Calories Burned Swimming Calculator

Medically reviewed by Gabrielle Kane, RDN, CSP, LD Gabrielle Kane Gabrielle KaneRDN, CSP, LD facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MSc (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach Payal Karnik MSc (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 2.5 years
Edited by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , BSc (Life Sciences), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach Himanshi Mahajan BSc (Life Sciences), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
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Swimming is undoubtedly one of the best aerobic exercises to stay fit and active. It also helps burn calories. However, the number of calories burned during swimming depends on multiple factors. This handy tool will help you estimate how many calories you burn by swimming. Scroll down to check out the tool and understand more about it.


Swimming Type

Distance Type


Swimming Calculator: How It Works?

The calculator uses your weight, swimming duration, swimming style, distance covered, and type to calculate the estimated calories burned. You have to enter all this information in the tool to get a value.

You can also refer to the MET (Metabolic Equivalent) value to calculate your energy expenditure. Here’s the formula:

Calories Burned (per minute) = (MET x 3.5 x weight in kilogram) / 200

The metabolic equivalent is based on the pace used while swimming. This means the faster you swim the more likely you are to burn your calories and the higher would be your MET. It is a standard that has already been calculated by physiologists (1).

How Many Calories Does Swimming Burn?

Calories burned during swimming depend upon the metabolic equivalent (MET) and also the duration.

The following table illustrates the MET values and the number of calories burned as per the guidelines by the CDC and The American College of Sports Medicine (2):

Moderate Activity

(3.0 to 6.0 METs)

(3.5 – 7 kcal per minute)

Vigorous Activity

(Over  6.0 METs)

(Over 7 kcal per minute)

– Recreational swimming

– Treading water (slow, moderate effort)

– Diving (platform or springboard)

– Snorkeling

– Aquatic aerobics

– Waterskiing

– Surfing (body or board)

– Swimming (steady, paced laps)

– Treading water (fast, vigorous effort)

– Synchronized swimming

– Water polo

– Scuba diving

– Water jogging

– Water basketball

Note that these values are estimated for an average adult weighing 70 Kg (154 pounds). The chart is applicable for men (30-50 years) and women (20-40 years).

Swimming (freestyle, fast, and vigorous), in general, burns around 590 calories for a person weighing 130 pounds. Whereas a person weighing 155 pounds may burn 704 calories (3).

The next section highlights the calories a person may burn per hour. Scroll down.

Estimated Calories Burned Per Hour

The table lists the number of calories a person may burn per hour, as per their activity levels (3):

ActivityCalories Burned (as per body weight)
130 pounds155 pounds190 pounds
Swimming laps (freestyle, fast, vigorous effort)590704863
Swimming laps (freestyle, light/moderate effort)472563690
Swimming (breaststroke, general)590704863
Swimming (backstroke, general)472563690
Swimming (leisurely, general)354422518
Swimming (butterfly, general)649 774949
Swimming (sidestroke, general)472563690
Swimming (treading water, moderate effort)236 281 345
Swimming (treading water, vigorous effort)590704 863
Swimming, synchronized472563690

Keep reading to check out the answers to the most common questions related to swimming, calorie burning, and weight loss.

How Many Calories Does Breaststroke Burn Per Hour?

Breaststroke can help burn anywhere between 590-863 calories per hour and 300-500 calories every 30 minutes, depending on the person’s weight and speed (3).

Breaststroke Vs. Backstroke: Which One Burns More Calories?

Breaststroke is more effective and burns more calories compared to backstroke (3). However, the amount of calories burned during swimming also depends on speed and intensity.

How Much Weight Loss Is Possible With Swimming?

The amount of weight loss depends on the weight and age of the person and the duration and intensity of swimming. A study found that swimming for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity, three times a week could help shed 1.4% of the body weight in 6 months (4).

How Long Does It Take To See Results From Swimming?

You may expect to start seeing results after a month. However, do not expect quick results. You have to be consistent. Swimming regularly for an hour is beneficial for losing weight and improving overall toning and flexibility in the long run.

Running Or Swimming: Which One Burns The Most Calories?

For a person weighing 130 lbs, running (general) can help burn 472 calories in an hour, while swimming (breaststroke, general) burns 590 calories (3). However, several factors might impact the results, including the intensity, speed, surface (on which a person runs), stroke style, and duration. Both are excellent ways to lose weight and tone the body. Running may not be practical for overweight or obese people. Swimming might be suitable for them as water plays an important role in providing resistance and buoyancy, which won’t stress out the joints, as they don’t have to bear any extra weight or pressure (5).

How Much Swimming EqualsTo Running A Mile?

A mile on land is 1609 meters. However, when comparing it to swimming, you have to consider the laps. If you are swimming in a pool that is 25 meters long, it will take 64.4 laps to cover a distance of a metric mile (1500-1600 meters).

