Jump in a pool and swim a few laps. If you’re not used to it, you’ll most likely be out of breath, and you’ll feel every muscle in your body crying out for a break.

That’s because swimming is an incredibly intense workout that engages all sorts of muscles that you typically don’t use. But there’s still one burning question: Do you sweat when you swim?

It’s a good question on the surface. After all, you’re in the water and you definitely can’t feel the sweat pouring off you — if it is at all.

But think for a second about the type of workout that swimming is, and the answer will be clear. Yes, you sweat when you swim — and you sweat a ton. Here’s a look at more about in-water workouts.


Just How Much Do You Sweat While Swimming?

Sweat is the body’s natural way of trying to cool itself down when it’s overly exerted, getting hot and losing fluids. When you swim, you quickly start to accelerate your breathing. And, if you don’t often swim (like me), you may feel completely out of breath.

These signs alone indicate that you sweat profusely when you swim, even if you can’t see it. But don’t worry: We have science to back us up. Consider these three scientific research projects that focused on how much swimmers sweat:

One study showed that elite male swimmers sweat an average of 138 milligrams per kilometer, while elite female swimmers sweat an average of 95 milligrams per kilometer.

Another study of elite swimmers showed similar results. These elite athletes lost on average 548 milligrams of sweat during the course of a 105-minute practice in the water.

Yet another study looked at the Australian Swimming Team, finding that athletes competing in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta lost on average 125 milligrams of sweat per kilometer.


Beware of Dehydration

Because you’re in the water, it can be a challenge to see the signs of dehydration. You can’t feel how much you’re sweating. You often get water in your mouth, so it doesn’t necessarily feel free. And pool water is typically cool and refreshing, which prevents you from overheating.

So, if you’re going to swim for exercise, make sure you’re drinking tons of water during your workout. Given how much you’re sweating and how little you can sense it, the only way to avoid a serious case of dehydration is to drink regularly.

Looking for another reason to hydrate? It helps you improve your swimming performance. Dehydration raises your heart rate, it raises your body temperature and it makes swimming feel like you’re wearing cement flippers.

Hydrate and you’ll get a lot more out of your swimming workout.


Final Thoughts on Swimming and Sweat

Many people overlook swimming as a viable cardio alternative to running or using machines. If you have a place to swim, getting in the pool is a great way to get the heart rate up (and to break a sweat) without putting much pressure and stress on your knees and other joints.

After years and years of pounding the pavement, many an achy runner has traded in the running shoes for a bathing suit. If you haven’t tried swimming, you may just find that it agrees with you as a cardio activity.

Have you tried swimming as part of your workout? Let us know about your experience by sending a message through our contact form or by commenting below.