How long can you swim

Swimming - all-rounder for your fitness

Swimming improves your fitness and gets your body in shape. Why exercising in the water is really so healthy and how you can finally become a better swimmer.

This is how swimming improves your fitness

What is swimming good for? Quite simply: swimming is healthy and makes you fit all round. The prerequisite is that you learn to swim properly and train in a way that fits your goals.

But even if you just start swimming on it, your body will benefit from the movement in the water: swimming trains the cardiovascular system and strengthens the muscles without straining the supporting apparatus.

Your whole body is always challenged in the water. Which muscles are particularly stressed differs depending on the swimming style. Their lowest common denominator is that Use of the upper back muscles. Technically clean swimming is therefore ideal for getting rid of classic (office) tension.

Effective training despite a low heart rate

When exercising in the water, your heart rate will be lower than on land. Therefore, swimming training is no less effective than running or cycling. The main reason for the lowering of the heart rate is the "Immersion effect”: Immersion in water stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system.

This is the part of your nervous system that is responsible for recovery. In this function, it regulates, among other things, the unconscious control of the heart rate and the centralization of the blood circulation. To put it simply: underwater, your body fully concentrates on supplying the vital organs with oxygen.

The water pressure and the horizontal position of your body also play a role. They improve the stroke volume of the heart through easier blood flow. It doesn't have to beat as often to transport enough blood.[1]

Calorie Consumption Swimming - Overview

How many calories you burn while swimming depends on your level of training and your general physical conditions. Also the Swimming style and the Training intensity make a huge difference. One thing is clear: taking a leisurely lane, including a chat, burns more energy than sitting in a café. But you're not setting a calorie record. You have to make a little effort for that.

Tip: You don't know how many calories you actually (consume) need? Our free calorie calculator provides a remedy.

Calculate calorie requirement

How many calories do you burn while swimming?

The following numbers show that average calorie consumption while swimming. They are rough guidelines for amateur athletes and swimmers. The best way to find out your real calories burned for each session is with a water sports exercise Fitness tracker.

Swimming calorie consumption

  • Calorie consumption breaststroke: 400 - 700 kcal / hour
  • Calorie consumption freestyle swimming: 500 - 800 kcal / hour
  • Calorie consumption backstroke: 200 - 500 kcal / hour

3 reasons to lose weight with swimming

Lose weight by swimming? Good idea! The training in the water fits perfectly into yours Weight loss training plan. You can plan a water session as an alternative to running or bike training, or you can go for a swim with cardio.

1. Water vs. body temperature

The water temperature in public pools is usually 26-29 °. That is 10-13 ° less than your average body temperature. These Temperature difference stimulates the Thermogenesis, i.e. the heat production of your body. This also gets your fat burning going.

To put it simply, this means: Your body has to be keep warm and burn calories in the process. Without even swimming a meter.

2. Swimming is easy on the joints

This is an essential point, especially if you have a few pounds too much. The water situation when swimming relieves your entire holding and supporting apparatus. You can move as long as you like without overloading your joints.

Tip: As a beginner, give yourself the time for a swimming course or a few coaching lessons to get around the To learn technique. Not only will you burn more calories, but you will also reduce the risk of overuse injuries.

3. Weight training included

Swimming challenges the whole body and strengthens thanks to the water resistance all major muscle groups. Especially as a beginner or a returnee, you build muscles with regular swimming training. This will permanently increase your Basal metabolic rate.

In other words: You can eat more without gaining weight.

If swimming is going to be your primary cardio workout, consider water sports in your swimming training plan demands the upper body more, than for example running. Swimming in the evening before an upper body workout can be too taxing.

Our tip: To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you use. With our Fitness recipes for weight loss you always have an eye on how much you are eating. Without sacrificing, with 100% taste.

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Is swimming good for building muscle?

The typical swimmer's body doesn't come out of nowhere. In performance-oriented swimming training, you challenge your muscles so intensely that you can see a clear difference, especially in the area of ​​the Shoulder and back muscles will see.

Swimming trains everyone large muscle groups and the intermuscular coordination. Breast and crawl swimming in particular strengthens your back and arms. The crawl is an intense strain of Trapezius and latissimus. This creates the classic wide back of the swimmer.

But the rest of the body is also involved in the movements. If you start swimming regularly as a beginner, swimming will help you Build muscleto define and strengthen.

In moderate swimming, your muscles work in the Strength endurance area. The muscle cross-section hardly increases. Your muscles do not become wide, but rather defined and powerful. In order to achieve this effect, your training must take place in the anaerobic area.

Anaerobic exercise means that your body produces the energy it needs for exercise without the aid of oxygen. Since this is relatively strenuous, you can only train relatively briefly in the anaerobic area.

The best way to reach the mit intensive intervals in the water. For example swim 5 5x 50 m fast, swim 25 m easy.

Where the anaerobic area begins varies from person to person. For ambitious athletes, it is worth taking a lactate test from a sports doctor. It determined your aerobic-anaerobic threshold and gives you the name ideal heart rate zone for your training.

