Trying to lose weight, but fed up with the gym? Go swimming instead So, you made it through January with an impressive number of trips to the gym, and stuck tirelessly to a healthy eating regime, but then came February. Now your enthusiasm for the running machine has waned. You are dreaming of cheese, chips and chocolate. Dry January is in the distant past and the empty calories in your evening tipple are hampering your efforts to lose weight. Sound familiar? Don’t throw in the towel just yet. Even those with the most enthusiastic determination to eat healthier, get fit and lose weight, find the months between the end of January and Spring a real slog. Rather than trudge along in a rut, with more cancelled gym nights than you care to make a note of, and more slips from your healthy eating plan than you’d like to admit, why not ring in the changes instead. Ditch the gym and go for a swim. We’ve put together oodles of facts about how swimming will help you to lose weight, where to swim, some tips for the pool, and 3 benefits you weren’t expecting. Read on to get your weight loss plan back on track, or more aptly, into the pool! How to lose weight swimming Regular swimming, combined with a well-balanced diet, should enable you to lose weight. You’ll need to commit to a regular swimming routine. Going swimming 3-4 times per week for at least 30 minutes should bring positive results. Aim to increase your swim time to 60 minutes as you improve. Begin by doing intervals. If you’re a novice swimmer, start by swimming for 30 seconds and resting for 30 seconds. As this gets easier, increase your swim time, and reduce your rest intervals. Try to get to a point where you can swim 20 lengths without stopping. More advanced swimmers can try sprinting 2-3 lengths and then swimming one length more slowly. Whatever your swimming ability, you can change to different strokes for variation. Floats and weights can also be used to intensify and vary your routine. One huge tip is to always have a healthy snack for after your swim. Research has shown that some individuals can gain weight when following a swimming routine due to an increased appetite. The exact reason why swimmers have an increased appetite isn’t clear, but it’s thought to be because of the effect of cool water on body temperature. There are a few things you can do to control your appetite and stay on track with goals. As long as you stick to a healthy eating regime you should still be able to lose weight. It’s a good idea to drink plenty of bottled water before, during and after your swim. Where to swim For the ultimate commitment, have your own pool installed at home. Lap pools, such as those provided by Compass pools, are the swimming version of a treadmill and enable you to take to the water at times to suit you, within the comfort of your own home or garden. Otherwise, if your health club (where you have been going to the gym) has a pool, simply switch your gym routine times to swimming instead. Alternatively, check out your local swimming baths. Most pools have adult-only swimming times, specified swim lanes, and times when overall it is quieter. You may need to try a few different sessions to find the ones that suit you best. For those with an appetite for adventure, wild swimming is a magical experience. Or if you live close to the sea, most places have a sea swimming group you can join for a sociable experience while you reap the benefits of swimming exercise. It’s always best to join a group as the currents in open waters can be dangerous, and a group with experience will not only look out for you, they’ll know the best places to go. Also ensure you have the appropriate swimming equipment when swimming in this environment that will provide optimal protection from the ocean. Tips for swimmers: lose weight faster • Use your legs intensely when you swim • Alternate lengths where you go faster, with lengths where you swim more slowly to catch your breath • Set yourself challenges. Try adding one more length to your routine each time you swim or set yourself more challenging times to reach a certain number of lengths. • Work on your swim technique. Take some one-to-one lessons if you can. Improving your swimming skills will mean you are more likely to stick at it • Be vigilant about your food intake 3 benefits from a regular swim programme • Swimmers of all ages have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease • Swimming is quiet, smooth and rhythmical, and has been shown to benefit depression. It’s been likened to meditation. • Swimming is perfect for those prone to injury as your weight is fully supported in the water, so there’s no pressure on your knees or your back. Go on, test the waters. You’ll have your weight loss plan back on track in no time! About the Author: Dakota enjoys sharing her experiences of living a healthy lifestyle through her blog posts. Working as a freelance writer for a multitude of different industries, when she's not writing or cooking up a storm in her kitchen she enjoys hiking and countryside walks with her family.