The Calories Burned Swimming

I took up swimming recently, mostly because it is something I always wanted to do, but also because it is a great way to burn calories and unlike other sports is zero impact. Because of the zero impact nature of swimming, it is something you can do long term without risk of injury although the calories burned swimming are not as high as other physical activities like Basketball or running.

Skip Directly to: Calories burned swimming: breaststroke | backstroke | freestyle | sidestroke | treading water

As you will see from the list below, for any given body weight, the Butterfly stroke burns the most calories. It is also the hardest to learn and in my experience the last you do learn. The calories burned figures below are based on swimming each specific stroke for an hour, based on the closest body weight. For shorter time periods, simple divide the numbers shown. As an added bonus, in addition to calories burned from the actual physical movement, research also shows that thermogenic effect of the water adds to the calorie burn and increases fat loss.

Calories burned swimming Freestyle

130lbs: (fast) 590 calories | (slow) 413 calories
155lbs: (fast) 704 calories | (slow) 493 calories
180lbs: (fast) 817 calories | (slow) 572 calories
205lbs: (fast) 931 calories | (slow) 651 calories

Calories burned swimming Backtstroke

130lbs: 413 calories
155lbs: 493 calories
180lbs: 472 calories
205lbs: 651 calories

Calories burned swimming Butterfly

130lbs: 649 calories
155lbs: 774 calories
180lbs: 899 calories
205lbs: 1024 calories

Calories burned swimming Breaststroke

130lbs: 590 calories
155lbs: 704 calories
180lbs: 817 calories
205lbs: 931 calories

Calories burned swimming Sidestroke

130lbs: 413 calories
155lbs: 493 calories
180lbs: 472 calories
205lbs: 651 calories

Calories burned treading water

130lbs: 236 calories
155lbs: 281 calories
180lbs: 327 calories
205lbs: 372 calories

Additional Resources


  1. C says:

    the cals burned treading water look low to me- maybe for “just hanging out” treading, but numbers I have seen before for “vigoorous” treading are about equal to the crawl.

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