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The Swimming/Fat Burning Mystery

If you like to swim, it’s good to be familiar with the Swim/Fat mystery. No, it’s not a Nancy Drew novel (as far as I know), but a conundrum about why swimming doesn’t seem to help average people lose weight.

I know–it sounds crazy! Swimming uses so many muscles at once and it sure feels like hard work. Alas, research shows that while swimming is excellent for your heart, muscles & joints, it doesn’t take off the pounds as well as other forms of exercise.

Some possible explanations and solutions are:

  1. Swimming doesn’t get your heart rate high enough, since your arms are doing almost all of the work. To fix this you can buy fins, large or small, that give your legs a killer workout and raise your heart rate.

  2. The water and horizontal body position makes it easier for your heart to pump blood than when you are on land, fighting gravity. To remedy this, just swim faster.

  3. Most people just get too relaxed in the water and don’t push themselves hard enough.

  4. Swimming–especially in colder water–increases your appetite. Studies show that people eat about 30% more calories after swimming in a cold pool than in a very warm one.
    Whatever the reason, keep swimming! Just try pushing yourself alittle harder and make sure you don’t overeat afterwards. And don’t be surprised if you need to add some other forms of exercise to really see the pounds come off.

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