If it doesn't have to be that exact, it's a good one Rule of thumb: Swim so fast in the intervals that you could say a few words in between, but not have a relaxed conversation.

Swimming helps build muscle

Although strength endurance training does not make your muscles immediately wider, as a swimmer you also benefit in the gym:

  1. The Lactate tolerance of muscles increases. They tire later, you can do more repetitions.
  2. Through the Capillary effect your muscles will be better supplied with nutrients and energy. This supports performance and regeneration.
  3. The combination of these two effects can help you recover faster.

Our tip: When it comes to building muscle, nothing works without them right nutrition. Support your muscles with high quality protein and healthy snacks.

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Which muscles does swimming train?

As a swimmer, you train always your whole body. Only which muscles you particularly train in the water depends on your swimming style. As with every sport, the same applies here: Technology counts. The better you swim, the better you train your muscles.


With the breaststroke, you mainly train your back, especially your back broad back muscle (latissimus dorsi). The Abdominal muscles “Stabilize” the body in the water. The Glutes supports the complex leg movement. The front and back of the thighs also work together.


Backstroke mainly trains them entire gluteal muscles (gluteus maximus, medius and minimus). Due to the flat position in the water, this swimming style also strengthens yours Core, who must avoid lowering the buttocks while swimming. Since a significant part of the propulsion comes from the upper body, the latissimus dorsi is also involved here.

Swimming on your back also improves your health Mobility of the shoulder girdle. Because of this, and thanks to the relaxed position of the head and neck in the water, you can get rid of neck tension with backstroke swimming after long days in the office.

Freestyle swimming

Freestyle swimming demands especially many muscle groups. Chest, arms, shoulders, upper back, straight and oblique abdominal muscles, as well as lower back, buttocks, hips and legs bring you forward in the water. Above all, the work here too broad back muscles (latissimus dorsi) and the Trapezius (trapezius muscle).

But beware: When it comes to crawling, it's not about paddling like crazy with your arms. Rather, you should work on optimizing your gliding phase. The fewer arm strokes you need on a lane length, the more powerful and efficient your swimming style.

Do you want to build muscle specifically? Then take a look at ours free muscle building workouts past. Fun, sweat and success guaranteed.

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How healthy is swimming

Swimming is effective cardiovascular training that does not strain the supporting and holding apparatus and is therefore very gentle on the joints. Provided you have mastered your swimming style and choose a style that suits you.

After a shoulder injury, crawling, for example, can be the wrong choice, especially if the technique is not right. There is no general answer as to which swimming style is healthy for you.

Is swimming healthy? Swimming styles at a glance

Any swimming style that you can swim technically clean is healthy. Backstroke is always great. With an unclean chest or crawl style, the following problems lurk depending on the training intensity, frequency and extent of the incorrect movement:


  • Tension in the cervical spine
  • Back problems due to hyperlordosis (hollow back)
  • Knee problems with an unclean leg kick or previous injuries


  • Neck tension from unilateral exhalation
  • (Reinforcement) muscular imbalances
  • Overuse injuries in the shoulder


How often is it healthy to swim?

To benefit from the positive effects of swimming on your cardiovascular system, you should Do the 30 minutes of endurance sports at least 3 times. It doesn't have to be swimming every time. For example, you can swim twice and walk once or to jog - or the other way around.

You swim best for your health approx. 30 - 40 minutes without a break. But it doesn't have to be 30 minutes from the start. For example, you can start at 20 and gain 2 minutes each time you swim.

It is best to start at a pace that you can easily hold out for that long. If you underestimated yourself and it was too easy, swim a little faster next time. When you get out of the water, you want to be easily out of breath.

To make progress in your swimming training, you should aim at different levels 2–4 weekly swimming units be on your swimming training plan.

Whether health-oriented or ambitious: swimmers also need a break. With our 9 tips for quick regeneration after exercise, it's best for you to recover.

Swimming badges - you have to be able to do that[2]

If you want to have your swimming ability in black and white, there are various swimming signs and qualifications that you can complete in Germany. The basics are the Swimming badges gold, silver and bronzethat build on each other.

So if you want gold, you have to have bronze too. Then you can become a lifeguard, also in gold, silver and bronze.

For jobs that involve people in the water, you usually need at least a bronze lifeguard and, accordingly, the three basic swimming badges. Some universities also require sports students to have a lifeguard badge.

Otherwise you rarely need swimming badges. But you are a beautiful one Proof that you can swim safely.

