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Swimming Calorie Calculator

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How does this calories burned swimming calculator work?What is MET, and what are its values for swimming?How many calories does swimming burn? Calculate it yourself!Swimming or water aerobics for weight loss? Go for it!FAQs

If you've ever felt the need to count the calories burned while you were swimming, you have found the right place — our swimming calories calculator! We created this tool for those of you who want to monitor your workouts, answer the question "How many calories does swimming burn?", and estimate your swimming calories, so you can get the most out of your visit to the swimming pool. You can also use our calories burned swimming calculator to compare the effects of different water activities and choose the one that fits you best — click through the options to see how the results change depending on the stroke and sport.

Be sure to continue reading this article if you'd like to learn how to calculate how many calories do you burn swimming, find out the MET of different strokes, or just discover more about water sports and how they influence your body — from water aerobics for weight loss, to simply walking in water for your joints!

Swimming calorie calculator: swimmer in a pool

How does this calories burned swimming calculator work?

The swimming calorie calculator estimates how many calories are burned while swimming for a given amount of time. To provide the most accurate result, it takes different factors into account, so you need to supply the tool with the following information:

  • Your swimming style. Contrary to what people often think, the way one swims does make a difference. What's more, swimming is not the only effective water-based exercise. The swimming calorie calculator allows you to choose from several other options, such as water jogging, water aerobics, or even simply treading water. The difference between all these activities is their MET (Metabolic Equivalent of Task) values - a crucial component of the formula for calories burned. If you're wondering what is MET, don't worry, you can find more about it later in the article.
  • Your body weight. Please be advised that in the case of severe obesity, you might need to calculate adjusted body weight for accuracy's sake.

These two pieces of information are enough for the calculator to estimate the rate at which you burn calories while swimming (or performing other waterborne activities). If you add the swimming time, you will also see precisely how many calories you should burn in that time.

What is MET, and what are its values for swimming?

MET (short for Metabolic Equivalent of Task) is a unit measuring the energy an activity consumes compared to resting. One MET means something burns one calorie per kilogram per hour (1 kcal/kg/h), which roughly translates to the energy used when sitting still. MET has become the go-to tool for physical activity guidelines and recommendations and divides sports into three categories:

  • light-intensity activities (MET below 3);
  • moderate-intensity activities — (MET from 3 to 6); and
  • vigorous-intensity activities — (MET above 6).

We got the values for the water activities included in our swimming calorie calculator from the Arizona State University Compendium of Physical Activities:



Swimming (backstroke, intense, high effort)


Swimming (backstroke, recreational, moderate/low effort)


Swimming (breaststroke, intense, high effort)


Swimming (breaststroke, recreational, moderate/low effort)


Swimming (butterfly, general)


Swimming (crawl, intense, high effort)


Swimming (crawl, recreational, moderate/low effort)


Swimming (sidestroke, general)


Treading water (high effort)


Treading water (relaxed, moderate/low effort)


Water aerobics and calisthenics


Aqua jogging


Water walking (high effort)


Water walking (relaxed, moderate/low effort)


🙋 You can find out more about MET and its values for many different activities (like walking, running, or jumping rope) in our MET minutes calculator.

How many calories does swimming burn? Calculate it yourself!

Even though the calculator does the work for you, we understand that you might feel more confident in its results if you learn the math behind it. Don't worry - it's not complicated! If someone ever asks you, "How many calories do you burn swimming?", all you need to do is use the following formula:

calories burned per minute = (MET × body weight in kg × 3.5) / 200

If you'd like to figure out how many calories does swimming burn in a specific time, you just need to take the number obtained in the formula above and multiply it by that time in minutes!

Swimming or water aerobics for weight loss? Go for it!

Are you working on a weight loss program and can't quite decide what physical activities to choose? One thing is certain — working out in water is the way to go. As long as you don't have any medical conditions preventing you from submerging yourself, exercising in your local pool is bound to be a fun and effective way to reach your ideal body weight.

So what's so great about swimming or water aerobics for weight loss? There are several reasons why exercising in water is great:

  • Water provides more resistance than air, forcing your muscles to do extra work!

  • At the same time, it supports a good portion of your weight. This takes the pressure off your joints, making it not only easier but also safer to exercise in it, especially at the beginning of your weight loss journey.

  • Moving in water tends to relax pent-up muscles and is often recommended for people experiencing back pain. It will not only help you lose weight but will also most likely help your posture!

  • Last but not least, it's fun! Especially in the summer months, working out can get tiring in high temperatures. This problem disappears if you do it in the pool!


How many calories can be burned swimming for hour?

A 150-pound adult can burn an estimated 250–986 calories per hour during swimming. Exact calculations depend on swim stroke:

  • Butterfly (general): 986 calories/hour;

  • Treading water (relaxed): 250 calories/hour;

  • Backstroke (recreational): 343 calories/hour;

  • Backstroke (intense): 679 calories/hour;

  • Crawl (recreational): 593 calories/hour;

  • Crawl (intense): 714 calories/hour;

  • Breaststroke (recreational): 379 calories/hour; or

  • Breaststroke (intense): 736 calories/hour.

Note that the exact number of calories burned may vary depending on your weight.

How can I burn more calories while swimming?

If you want to increase the number of calories burned while swimming, try interval swim training. This means that when swimming, alternate periods of hard effort with time for recovery.

For example, do a 50-meter freestyle sprint, then a 10-second rest, and repeat this cycle five times. This way, you can burn 25 to 30 percent more calories.

Is swimming a good way to lose weight?

Definitely, yes! Swimming provides a full-body workout and is gentle on your joints, unlike other forms of exercise, such as running or strength training. In addition, swimming improves mood, cardiovascular health and increases your body's flexibility. While you're losing weight, don't forget to eat a healthy diet, especially if you plan to swim extensively.

How many calories can I burn swimming for 30 minutes?

Someone weighing 140-pounds will burn from 117 calories (treading water relaxed) to 460 calories (butterfly style) during 30 minutes of swimming. The exact number of calories depends on your weight, swimming strokes, and how fast you swim.

Why am I not losing weight swimming?

If you've started swimming, but the weight is still not budging, and you're starting to get frustrated, try these pro tips:

  1. Plan your diet accordingly on workout days to reduce after-workout appetite.

  2. Try strokes that will burn more calories. If you don't swim butterfly, try freestyle.

  3. Modify your training by introducing intervals (high effort with periods of relaxation).

  4. Swim at least 2.5 hours a week during the weight loss process.


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