The strokes used during swimming matter a lot and work on different muscles in your body. Let’s find out in the next section.

Swimming Strokes And Muscle Workouts

Here’s an overview of the stroke styles and the muscles they target:

  • Breaststroke:chest, back of shoulders, quads, and calves.
  • Backstroke: trapezoids, quads, middle and upper back, and glutes.
  • Freestyle swimming: triceps, biceps, forearms, chest, quads, neck, middle and upper back.
  • Butterfly stroke: neck, abs, chest, shoulders, upper back, lower back, calves, lateral hamstring, quads, and trapezoids.

Swimming is an all-round activity and is also suitable for beginners. If you are a beginner, these workouts will be helpful to get used to swimming at the required pace. Here’s a guide to swimming lengths for beginners:

Swim Workouts For Beginners: 500 Yards

  • 4 x 25-yard – warm-up
  • 2 x 25-yard: freestyle with 40 seconds rest in between each lap
  • 2 x 25-yard: swim at your pace with your kicks of choice and one minute rest between each lap.
  • 2 x 25-yard: backstroke with 50 seconds rest in between each lap.
  • 2 x 25-yard: breaststroke kick with one minute rest in between each lap.
  • 2 x 25-yard: Swim at an average pace with your kicks of choice
  • 2 x 25-yard: Swim at an easy pace to cool down.

You can gain a lot of benefits by incorporating swimming into your exercise routine. Scroll down to learn more:

Benefits Of Swimming

  1. May Help You Relax: If done regularly swimming may help lower stress levels, anxiety, and depression.
  2. Helps Maintain Overall Well-Being: Just indulging in 30 minutes of swimming three times a week, coupled with a balanced diet is one of the best ways to stay healthy, active, and have a positive mental outlook.
  3. Helps Tone The Body: Swimming is an excellent way to tone muscles, improve flexibility, and enhance muscle strength compared to other aerobic exercises. It’s because swimming involves all the muscle groups to help you propel through the water. It is also helpful in improving bone strength in post-menopausal women.
  4. Helps You Lose Weight: Swimming is perhaps the most effective way to burn calories. Even leisurely swimming at an easy pace for an hour helps burn 354-518 calories (3).
  5. Helps Boost Energy Levels:Inactivity leads to a sluggish metabolism, as a result, you feel tired all day long. Swimming for only 30 minutes three days a week may help boost your metabolic rate, which keeps you feeling energetic.
  6. May Help Relieve Pain: Swimming is easy on the joints and is a good way to keep them moving and healthy. It may also help relieve certain types of aches and back problems. It benefits people with joint issues like arthritis, as the water provides resistance and support to the joints.
  7. May Keep Your Heart Healthy: Swimming is a great form of cardiovascular exercise. Just 30 minutes of swimming daily helps improve your heart’s efficiency, boosts blood circulation, and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  8. Improves Sleep: Swimming helps improve your sleeping habits. It helps reduce anxiety, helps your body decompress, and get prepared for rest. A study found that aerobic exercise could improve sleep for people having difficulty sleeping. Researchers found that six weeks of moderate-intensity aquatic exercise improved sleeping time and reduced musculoskeletal pain (6).

Swimming is a low-impact workout that helps condition your body, boosts metabolism, and burns calories to promote weight loss. Using this swimming calculator can help you track your calorie expenditure and modify your activity levels, and duration, and type accordingly. If you want to burn more calories, go for butterfly strokes. However, if you want to increase your swim duration and burn calories, backstroke and breaststroke are better suited.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I have to swim to burn 500 calories?

You have to swim for an hour (vigorous breaststroke) to burn 500 calories.

What happens if I swim daily for a month?

Swimming, every day for a month, can improve your lung capacity and stamina. Also, it helps tone your body, boost mental health, burn calories, and strengthen muscles.

Can swimming regularly helps burn belly fat?

Yes. Swimming is a full-body workout and can help tone your body, burn calories, and reduce belly fat and weight.

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Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Metabolic Equivalent: One Size Does Not Fit All
  2. Benefits and Risks Associated with Physical Activity
  3. Calories Burned Per Hour
  4. A Comparison Of The Effects Of Swimming And Walking On Body Weight Fat Distribution Lipids Glucose And Insulin In Older Women—The Sedentary Women Exercise Adherence Trial 2
  5. Effect Of Regular Swimming Exercise On The Physical Composition Strength And Blood Lipid Of Middle-Aged Women
  6. Effect of Aquatic Exercise on Sleep Efficiency of Adults With Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain
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Gabrielle Kane
Gabrielle KaneMS, RDN, CSP, LD
Gabby is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with 11 years of experience. She is also the founder of Peak Performance Nutrition LLC in Houston, Texas. She coaches both adults and children to their peak health using the power of sustainable lifestyle change.

Read full bio of Gabrielle Kane