Swimming vs Running – Which is More Efficient for Burning Calories?

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Swimming vs running debate: which do you think is the best form of cardio exercise for burning fat?
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Swimming vs running, which is more efficient for burning calories?

For all you joggers out there, let me ask you a question: do you need to run? Is it better than swimming? If you’ve been searching for the answer to this nagging question, I invite you to read on for my take on whether swimming or running is the more efficient calorie burner.

You don’t like going to the gym or you just can’t afford it, and yet you like to keep fit? Swimming and running will always be the 2 alternatives available to anyone. But have you ever wondered which of the two will help you burn most calories?

In principle, whether you choose to swim or run is fine anyway, because anything is better than leading a sedentary life, losing your physical condition and adding extra pounds.

Let’s see what are the benefits of the two types of movement, and at the end which helps the most to burn calories?

The Benefits of Running

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Running has always been the first decision when it comes to burning calories and keeping yourself fit. It brings some benefits that are not to be neglected.

Running is a very healthy habit. It has many benefits that I will try to list below.

Goodbye, extra pounds

It’s impossible not to lose weight when the calories you accumulate while eating are lower than those you lose when you run. Over time, the fat on your tummy will be just an unforgettable memory.

Stronger muscles and bones

Bone density and strong muscles like stone, strong legs, back, and vigorous hips – this will get you running. Don’t be afraid you will look like an athlete.

A baby’s sleep

Also, the quality of sleep will improve. Physical fatigue will turn into a pleasant sleep and sleep will come much faster at bedtime.

But be careful: when you have intense physical activity, it is vital to get enough sleep. Otherwise, exhaustion may occur.

• Strengthens the immune system

• Strengthens the joints of the locomotive system

• Prevents chronic diseases

• Tones the body

• Improve cardio techniques, which are very important in fitness, meaning that you learn to dose your breathing

• Increases longevity

• Increases body elasticity

• Does not involve high costs

• It can be practiced anywhere, outdoors or at home on the treadmill

• Your lower limbs are working harder

• It helps you burn calories, only you have to strictly adhere to the running program, 30 minutes of running, meaning about 600-800 calories burned.

The Benefits of Swimming

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The treadmill, the static bike, all are good for doing cardio on them (low intensity or intervals), but if they are not for you, or you want something new, swimming can get you out of monotony.

Swimming is a form of physical exertion that involves the whole body and works almost equally on the upper and lower parts. And since the water resistance is 12 times higher than the air resistance, you will also have a workout of muscle toning, not just cardiovascular.

One minute of swimming is equivalent to four minutes of walking. A profile study claims that to lose a kilogram it takes over 96 hours of walking, over 18 hours of running, or just 9 hours of swimming.

There are several reasons to include swimming in your exercise program, especially when you want to lose weight. Here are some:

Cardiovascular training

Swimming is a great cardiovascular workout. Swimming for a certain period is much more intense than running the same period. Because you use both the upper body and the lower body, to move through the water (involve more muscles), you burn more calories than jogging, running, or on a static bike, situations where the upper muscles are hardly used at all.

Swimming, a great exercise for overweight people

Not everyone can run or do intensity workouts to lose weight. Especially overweight people who start a physical exercise program, encounter this problem. Due to the heavyweight, the joints are subjected to enormous pressures and give up quickly if the exercises are not properly structured. In water, it is much easier for them to do cardio than on a hard surface, because, as I mentioned before, water supports body weight.

Endurance training

Because water has a much higher density than air, you will also have a form of resistance training. After the first swimming workout, you can expect some muscle fever, especially if you do not have a great physical condition.

To move through the water, you use muscles differently than when you are working with weights. Swimming will develop the muscles of your shoulders and upper back.

• You get rid of the stiffness of muscles and joints, which become very flexible

• You gain endurance and muscle strength

• You improve your balance and coordination

• Strengthens the muscles of the heart

• It tones and sculpts your whole body.

• Rejuvenates the body

• Helps you control your weight and maintain it exactly as you want

• You lose weight evenly throughout the body and not just in certain areas

• You improve your mood

• You only need a pool, because it is safer than the sea or the river.

