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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown

Janet Aylott

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant


Swimming breastroke versus swimming leisurely?

Hi Kelly, I noticed that someone has asked advice on swimming in a previous post but I am still a little confused.... Please could you define/explain what you think the difference is between swimming breaststroke general and swimming leisurely (for calorie expenditure)? Is it style of stroke, number of lengths in a given time, number/length of stops required/taken..????? Thanks


Our expert says...


This is a good question, I will try and clear your confusion be explaining the definition of both but one of the reasons why it is slightly confusing is because the two categories have the ability to overlap and be adapted (this is because every individual’s swimming workout will be different).

Breaststroke general – refers to someone doing a moderate level of intensity workout using solely the breaststroke technique. With it being a ‘general’ / ‘average’ effort and we can estimate a certain calorie demand and from the movement and muscle demands of the breaststroke (versus other strokes) we can also conclude a certain level of calorie output. This is swimming with a specific purpose to create some intensity.

Swimming leisurely – refers to someone using potentially one or a variety of stroke techniques and doing so at a ‘leisurely’ pace – where they may have breaks at the end of a lap (number of laps) and these rests may vary in length. Generally, this definition would apply to the person getting in a pool and casually swimming up and down without particular attention paid to pace, intensity, rest intervals etc. Or alternatively, this could be someone who is swimming with a friend and having the odd chat.

Although the clarity of difference for these two categories is a subtle one, we have found over time that some individuals fall very much in to one and only one of these categories whereas some actually alternate between the two.

Hope this helps,


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