I've been swimming off and on for years, but recently I've begun to wonder about the number of calories I expend while swimming so I can compare it with other activities.
The calculators I've found so far exclusively ask about the time spent and the stroke (and perhaps gender, age, height, and weight). This seems totally incorrect to me, but who am I to question so many experts? Still, let me ask the question.
My problem is that I swim slowly. I saw someone at the pool today swim at least 5 laps for every lap of mine. So he is burning a lot more calories per minute than I am, but he and I would show up as burning the same amount in these calculators (assuming the same stroke and roughly the same body size).
It seems to me that it would be much more accurate to base the number of calories on the distance rather than time spent swimming, because the effort is expended to move your body through the water. If I go 1200 meters in 45 minutes, am I really burning that many more calories than someone going 1200 meters in 15 minutes? 'Cause I'm sure getting credit for a lot more when I swim slowly.
Does anyone know why most calorie calculators use time rather than distance (or both), and whether any of them are reliable?