Running vs Swimming: What Is Better for Weight Loss?

swimming vs running

Despite the popularity of plus-size models and the increasing attention to body positivity, being overweight still causes psychological discomfort and dissatisfaction with one’s appearance. Moreover, extra weight is very dangerous for health. And an incorrect approach to weight loss can be even more harmful. 

People often try to lose weight with rigid diets, but these pounds will quickly return in double size. At the same time, physical activity benefits everyone, regardless of age. But what sports are the most effective for weight fighting? 

All types of regular exercises have a positive effect on the state of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Workouts improve blood circulation, increase oxygen supply to tissues and organs, and burn calories. Let’s discuss in more detail quite popular activities like swimming and running.

Running vs Swimming for Weight Loss

These two types of aerobic training are constantly competing. People leading a healthy lifestyle, face the dilemma of what kind of sport is more efficient for ideal weight. It is quite clear that you will burn calories both in the pool and on the treadmill in the hall. But which method will bring better results? Let’s try to figure out whether running or swimming is better.

Both types of physical activity regularly prove their effectiveness in the fight against extra weight. Regular workouts will enhance health, speed up metabolism, and have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. 

Both running and swimming tone the muscles, make the shape slim. During these exercises, you activate all the main muscles. However, running involves the muscles of the lower part of the body, while swimming has an evenly distributed load on the muscles of the upper and lower parts of the body. Technically correct running and swimming improves posture. 

swimming vs running

Regular running has a beneficial effect on the structure of the skin, and regular swimming makes the skin smoother and helps fight cellulite due to the constant massage carried out by water. Swimming and running have also a positive effect on the psychological state. They improve mood and sleep, increase stress resistance, train your endurance. Though when choosing between these two activities, it is important to know some more details.

Running: Pros and Cons

Running is the simplest way to keep fit. First, it is easy to adjust the load by varying the intensity and duration of running. You can also easily control your heart rate. 

swimming vs running

Secondly, if you choose the right place for your workouts like a park, you get an extra bonus – fresh air, which will increase your workout efficiency. Another positive thing is its accessibility as it is the cheapest way to stay in shape. You do not have to pay for a gym subscription and buy a cool sports outfit.

Running pros:

  • strengthens blood vessels, joints, lungs, and heart;
  • reduces cholesterol levels due to improved liver function;
  • systematic running slows down the aging of the body;
  • develops willpower overcomes laziness bringing you closer to a perfect shape;
  • intense load tones the muscles of the thighs, buttocks, and abdomen. As a result, excess fat from the sides and cellulite disappears;
  • it helps get rid of puffiness, as lymph is cleansed and excess intracellular fluid is drained. 
  • thanks to deeper breathing during running, the bronchi and lungs are cleansed of mucus accumulated there;
  • intense running gets the body saturated with oxygen at the cellular level. The skin is enriched with oxygen, which makes it fresher and younger.
swimming vs running

Disadvantages of running:

  • running is a rather intense sport that severely loads the heart, muscles, joints and the whole body;
  • people with considerable extra weight should begin with small loads to avoid negative results;
  • high percentage of knee injuries and large load on the spine.

Swimming: Pros and Cons

Swimming is an excellent kind of load that is suitable for almost everyone. And if you have problems with your spine and joints, it might be the best option. Even the simplest way of swimming loads virtually all muscle groups. 

swimming vs running

But, of course, it is better to consult an instructor and learn the right technique at least at the basic level. In this case, the effectiveness of training will be much higher.

Pros of swimming:

  • shape correction, weight control;
  • skin tone, elimination of the “orange peel” on the hips and buttocks;
  • sleep improvement, reduction of psycho-emotional discomfort;
  • calorie burning and rapid weight loss;
  • strengthening of protective functions of an organism;
  • prevention of varicose veins;
  • strengthening of the muscular corset.
  • low likelihood of injury to tendons, ligaments, bone, and muscle;
  • lack of load on the back which allows training to pregnant women, people with injuries;

The results will be noticeable when training at least twice a week.

Swimming cons:

  • Swimming, like any other physical activity, burns calories—that can cause the body to increase its production of ghrelin, a hunger-causing hormone, to prompt you to eat back what you’ve burned.
  • Only intense swimming burns calories. The most fat-burning style is crawl.
  • To lose weight, you should exercise several times a week. Do not wait for the results in a couple of days.
  • With the wrong swimming technique, there is a risk of discomfort in the cervical vertebrae. 

Does Running Burn More Calories Than Swimming?

You should know that the amount of calories burned during any cardio training depends not so much on the choice of specific exercises or even the type of activity. It is the duration of the training and heart rate that matters.

Running is considered more effective. During one hour, you can lose from 450 to 1200 kcal, it depends on the person’s body weight and intensity of training. And swimming allows you to burn from 450 to 900 kcal at the same time.

An important thing to remember about running and swimming is:

Running provides the opportunity to effectively get rid of excess calories, but it is not recommended for people who are full and not in good physical shape. It increases the risk of injuries and difficulty in achieving effective loads in intensity and time.

Swimming, on the contrary, is in every way recommended from the point of view of safety and complexity of loads on various muscles of the body. Though, it may have an insignificant final effect on weight loss.

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