Obesity, how swimming can help

Fitness & Wellness
Written by: Marco Borreca at 22 June '18 0
You are reading: Obesity, how swimming can help

One can only imagine the harmful consequences that this illness will have upon the individual that suffers from obesity. But what is it exactly?

What is obesity and how common is it. Let’s talk numbers.

One is officially considered obese when the percentage of fat in the body is above 30% of the weight; to give you a reference point: for a man, the fat mass is usually between 12-15% whereas women generally have a percentage between 16-25%.

It’s an illness considered a “wealth” problem in it being more common in highly developed countries with a higher availability of food (especially of unhealthy food) which, combined with an unhealthy lifestyle, create a disastrous combination for one’s health.

Having excessive weight can also be hereditary and in some cases due to the thyroid or the endocrine system not functioning as they should be.1

Swimming, an important ally to fight obesity

If you suffer from this illness, staying still waiting for something to improve is the wrong approach. You have to act on it.

Physical exercise and swimming in particular, if done regularly and in the correct way, will help the body achieve positive results.

Swimming in particular is a sport that will help you use the most amounts of calories: besides using them through the physical effort itself in providing the muscles with energy, you also use them in order to compensate the loss of heat in the water.

How to work out

My suggestion is to break the workout down into 4-5 sessions throughout the week: if you work out more frequently, you will avoid staying at home and continue with the bad habits that it entails.

Also, if you are obese, because of the added weight, the metabolic effect will be higher on your body compared to a person of normal-weight. Consequently, you will be burning more sugars than fat which will essentially stimulate your “desire for food” (in other words, the first feeling you’ll have after making the physical effort of working out will be that of wanting to eat).

During your swim, the ideal thing to do is not to maintain an elevated speed (meaning not exceeding 70% of your maximum frequency) in order not to consume those sugars instead of calories which wouldn’t be helpful for your weight-loss.

Instead, we suggest you to work out using a heart-rate monitor in order to ensure that you stay within the ideal range in order to burn fat. It’s best to guarantee a range of between 60-70% of your maximum frequency which can be calculated using the following formula: 208-(0.7xage). 2

The benefits of swimming

Water gives your body the sensation of lightness, decreasing the stress on the joints which are normally put under pressure. By improving the ratio between fat body-mass and lean body-mass the strength in your body will improve, leading to higher resistance and improving your coordination and motor-skills.

Also, your self confidence will improve once you see what you’re capable of which is fundamental when making the effort to improve your body physically.

You have to be patient though, and not give up if you haven’t seen the results you imagined after just a month.

Keep on track, knowing that the path may be long and difficult, but with the right determination combined with having the right people helping you out, you can reach any goal that you set out to.

A hot shower, a healthy dinner and see you next time.


1 Jequier E. e Tappy L.: Regulation of bodyweight in humans.
2 ”Metodologia degli allenamenti”, Scienze motorie Preventiva ed Adattata, Università degli studi di Pavia, anno 2010.

Written by:

Marco Borreca

Marco Borreca was born in Milan in 1985. After his competitive swimming career, he continued his sports studies graduating from the faculty of Preventive and Adaptive Motor Sciences in Pavia. He has been working as a swimming/ fitness instructor and rehabilitation expert at various sports centres since he was very young. He mainly focuses on using water for recovering motor skills in the case of sports injuries and disabilities. He currently works for a municipal sports centre as the Head of Fitness and also works for a private practice as a kinesiologist.