Swimming A Mile A Day: 7 Practical Steps To Losing Weight

Swimming a Mile a Day

Everywhere you look, there are all kinds of fads and trends guaranteeing that you will lose weight. Meal replacements, carb-free diets, and pre-made frozen meals are some of the many get-fit quick remedies that are out there right now. 

The truth of the matter is… there really isn’t a “get-fit quick” remedy. There’s no magical thing you can buy that will make your unwanted weight disappear. The actual way to lose weight and achieve your fitness goals is through tried-and-true dedication and determination.

While diet is a big part of achieving your weight loss goals, exercise is instrumental as well. One exercise in particular, swimming, is especially helpful because it low impact on your joints, but has all kinds of amazing benefits.

If you want to incorporate swimming as a part of your weight loss journey, consider setting a goal like swimming a mile a day. It’s an easy goal to remember and can get easier and easier to achieve as your time goes on. Because of this, we’ve compiled a list of the 7 steps to lose weight by swimming a mile a day. Once you read through this, you’ll see it really is something you can incorporate into your life that can make a big difference. 

1. Know Your Distance

To lose weight swimming a mile a day, you’ve got to figure out how many laps you will need to swim a mile in your pool. Every pool is different. Some pools are 25 yards, some are 25 or 50 meters.  

Here are the most common pool lengths and the number of laps you’ll need to do to get your mile in…

Pool SizeLaps per Mile
25 yards33
25 meters30
50 meters15

It’s also important to note that there are many fitness trackers out there that will help you keep track of your distance swimming. So, after you get the hang of it and you begin seeing results, invest in one! It’ll save you time and you won’t have to focus so much on counting each lap! 

2. Alternate Strokes

Swimming A Mile A Day

For some, swimming a mile can become a little tedious. Unlike running a mile, swimming a mile can take around 25-30 minutes (or longer), depending on your level of experience.

Changing up your strokes can make things go by faster and help you use different muscles in your workout. You could alternate your strokes day by day or even lap by lap to make things interesting! 

Here are the four main swimming strokes you can alternate.


Combines an overhead arm pull in which the arms are moving in an alternating pattern and scissor kicks.  Freestyle is one of the fastest swimming strokes. 


In the breaststroke, both arms simultaneously make semicircular movements and the legs perform frog kicks. The breaststroke is the most popular of the four swimming strokes, but is also the slowest of the four. 


Combines an overhead arm pull with both arms and a dolphin kick.  The butterfly is also considered one of the faster swimming strokes and is by far the hardest stoke to learn. 


Performed on the back (hence the name) and uses an overhead arm pull in an alternating pattern.  The legs perform a scissor or flutter kick similar to the kick used for freestyle. The backstroke is the only one of the four swimming strokes swum on the back. 

3. Work On Building Your Sets

Another tip for swimming a mile a day to help you lose weight is to work on building your sets. It might sound overwhelming to dedicate yourself to swimming a mile a day, but it doesn’t have to be! 

Just like any other workout, you can break it up. For example, if you are swimming in a 25 meter pool and you have to swim 30 laps to get your mile in, you could do a 5 lap warm up where you take your time and alternate strokes. Then, you could do 20 laps as your main set (taking a small break in the middle), and then a 5 lap cool down.

This is another great way to change things up, keep things interesting, and also work within your abilities. As you begin, you may need a longer warm up, cool down, and breaks in between. Then, as you build endurance each day, you can make those breaks smaller and work longer in between. 

4. Build Your Speed

Swimming A Mile A Day

Like I said above, the average swimmer can do a mile, give or take, in about 25-30 minutes. Most competitive swimmers can accomplish this feat around the 20 minute mark. 

So, as you are working out and swimming your mile each day, you can also set goals for yourself and try to build your speed. Of course, you’re going to need some days where your mile is a “recovery” and slower paced, but maybe you could pick one day a week where you go as hard as you can. It sounds fun to me! 

Not only is this fun, the faster you get, the more calories you will burn! Not to mention, you’ll also get done with your workout faster, which is a plus as well! 

5. Track Calories Burned 

If you’re wanting to use this fitness goal of swimming a mile a day to lose weight, you’ll probably be more successful if you track the calories that you are burning. It’s important to understand realistically how hard your body is working in order to monitor your calorie deficits in order to lose weight.

There are online calculators that can determine this for you, but there are also some incredible fitness trackers out there that can calculate your calories burned based on your heart rate, weight, and other health information. In fact, some of these fitness trackers (like the Apple Watch, Garmin, and more) can both track your burned calories AND your distance in the pool. Talk about a win-win! 

6. Track Calories Consumed

Swimming A Mile A Day

With weight loss, we believe your diet is 80% of your battle. While it is more important to focus on eating whole foods that are nutritious, understanding your calories consumed versus your calories burned will also be a tremendous help in your weight loss journey. 

Also, swimming is such an efficient form of exercise that many people accidentally eat too many calories to overcompensate for all the hard work that it requires of them. 

Because of this, it will be incredibly helpful for you to track your daily calories consumed. This number should be less than the calories burned each day. 

Most recommend a 500 calorie deficit to achieve healthy weight loss, but everyone is different. So, be sure to consult your doctor about a healthy deficit that is right for you. 

Thanks to technology and our phones, there are countless ways that you can track your calories eaten! Of course, you can go old school with pen and paper, but you can also use a food diary app. Some of the most popular food calculator apps include MyFitnessPal, LoseIt, Cronometer, and PeopleOne Health. 

7. Be Consistent

Swimming a Mile a Day

Once you have your plan on how you are going to swim a mile a day and you are prepared to track your calories (both burned and eaten), you are ready! Well…. almost.

The final tip for losing weight while swimming a mile a day is to be consistent! It may sound cliche, but really no diet or goal is going to be successful if you don’t stick to it. 

From our list, you can see that swimming a mile every day can actually be fun. You can set goals for yourself, you can change up your strokes and customize it to work for you. 

Swimming is one of the easiest forms of exercise to stay consistent with. It is low impact and has a minor risk of injuries if you take it slow and listen to your body. We’re not saying injuries can’t happen in swimming – because they can. But in contrast, if you set a goal to run a mile a day, you could risk a myriad of injuries, including shin splints, pulled quads, plantar fasciitis, and more.

Whether you go hard and swim as fast as you can or have a “rest day” where you do it in 45 minutes, you’re going to reap the benefits. If you just stick with it and trust the process, you will be successful in losing weight by swimming every day.

Photo of author

Jessica Meacham

I’m a former college athlete turned marathon-running and outdoor exploring mom of two little ones. From hiking through Iceland to paddle boarding in Lake Tahoe, our family is always up for a fun adventure that incorporates fun and fitness!

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