Running vs Swimming: Which Burns More Calories?

When it comes to getting fit and shedding those extra pounds, many of us turn to exercise as a reliable method.

Two popular options that often spring to mind are running and swimming.

But which one burns more calories?

Let’s dive into the details of these two fantastic forms of exercise and find out which one might be your best bet for torching those calories.

Running: A High-Energy Workout

Running is a timeless and accessible form of exercise.

All you need is a good pair of sneakers, and you’re ready to hit the road.

It’s known for being a high-energy workout, and it’s true – running can burn a lot of calories.

When you lace up your running shoes and hit the pavement, you engage multiple muscle groups throughout your body.

Your legs, core, and even your upper body work in harmony to propel you forward.

As a result, running is an effective way to boost your cardiovascular fitness and burn calories.

On average, a 155-pound person can burn about 314 calories during a 30-minute jog at a moderate pace.

The exact number of calories burned while running depends on various factors, such as your weight, pace, and terrain.

Running uphill, for instance, will make you burn more calories than running on a flat surface.

Swimming: A Full-Body Workout

Swimming, on the other hand, is a low-impact exercise that provides a full-body workout.

It’s an excellent choice for people with joint issues or those looking to cool off during the summer months. But does it burn as many calories as running?

Swimming engages almost every muscle in your body, from your legs and arms to your back and core.

It’s a fantastic exercise for improving flexibility, building strength, and increasing endurance.

In a 30-minute session, a 155-pound person can burn approximately 223 calories swimming at a moderate pace.

One key factor that sets swimming apart from running is buoyancy.

In the water, your body is supported, reducing the impact on your joints and making it an ideal option for individuals with arthritis, injuries, or other physical limitations.

The Benefits of Running

Weight Loss:

Running is a high-impact exercise that can help you shed those extra pounds.

It’s particularly effective at reducing visceral fat, the dangerous fat that accumulates around your organs.

Cardiovascular Health:

Running is an excellent way to improve your cardiovascular fitness, strengthen your heart, and lower your risk of heart disease.

It can also boost your lung capacity.

Stress Relief:

Many runners find that the repetitive motion of running and the release of endorphins help reduce stress and boost their mood.


You can run virtually anywhere, anytime.

It’s a convenient exercise that doesn’t require any special equipment or gym memberships.

The Benefits of Swimming


Swimming is easy on the joints, making it suitable for people with various physical conditions or injuries.

Whole-Body Workout:

Swimming engages all major muscle groups, providing a comprehensive workout for your body.

Improved Flexibility:

The fluid movements in the water can help enhance your range of motion and flexibility.

Cooling Effect:

Swimming can be a refreshing way to exercise during hot weather, and it can be a fun social activity, too.

Comparing Calorie Burn

To determine which activity burns more calories, it’s essential to consider your own individual circumstances.

Running typically burns more calories per minute than swimming, but there are some variables to keep in mind:


The intensity of your workout matters.

Sprinting while running or doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in the water can significantly increase the calorie burn.


The longer you engage in an activity, the more calories you’ll burn.

If you enjoy running for longer durations compared to swimming, it may tip the scale in favor of running.

Body Weight:

Your weight plays a role in calorie burn.

A heavier person will burn more calories than a lighter person doing the same activity.

Personal Preference:

The most effective exercise for you is the one you enjoy and can stick with consistently.

If you despise running but love swimming, you’re more likely to see better results from swimming due to the frequency of your workouts.


In the battle of running vs. swimming, the winner depends on your individual preferences and goals.

If you’re looking for a high-energy, calorie-burning workout that doesn’t require any special equipment, running might be your best bet.

On the other hand, if you want a full-body workout that’s gentle on your joints and offers a refreshing experience, swimming is an excellent choice.

Remember that the most effective exercise is the one you enjoy and can commit to regularly.

Both running and swimming have numerous health benefits, so choose the one that suits your lifestyle, and you’ll be on your way to a fitter, healthier you.

The key is to find an activity that keeps you moving, whether it’s on the road or in the water, because staying active is the most important step towards a healthier you.

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