Bronze badge swimming requirements

  • Dive once from the surface of the water approx. 2 m deep and collect a diving ring
  • a foot jump from the starting block or 1 m board
  • a dive from the edge of the pool
  • Swim at least 200 m for 15 minutes without a break, e.g. B. 150 m abdominal swim and 50 m backstroke. You have to change position while swimming without taking a break.
  • Knowledge of the applicable bathing rules

Silver badge swimming requirements

  • Dive twice from the surface of the water approx. 2 m deep and collect a diving ring
  • Dive 10 m after pushing yourself off the edge of the pool
  • two different jumps from the 1 m board or one jump from the 3 m board
  • A dive from the edge of the pool
  • Swim at least 400 m for 20 minutes without a break, e.g. B. 300 m abdominal swim and 100 m backstroke. You have to change position while swimming without taking a break.
  • Knowledge of the applicable bathing rules and self-rescue

Gold badge swimming requirements

  • dive three times within 3 minutes from the water surface approx. 2 m deep and collect a diving ring,
  • Dive 10 m without pushing yourself off the edge of the pool
  • two different jumps from the 1 m board or one jump from the 3 m board
  • A dive from the edge of the pool
  • Swim at least 800 m for 30 minutes without a break, e.g. B. 650 m abdominal swim and 150 m backstroke. You have to change position while swimming without taking a break.
  • Start jump and 25 m crawl swim
  • Start jump and 50 m breaststroke under 1:15 minutes
  • 50 m backstroke, either with a straddle swing without arms or crawling
  • 50 m transport swimming, pulling or pushing
  • Knowledge of the applicable bathing rules, self-rescue and simple rescue by others: What do you do in the event of a bathing or boating accident? What about an accident on the ice?


Learn to swim better - 8 tips

You will learn to stay afloat and swim safely in basic swimming courses. They are also available for adults. The bronze swimming badge is the official proof of safe swimming. Just because you can stay afloat doesn't mean you can swim well.

Correct to learn how to swim It pays off: The more economical your movement, the more efficient, faster and more energy-saving you swim. It doesn't just look more elegant off but also minimizes the risk of injury.

1. Get a trainer

Learning technology is difficult. And especially in the water you don't see your own fault, your status quo or your potential. And let's be honest: technical training can be quite frustrating and boring. With a trainer by your side to correct and motivate you, it's easier to stick with it and make progress faster.

Tip: So that you don't lose the fun of it, set 1–2 fixed dates for technique training and allow yourself to swim for fun anyway.

2. Watch yourself

Seeing yourself helps a lot. Ask your trainer or a training partner to tell you to film while swimming. Watch the videos and your movements afterwards at normal pace and in slow motion. Compare them to videos of professional swimmers. This way you will understand better yourself where you have to work on yourself and you can concentrate on it when you train.

3. Learn to breathe

Sounds natural when doing sports. But it is not. Breathing properly is essential in water. With the right breathing technique you are faster, more efficient and more focused. In addition, you avoid unnecessary neck and back problems and swallow less water. And chlorinated water really doesn't taste so delicious that you want to swallow it all the time.

4. Gliding instead of paddling

A long gliding phase brings you forward elegantly, quickly and economically. So your goal should be As few arm strokes as possible per lane to make and slide as long as possible. You can achieve this with a clean and powerful technique. Concentrate consciously on taking full advantage of the sliding phase.

5. Rely on isolation training

Arms, legs, breathe, slide, don't swallow water and don't go under. Swimming requires a lot of coordination. The best way to learn the individual movements is to train them in isolation. For example, practice the kicks in the crawl while holding a board in your hands and letting your upper body lie calmly in the water.

Every movement and every swimming style can be trained in isolation with different exercises.As soon as you have mastered the individual movements safely, you can bring them together while swimming.

6. Swim as slowly as you can

Concentrate on the entire movement, breathing, sliding phase. Take the time to swim slowly. Feel the lightness, strength and elegance of movement under water. How easy it is when you swim clean If your focus is purely on clean movement, your body will gradually internalize it. Until you can swim as fast as you want.

7. Focus on one style

First learn the stomach, then the back, then the crawl and if you find everything easy, learn butterfly swimming. Movement in the water is demanding in terms of coordination. Do not overwhelm yourself, but rather give your mind and body time to study one by one. So you will learn everything right right away. At first glance, this takes longer, but it makes much more sense in the long term.

8. Swim with a training plan

Going for a swim whenever you want is great. If you want to lose weight, build muscle, improve your endurance, or get faster, you will achieve it with a training plan much easier. What it looks like depends on your goal and your starting position.

Are you already a swimmer and used to training with a plan? Then check your performance every 6 weeks and adjust the plan if necessary.

This equipment will help you swim

In fact, you don't need anything except to swim Swimwearin which you feel comfortable and which does not slip when you jump into the water or exert yourself.

There is also one for sporty swimming Swimming goggles Super. It protects your eyes from chlorinated water so that you can see what's going on around you while you breaststroke and scratch, without having to raise your head. Even if you just want to relax and swim a few lengths, you can avoid neck tension with swimming goggles.

Lots of swimmers use it Nose clips or earplugsl made specifically for swimming. This prevents water from entering the ears and nose. This is not a must, but it is helpful if you have a water problem in your ears or nose. It is best to try out for yourself whether this equipment helps you or rather bothers you.


  • Swimming is a healthy full body workout and improves fitness.
  • Swimming is suitable for weight loss and strength endurance training.
  • The right technique is a prerequisite for healthy, sporty swimming.



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  • [1] Such U, Meyer T: The maximum heart rate. In: German magazine for sports medicine. Volume 61, No. 12 (2010). Pp. 310-311.

  • [2] (as of May 30, 2020, 07:30 am)