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Is Swimming Making You Fat?

Is Swimming Making You Fat?

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Maybe swimming isn't actually making you fat, but it's certainly not the best fat reducing exercise. Read on to learn why.

Have you ever noticed most competitive swimmers aren't lean looking like figure competitors or bodybuilders? Even the top Olympic competitors seem to carry a higher percentage of body fat than their sister track athletes.

I certainly have always been curious about that and recently found the answers.

According to many studies women who take up swimming to lose weight have a much harder time than those who use other forms of cardio such as jogging or cycling. Their fitness level improves, but body fat reduction is more challenging.

It turns out the body doesn't exactly go into fat-burning mode when we're swimming.

When we step into a body of water, our bodies begin to lose heat rapidly. In response to this, the blood vessels in our muscles constrict so warm blood can be redirected to the vital organs. This is the body's natural way of ensuring we survive.

The resulting constriction of blood in the muscles makes our muscles act more like insulation. Without the blood flow needed for aerobic exercise, the muscles go into oxygen deficits, which is anaerobic (i.e. will not use fat for energy well).

This anaerobic state isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just isn't as beneficial for burning off fat.

We also tend to not swim at a high enough level for as long as we should when swimming. 40 minutes of laps is a very long time - more than most will perform.

The absence of getting into that aerobic fat-burning zone combined with the anaerobic state of your muscles due to the cool temperatures of the water make swimming just not ideal to burn fat.

So if one of your top goals is to shed those fat pounds, switch out your swimming for other aerobic exercises like jogging, cycling, or dancing steady state or HIIT.

Author: Kristin Shaffer
kristin@figureandbikini.org

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