, swimming is a great way to lose weight. It is a low-impact exercise that is easy on your joints, and it can help you burn a lot of calories.
Aim for 3 hours of moderate intensity or 90 minutes of vigorous intensity each week. If you are doing other regular exercises this could be reduced.
- Compendium of physical activities: an update of activity codes and MET intensities
- Effect of regular swimming exercise on the physical composition, strength, and blood lipid of middle-aged women
- Improved Function and Reduced Pain after Swimming and Cycling Training in Patients with Osteoarthritis
- Regular swimming exercise improves metabolic syndrome risk factors: a quasi-experimental study
- High-Intensity Intermittent Swimming Improves Cardiovascular Health Status for Women with Mild Hypertension