Swimming is an amazing total body workout. It’s good for your heart, muscle tone, and depending on whom you ask, it can be very good for weight loss.

How Calories Are ‘Burned’

The rate at which your body burns calories for energy is known as your metabolism. When you exercise, this rate increases and you burn more calories. Just how many calories you burn and how long your metabolism stays elevated depends on a wide variety of factors including gender, body composition and, most importantly, your level of exertion.

Related: How to Burn More Calories When You Swim

But how many calories can you really burn while swimming? And how does swimming stack up to other endurance sports like running or cycling? The answer varies, but here are a few numbers to ponder:

Factors to Consider

Related: 30-Minute Swim Workout to Burn Max Calories

First, your weight plays a big role in how much you burn. Generally, the more you weigh, the more calories you burn. Additionally, your metabolism is also an important factor in how many calories you burn. Below are some estimates based on research data from the American College of Sports Medicine. These estimates are based on one hour of swimming, rather than total distance.

  • A 130-pound person swimming freestyle for one hour will burn 590 calories swimming fast, and 413 calories swimming slower.
  • A 155-pound person swimming freestyle for one hour will burn 704 calories swimming fast, and 493 calories swimming slower.
  • A 180-pound person swimming freestyle for one hour will burn 817 calories swimming fast, and 572 calories swimming slower.
  • A 205-pound person swimming freestyle for one hour will burn 931 calories swimming fast, and 651 calories swimming slower.

Mixing up the Strokes

Each competitive stroke engages different muscle groups, so your total calorie burn for a swim workout will vary depending on how much of each stroke you swim. If you want a killer workout, incorporate IM work!

Related: How I Lost 10kg Swimming with MySwimPro

Butterfly is the king of calorie-burning. According to Nutristrategy.com, a 130-pound person can burn 649 calories in one hour swimming butterfly, while a 205-pound person can burn up to 1,024 calories.

How Does Swimming Compare to Running and Cycling?

Related: Why Technique Is So Important To Swimming Fast

• Running for 1 hour at a 9:00/mile pace burns anywhere from 649 to 1,024 calories depending on your weight. Your total calorie burn will naturally increase the faster you run.
• Cycling for 1 hour at 15 miles per hour will burn anywhere from 590 to 931 calories depending on your weight.

If calorie burn is your main goal, swimming is a great option. And considering how easy the sport is on your joints, it’s a workout you can enjoy doing—while knowing that you’re getting results!

For more swimming tips, Workouts and resources, download the MySwimPro app! Use code SWIM35 for $35 off your first year of MySwimPro Coach >