- Written by by Queen Munguti for Kenyakidz
A study conducted by the University of Indiana on the effects of swimming found that an easy swim burns around 500 calories an hour, while a vigorous one can burn as much as 700 calories in the same amount of time, concluding that no other workout burns calories, boosts metabolism, and firms every muscle in your body, without putting stress on your joints, better than a swimming workout.
This research is part of the information that guides Bernice Amina, a swimming teacher and instructor, as she looks to help people lose weight through swimming.
“I teach women and kids how to swim. However, if someone comes to my class and says that they would like to lose weight through swimming, I offer them the Swimming Intensive Training regime, which requires a lot of dedication because it is vigorous,” she said.
The intensive training session covers different swimming styles, from breast stroke to back stroke. “I train them as if they are going for a swimming tournament and I don’t just focus on a particular body part at a time-I exercise the whole body so that they lose weight in all areas at the same time.”
The researchers at the Indiana University found that regular swimmers of all ages had leaner muscles and trimmer waists and hips, compared to non-swimmers. This, they found out, was because swimming workouts are the result of a perfect storm of calorie burn and muscle recruitment.
But swimming alone is not enough to keep the weight off. In fact, a three-month research by the University of Florida on swimming found that some people actually gained weight when following a swimming regimen because their appetites were provoked to rise after prolonged exposure to cold water, and thus they ended up eating more than usual.
This is why Amina puts her clients on a strict diet, in addition to the swimming sessions.
Swimming“I advice them to do away the familiar “Kenyan” breakfast of tea and bread, and instead recommend that they eat a heavy breakfast such as Ugali, accompanied with meat-or githeri-because they use up a lot energy during the day,” she said.
“For lunch, they should eat from the three food groups, that is proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins. As for supper, I advise that they take vegetables and/or fruits only because they lose very little energy when asleep. Indulging at night will mean just storing the food in your body instead of working it off,” Amina said.
She also emphasizes that they should practise portion control and reduce the amount of food that they eat by almost half.
“This will help their bodies adjust to the change it is going through. You have to change your lifestyle if you want to accomplish your goals and do some walking when possible, because it keeps you active,” she said.
“If you stick to the diet and exercise at least twice a week, they can lose up to 10kgs in three months.”
Amina’s regimen is supported in part by Dr. Joel Stager of the Councilman Center for the Science of Swimming at Indiana University who says that” swimming is a safe activity, which once you have mastered, you can engage in almost every day without risking injury.
“You cannot say the same for running or strength training and that makes swimming something you can do for your entire life,” said Dr. Stager.
And swimming does a lot more than just leading to weight loss-it is also an anti-ageing treatment.
"Our research shows that habitual swimmers are biologically up to 20 years younger than their actual age,” says Dr. Stager.
Amina charges Sh3000 for six sessions of the workout program and Sh6000 for a minimum of 12 swimming lessons. Children under three years are not charged.
She holds her sessions at the Barclays Club, in Thika, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 4pm and at the Visa Oshwal Academy, in Westlands, on Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 4pm. The entrance fee to the venues, which is paid separately, is Sh100.
One class has maximum of 10 people and can last for two hours.
To get in touch her, call her on 0721861604 or 0732332497 or reach her through her Facebook page, Bee's Swimming classes.