Swimming vs Running – Which is More Exhausting? 

These two training techniques are ideal for you to live your best life. They are effective in results and they do leave you exhausted and deserving of a good nap. 

Hello there,I have long been a fitness enthusiast. My mother was a fitness instructor and since I was a teenager, we have trained together on an off for over ten years now. I have learned a lot of valuable training tips from her and have over the years realized some of my own. So, if you are unsure of what will work for you between cycling and running, I might be able to help you with that.

Cycling vs Treadmill Comparison Summary

Training Concern
Which technique rules?
Stronger Leg Muscles
VO2 Intake
Building Abs
Cardio Workout
Running at 150bpm
Strength Training
Calories Burned
Running at 800 calories
Least risk and danger
Best for terminal Illness


Swimming vs Running Calories Burned

These two techniques will have you shedding over 500 calories every time you train. In a week, it is possible to lose anywhere between 2000 and 3000 calories if you train every 3 to 5 days. 

Based on the intensity of the workout, frequency of regimen, and calorie intake compared to output, your body can burn the same number of calories either through swimming or running.

If you swim a 2-minute 100-meter race in about 30 laps at a moderate to high pace, you burn approximately 700 calories. If you run a distance of 1km in high speed, you could burn about 800 calories.

Swimming is exhausting compared to running because of the minimum oxygen that you have to go on while training. The best way to lose with swimming is to do the technique correctly and as many times as you can in a week. If you keep this up for the next two months, you will undoubtedly lose more calories.

Also, added new techniques with varying difficulties will have you working out harder for longer.

Because of the VO2 intake of the running technique, temperatures were raised and more calories burned. If you have an aim to lose a few kilos, you are better of doing both training techniques to get the most out of them.

Running will help you shed the excess fat and swimming will help sculpt it and convert fat into lean muscle much easier. Being a high-impact exercise routine, running will help burn more calories compared to swimming judging from high-intensity training sessions.

You can increase the intensity of your workout by running uphill and downhill to increase the variety of movements.

However, the most effective way to keep your calories in check is to take in less every day, drink lots of water and eat fruits and vegetables.

Swimming vs Running for Abs

Abs are best developed through strength training and swimming is ideal for sculpting and toning muscles as compared to running.

Swimming is a full-body workout that flexes all possible muscles and joints in the body. Being buoy allows for some resistance to push against the water current helping shape and mold the body.

The fact that your upper body is engaged in swimming as compared to running, it is safe to conclude that it gives you better-toned muscles around your abs.

Running cannot be discounted either for it has a great contribution in the weight loss department. With a stronger overall body structure, you will be an even better swimmer which will guarantee faster results.

Running only concentrates on your leg muscles and expanding your breathing capacity with the high levels of VO2. Most athletes actually love swimming as an alternative sport for the strength it develops in your core and leg muscles.

Building abs calls for a grueling and very strict dieting and training schedule. Lowering the number of calories in your diet, increasing protein consumption, alternating normal workout with cross-fit training, or HIIT will see you achieve your ab goals.

Create a meal plan with the help of a nutritionist and set up your workout routine. Abs call for stronger consistency in your training and daily activities. Incorporate weight lifting to supplement the days you are away from the pool to develop stronger limbs.

The stronger you are overall, the more strokes you can do, and the more you do them the more calories you lose. So, be sure to build up your endurance.

Swimming vs Running for belly fat

Running is perfect for shedding off excess weight while swimming helps tone these muscles. A combination of both techniques will be best for effective burning of belly fat.

If you have some stubborn belly fat that you have done everything to get rid of but you still can’t figure it out, try swimming. Many peoples’ bodies respond differently to training techniques. Trying a few techniques with monitoring may help you find your ideal training technique between cycling and swimming.

Underwater training allows your body temperature to remain at a certain level. This happens to work out well for burning belly fat. It turns out that the more you work out in terms of strokes in the pool, the more temperature you conduct but it is kept inside your body by the general temperature of the pool.

When trying to get rid of belly fat around your waist, it is important to remember that targeting ab exercises only can never do the trick. Yes, doing so increases the effectiveness and speed of visible changes but nothing much can be accomplished by spot training your abdominal muscles.

Running, on the other hand, shakes your body vigorously, and this repetitive and quick up and doing movements shake all excess fat in your body which is why you feel pain in the impacted parts of your body.

It takes a few months to get into your ideal shape but once you do, managing it will be easy because you’ll have created a lifestyle of working out. Coupling both pieces of training with a vegetable and fruit-rich diet will guarantee anyone rock hard abs and healthy toned body and skin.

After a few months, be adventurous and try new techniques you have been too shy to try. They not only spice up your swimming sessions but also increase the effectiveness of training overall.

Swimming vs Running for toning

Running is a mass-wasting exercise that shakes up your entire being, loosens joints and causes a burning sensation. Swimming is calming and the resistance in the water helps shape and sculpts the body.

If you are working out with the aim to simply tone your body and not necessarily lose weight, swimming is the best option out of the two.

As an aerobic exercise, swimming helps you work your back which is important to strengthen for a tighter core. There are some swimming techniques that have been identified as effective in burning belly fat.

If you are new to swimming, you will need an instructor and some floating devices to help you along. Pikes, dolphin kicks, and kickboard kicks are great techniques to try the next time you are out for dip.

