Swimming is a good way to get a whole body workout. Just swimming laps burns 476 calories per hour. But if you really want to burn more calories, you have to take your game up a few notches. Mark Schubert, head of the U.S. National Team and seven-time Olympic swimming coach, shares 5 secrets to burning more calories in the pool:
One way to burn more calories in the pool is to keep your heart rate at around 80 percent of your maximum for most of your workout (or for as much of your workout as you can). To estimate your heart rate, subtract your age from 220, and then multiply by 0.8. To monitor you heart rate through out your workout, stop after 10 to 15 laps and use the pool clock to count your pulse for 6 seconds, and add zero to that number. Swimming vigorously burns up to 680 calories per hour, based on a 150-pound woman.
Using toys or swimming equipment such as a kickboard, hand paddles, swim fins, or a foam buoy that fits between your legs help you burn more calories, plus tone your arms and legs. Community or neighborhood pools usually have them. You can also pick them up at your local sporting-goods store.
Mix it up
Divide your laps into what coaches and professional swimmers call a ladder. Break up your laps this way: one lap, two laps, four laps, six laps, four laps, two laps, one lap. Follow segments with 15 to 30 seconds of rest in between each.
Brisk swimming is the fastest way to burn calories. However, that does not mean that you have to race through your entire workout to get the benefit. Try swimming with varying speed and ease. You can do one length easy, then one length fast; two lengths easy, two lengths fast; and so on. You can also break up your workout into 4 to 6 segments and swim one fast lap at the end of each.
Basically that means decreasing your rests in between laps or intervals. According to Mark Schubert, you should spend no more than 10 percent of your water time hanging around your lane. Schubert suggests cutting your rests in half, until you’re pausing just 10 seconds between laps or intervals.