• Improves digestion

• You burn a lot of calories, due to the intensity, 30 minutes of swimming, meaning around 1000 calories burned

• However, it involves a little more expenses than running, but I think it is worth it, considering the many advantages.

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Types of Swimming

1) Bras style

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Bras style is the easiest to execute. It is also called frog style, because the swimming position is similar to that of a frog: on the belly, with the knees bent and the arms outstretched; the palms draw water under the body, and the arms return to the front.

The movement of the feet is synchronized with that of the hands. One of the advantages of bras style is that you can keep your head afloat, avoiding problems with breathing or orientation.

2) Butterfly style

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The butterfly style is more complicated and requires greater physical endurance. It is also called the dolphin style because it consists of bringing the arms together near the head and jumping out of the water so that the arms then return to the water and push it under the body.

Butterfly style is one of the most appreciated sports and is second in speed according to freestyle. It is difficult to learn and extremely demanding.

3) The crawl style

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The crawl or freestyle is also preferred by experienced swimmers. The swimmer is on his belly, he keeps his head sunk, exhaling the air underwater. The movements of the hands are circular and alternative, the return to the initial position being realized underwater.

The feet are synchronized with the movements of the hands, performing alternative movements up and down. It is the fastest and most effective swimming style when burning calories.

4) Rear style

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This style meant, of course, swimming on the back. The head is always on the surface and the movements of the hands are circular and alternative, returning to the initial position above the water. The movements of the legs are similar to those of the freestyle. It is a slower style and is recommended especially for those who have back pain.

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In Conclusion, Which is More Efficient? Swimming vs Running?

Swimming – involves a lot of effort, because you need water resistance and good coordination, balance and thus burn more calories than running, you work your whole body and not just the lower limbs as in the case of running and also it prevents heart disease and illnesses, related to blood circulation.

Yes, maybe swimming is not practiced anywhere, because the pools are not at all steps and in any season, it can cost more than running, but let’s not forget that this way you burn more calories and in a much more pleasant way than at the gym, fitness or running.

Running – I can say that it is suitable for any age, even for the elderly, because you measure your speed while swimming if you are tired and you are in the middle of the pool where the water is deeper, what do you do? That is why swimming is not recommended for the elderly. 

The bottom line is that you burn calories anyway and anything is better than doing nothing for your physical and mental health.

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2 thoughts

  1. Hello just curious what you mean when you say swimming burns fat evenly? You can’t spot burn fat. All exercise burns fat in the same way. So please clarify for the public. If you are suggesting that swimming burns fat differently than running please cite your source.
    Thank you

    1. Hi, I’m sorry, but I don’t know exactly which part of the article you’re referring to, I have over 300 articles written, and I think this article is over 2 years old, so it’s impossible to know every word written in hundreds of articles.

      “You can’t spot burn fat” – yes, agree! you can’t spot, for example, losing weight only in the abdomen region, when you lose weight/ fat, you lose weight everywhere.

      Running involves more of the lower body, while swimming involves the whole body, look at any professional swimmer and see how the whole body is harmoniously developed.

      You say that all exercises burn fat in the same way, not exactly, it depends on a lot of factors, for example running on a flat surface involves certain muscles, trail running involves other, smaller muscles, which many people don’t even know exist, it’s one thing if you jogg, another if you do sprints (again a lot of factors must be included, time, angles, execution method, engaged muscles, training system, etc.), it’s one thing if you do a normal set of exercises, and other thing if you do the same exercises but as a HIIT workout, or include them as a Tabata workout (the efficiency of this type of training can be 2-5x higher than a classic system, in addition you can burn calories even at 48 hours after its completion, for example, do 2 sets of Tabata, so 8 minutes, with 1 minute rest in between, say 4 exercises, repeated 2x, and do the same 4 exercises, 4 sets, 8-10 reps, 30 secs rest between sets, and see at the end if there are differences or not, especially in the number of calories burned), so, no, not all exercises burn fat in the same way.

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