How Many Calories Does an Hour of Swimming Burn?

There are many variables to consider when it comes to how many calories you can burn while swimming.

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Swimming is an excellent workout for your whole body. It’s a great way to get your heart rate up and burn calories, without putting too much stress on your joints. But how many calories does swimming actually burn?

The answer depends on a few factors, including your weight, the intensity of your swim, and how long you swim for.

Generally speaking, you can expect to burn around 100 calories per half-hour of moderate swimming, or 200 calories per half-hour of vigorous swimming. However, this is just a general guide—you may burn more or less than this depending on your personal circumstances.

To get a more accurate estimate of the number of calories you may burns while swimming, there are a few online calculators that you can use. For example, the Harvard Health Publishing website has a calorie calculator specifically for swimming. To use this calculator, you will need to know your weight and how long you plan to swim for, in minutes. The calculator will then give you an estimate of how many calories you will burn during your swim.

Another option is to use a heart rate monitor to track your calorie burn while swimming. This can be a useful tool if you want to see how different intensities affect your calorie burn rate. However, it’s important to note that even with a heart rate monitor, there will still be some estimation involved in calculating your calorie burn—heart rate monitors are not 100% accurate.

Finally, it’s worth considering that the number of calories you burn while swimming is not the only factor that determines whether or not swimming is an effective weight loss tool. The number of calories you consume throughout the day also plays a role. If you consume more calories than you burn off—regardless of how many of those calories come from swimming—you are likely to gain weight. On the other hand, if you create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories than you burn—again, regardless of how many of those calories come from swimming—you are likely to lose weight over time.

How Many Calories Does Swimming Burn?

Swimming is a great way to stay in shape and burn calories. But how many calories does swimming actually burn? That depends on a few factors, including your weight, intensity, and type of stroke. In general, you can expect to burn anywhere from 200 to 400 calories per hour of swimming.

Factors That Affect the Number of Calories Burned

The number of calories you burn while swimming depends on a variety of factors, including your weight, swimming style, distance and pace.

An 155-pound person swimming freestyle for one hour at a moderate pace will burn approximately 590 calories. The same person swimming breaststroke will burn slightly fewer calories, about 530. And if that person swims at a vigorous pace, they’ll burn around 710.

Of course, these are just estimates, and the actual number of calories burned can vary depending on your individual metabolism and other factors. But this should give you a general idea of how many calories you can expect to burn during an hour of swimming.

The Bottom Line

Regular swimming can burn anywhere from 500 to 700 calories per hour. That’s a huge range, but it really depends on how vigorously you swim and how much you weigh. A 125-pound person burns around 606 calories per hour, while a 185-pound person will burn 844 calories in the same amount of time.

How to Maximize the Number of Calories You Burn While Swimming

Swimming is a great way to burn calories and get in shape. But how many calories does swimming actually burn? And how can you maximize the number of calories you burn while swimming? Let’s take a look.

Incorporate Intervals

If you want to maximize the number of calories you burn while swimming, you should incorporate intervals into your workout. Intervals are periods of intense swimming followed by periods of active rest, during which you continue to swim but at a lower intensity. This type of workout will not only help you burn more calories while you are swimming, but it will also help you improve your cardiovascular fitness and become a better swimmer overall.

Use a Pool with a Current

If you want to burn the most calories possible while swimming, you should use a pool with a current. The current will resistance, causing you to burn more calories. You can also swim against the current to increase the intensity of your workout and burn even more calories.

Use Aquatic Weights

If you’re looking for a way to up the ante on your swimming workouts and burn even more calories, consider adding some aquatic weights to your routine. While the actual number of calories burned while using aquatic weights will vary depending on your weight, intensity level, and other factors, one study found that participants burned an average of 11.4 calories per minute while using them.

Incorporate a Total-Body Workout

While swimming is primarily a lower-body workout, you can use it to target different muscle groups by incorporating a total-body routine. For example, you can do a set of freestyle laps, followed by a set of backstroke laps and then finish with a set of breaststroke or butterfly laps. This way, you’ll not only vary your workout routine but also keep your body guessing, which can help you continue to see results.

Swimming vs. Other Forms of Cardio

Swimming is often hailed as the best form of cardio because it is a low-impact activity that is easy on the joints. In addition, swimming provides a full-body workout. But how does swimming compare to other forms of cardio when it comes to calorie burning?


Running is a high-impact form of cardio that can be tough on your joints. If you have joint pain, you may want to consider swimming as an alternative form of cardio.

Swimming burns more calories per hour than any other type of cardio, making it an ideal exercise for weight loss. In fact, you can burn up to 500 calories per hour swimming laps at a moderate pace.


While it may be a close tie with swimming when it comes to popularity, biking is a very different form of cardio. Biking is classified as a low-impact form of cardio, meaning it’s much easier on your joints than something like running. For this reason, many people who are looking for a cardio workout but can’t or don’t want to run turn to biking.

An hour of biking can burn anywhere from 250 to 750 calories, depending on the intensity of the ride. Biking at a moderate pace of 12 to 14 miles per hour will burn the lower end of that range, while doing a vigorous ride that reaches speeds up to 20 miles per hour will burn the higher end.


The elliptical is a great option for those who are looking for a low-impact cardio workout. Elliptical training can help you burn calories and improve your cardiovascular fitness without putting undue strain on your joints. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re using an elliptical:

– Use a moderate resistance setting to start. You can always increase the resistance as you get more comfortable with the motion.

– Make sure that your elliptical is properly calibrated. An elliptical that is too easy will not give you the full benefit of the workout, while one that is too hard can be dangerous.

– Stand up straight and use a full range of motion. Don’t cheat yourself by only moving your legs partway through the elliptical’s range of motion.

– Use your arms as well as your legs. The elliptical is a great full-body workout, so make sure to use both your arms and legs to get the most out of it.

The Bottom Line

Looking at the bigger picture, an hour of swimming can burn anywhere from 360 to 840 calories, making it a great way to shed some extra pounds. Swimming at a moderate pace of two laps per minute will torch around 360 calories per hour, while swimming vigorously can burn up to 840 calories per hour.

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