Swimming vs. Running: Which is a Better Form of Exercise

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Swimming vs. Running: Which is a Better Form of Exercise

Swimming vs. Running: Which Is a Better Form of Exercise

To determine whether swimming or running is better for your health, you need to evaluate the goals you want to accomplish. Consider whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle, build endurance, improve stamina, or adopt a healthy lifestyle. Aerobic exercises can increase your memory, combat cognitive decline, and reduce stress. No matter what you choose, know that you’re choosing to improve your health.

You need very little equipment to perform either activity, but sometimes facilities are more readily available for one sport depending on where you live. You could also perform both activities and engage in cross-fit training, but if you want to choose one, hopefully, this guide will help you determine which would be best for you.

Pros and Cons of Swimming vs. Running

Running and swimming are the two of the most popular sports in the United States for a good reason. Both activities require very little investment, and you can begin training and seeing growth quickly. Both sports burn many calories and are healthy ways to adopt a better lifestyle. While both can give you a deep sense of accomplishment, deciding which is better depends on your ultimate goals.


Running is the most popular sport in the U.S. It requires little to no equipment, and you can perform it in any of your favorite locations, including a local park, a gym, and even your living room.

Here are some of the pros of running:

  • You can run virtually anywhere and anytime.
  • Running comes naturally to humans.
  • You don’t need any additional equipment.
  • Running is one of the least expensive exercise options.
  • You can increase your oxygen-carrying capacity.

Although running is convenient, it comes with disadvantages. You may find it challenging to find the motivation to run the same course every day, and you are more likely to injure various parts of your body.

Some more cons of running include:

  • You can become easily dehydrated in hot weather.
  • Injuries are common.
  • Some people struggle to remain engaged and interested.
  • Running puts a significant amount of strain on the knees and other joints.
  • Running mainly involves working only on your lower body.


Following right behind running as a popular exercise in the U.S. is swimming. Besides being a way to get fit, swimming is a life skill that can save your life. Knowing how to swim correctly can assist you in oceans, pools, and lakes where accidents may happen or when weather affects water conditions.

Consider these pros of swimming:

  • You experience much less stress on your joints.
  • It’s refreshing to swim when the weather is warm or humid.
  • There’s a lot of versatility in the exercises you perform.
  • You can work a variety of muscles through various activities.
  • You can tailor workouts to target your needs.
  • It’s a total body workout.
  • You can have a lot of fun in the water.
  • You can typically swim even if you’re injured compared to other sports.

Despite being a fun way to get in shape, some logistical challenges are worth considering. You also need to anticipate more time for your workouts and practice mental discipline to stay focused.

The following are cons of swimming:

  • Swimming is not the most effective form of weight loss.
  • It may be tempting to relax instead of finishing your routine.
  • Depending on your location, water may not be easily accessible.
  • Preparing to get in and out of the water can be time-consuming.
  • You may find water less inviting in the winter or during cold months.

Which Burns More Calories?

If you’re looking to lose weight, you’ll likely want to know which sport will help your burn the most calories. Keep in mind that you will burn calories by getting regular exercise regardless of the activity you’re performing.

Swimming burns more calories than running the same distance. However, your weight will affect the number of calories you burn. Some studies show that in 30 minutes, someone weighing 155 pounds will burn 294 calories while performing low-impact step aerobics and 168 calories while performing water aerobics.

Something to note is that burning calories does not mean losing belly fat. Running can more effectively get rid of belly fat than swimming. Furthermore, even though swimming typically burns more calories, different strokes will exert various amounts of energy. While freestyle and butterfly strokes are effective calories burners, the backstroke requires significantly less energy and burns considerably fewer calories.

Why Swimming Is Better Than Running for Exercise

Running focuses on the lower body and is hard on the joints, while swimming is low-impact, works all muscles, and doesn’t pressure the joints. You can swim to improve your body strength and tone it in your work areas. Furthermore, cold water strengthens your immune system and improves your blood circulation.

Swimming vs. Running for Cardio

Cardio is an excellent exercise that strengthens your cardiovascular system and promotes healthy heart changes. Both forms of cardio can encourage weight loss, burn calories, and strengthen your overall system. However, swimming works more than the upper body and helps strengthen every area of your body.

Swimming takes the cake when it comes to which exercise is a better form of cardio. There is more resistance in water than in the air. Kicking in the water requires more effort than stepping on the ground.

It’s also easier to incorporate weights in the pool. You could perform a dumbbell workout to work your arms and shoulders and take classes focusing on full-body training. You can include a variety of fitness bellsexercise disks, and more into your water routine, but you likely can’t jog around the block with weights in your hands for an extended time.

Swimming vs. Running for Endurance

Building endurance in either sport requires repetition and consistency. Whether you’re trying to run or swim longer distances, practice will enable you to hone your skills and muscle memory.

Swimming is more effective at building endurance than running. When you swim, you’re pushing against the water’s resistance rather than only the air when you run. Your muscles become conditioned and trained, which helps to build endurance.

It takes time to get familiar with the proper breathing technique to swim and challenge your lung capacity appropriately. Once you do, you’ll be able to swim longer distances with fewer breaths between your strokes. There are plenty of swimming workouts available to give you a good starting point where you can easily track your progress.

Running will also help build some endurance to run longer distances in a shorter period. However, because swimming works so many muscles, the endurance you build in the water will aid you in other sports, exercises, and activities — including running.

Water Fitness Swimwear From Kiefer Aquatics

Kiefer Aquatics has been operating for over 73 years. Kiefer was started by Adolph Kiefer, a 1936 gold Olympic medalist. Since then, we’ve worked to continue reinventing how we swim. With equipment inspired by his designs, we’ve created gear that can improve the way you swim and further build your muscle and endurance.

We know a thing or two about what swimming can do for your body, health, and headspace, and we hope we’ve helped you end the swimming vs. running debate. You can use our collection of water fitness equipment to build your endurance and hone your skills. Check out our variety of water fitness swimwear to get you working out in quality gear as soon as possible.


About Kiefer Swim Products

Performance Gear For Swimmers. Today Kiefer is a multifaceted company but still purely focused on serving the aquatic industry. We have expertise in engineering world class products like our custom starting blocks and racing lanes for all levels of aquatic facilities. We serve the lifeguard and aquatic safety and rescue industry with a full line of products that absolutely perform when you most need them to, and we serve the competitive swim business with the products needed to swim at the highest level.

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