To get the most out of it, you need to train seriously for about 30 minutes every 4 days of the week and in two months, you should see significant changes in your pooch.

Running, being high impact will shake off your flabby areas and this will turn fat into lean muscles. With the increased intake in oxygen, this process is quickened.

If you have the option to combine both exercises, it would be highly ideal. However, if you prefer swimming to run or vice versa, remember that dieting is mandatory to keep those calories in check.

Swimming speed vs running speed

Running 4 miles in less than 40 minutes equals swimming for a mile at 8:00 to 10:00 pace. 

Breathing techniques incorporated in either exercise is different. While swimming, less air is used and needed to finish a race and while running, your lung capacity is expanded with the high oxygen volume intake needed to propel you forward.

Runners have a love for swimming as an alternative training for them especially if they are injured. This is because swimming will work muscles because of the water-resistance.

Most people are concerned that mixing training techniques would affect their performance and they are right. Cross-training is the best way to engage new joints and muscles, build endurance, and to spice up your workout routines.

Swimming vs running while pregnant

Swimming is the only exercise best for an expecting mother because it will provide more benefits for her like subsiding her morning sickness and joint pains.

If you love keeping fit as I do, you may have wondered how possible this is in the event of a pregnancy. Weighing considerably more than your normal weight, pregnancy is a tough time to even think of exercising. As every experienced woman will tell you, the more exercise you keep yourself involved in while pregnant, the smoother the process of childbirth becomes.

Women are encouraged to keep fit to build up their muscles and to keep them flexible for the birthing process. Running is a high-impact exercise and is not the first option advised to women. Doctors will more often than not advocate for taking walks to the market and back.

Briskly walking for about 30 minutes to an hour every day for about 4 or even 6 days a week will be good for you and your baby when the time comes.

Swimming is an even better alternative to running as it removes the pressure off the feet and allows you to float around easing the strain on your back, thighs, pelvic floor, and ankles.

Pregnancy is a tough time and the number of aches and pains keeps fluctuating with every waking morning. Swimming could also help you benefit from the aesthetic properties of being under the sun for a while.

Also, doing light strokes will also increase your muscle work and will encourage the water to push against you in resistance which inadvertently shapes and soothes the muscles. The cooling effects of the water will help reduce morning sickness and will encourage positive emotions.


Is swimming alone enough exercise?

Yes. However, if you are exercising with a specific goal in mind, it is best to cross-train and watch your diet.

All your joints and muscles are engaged while swimming. Your arms get toned form the stroking motion, keeping your core tight helps maintain your form in technique and your back and legs are strengthened. Other than in toning and sculpting the body, swimming helps the heart and lungs by controlling the breathing frequency.

Though it is a great exercise, it alone cannot be complete as an exercise regimen. It provides good cardio and aerobic benefits but to build up muscle and increase overall strength, one must add more techniques to their training such as running and cycling to keep the activity varied.

How many laps a day in a 25-meter pool is enough exercise?

To be sure that you are getting the most out of your mostly swimming routine, you need to do at least 15 reps of 100-meter laps with 30 seconds resting time in between them. The time you take is necessary so you can’t drift through the water 30 times and call it quits.

Your form, straight line connecting head, back, and feet, should be maintained and you should swim at a fairly high speed. Aim to repeat this rigorous training three times a week and swimming is sure to keep you fit and your body looking amazing.

Which swimming stroke is best for exercise

Also known as the frog stroke, the butterfly technique is the best swimming exercise.

The butterfly stroke is on record as the best stroke in terms of burning calories which makes it a perfect alternative for exercise. It is, however, a very complex and advanced swimming technique that is hard for new and uncompetitive individuals to master and stick to.

Swimming in frog stroke, as it is also commonly known, has the capacity to burn up to 775 calories off a 155lbs individual per hour meaning that you can lose up to a pound in less than 6 days. While this is impressive, it is not sustainable and attainable for most.

To settle the calorie-burning concern in terms of swimming techniques, the breaststroke is mentioned as a friendly alternative that can burn about 70 calories less than the butterfly stroke. This one is ideal for all levels of swimmers’ inexperience as it can be done by all. With a consistent training routine and with good form, this is the best technique recommended to all new and leisure swimmers.

Swimming vs running for bad back

Swimming is the immediate go-to for active individuals suffering from an injured or worn outback. Running is a high-impact exercise that jostles the entre body slamming it against itself and the hard surface of the earth. It is good for strengthening bones and getting joints moving with good circulation going on, but it is extreme in terms of wear and tear on these impacted areas.

Knees and lower back are common concerns for many people from middle age to the elder generation. While running is an easy alternative that requires no extra equipment than a pair of shoes, it is also a harsh training to subject an already hurting back, neck, or any other ache.

Swimming allows for the individual to relax and move their ailing joints and muscles with the help of the buoyancy. It provides them a full-body workout and a massage.

Swimming vs running for elderly

An elderly person is best suited in the pool because the water-resistance doesn’t stress their aching limbs and joints. 

Much the same as with those affected by some ache or pain in one or another joint in their body, the elderly are ideal candidates for swimming sessions overrunning alternatives.

While running helps the older limbs get some movement going, it is a bit too harsh and the feeling against their tired and sore knee or pelvic joints is not welcome at all.

However, swimming is a great alternative for everyone because even those who do not know how to swim can use swimming aides. There are tons of fun movements that the elderly can be trained on while in the pool.

Why is swimming more tiring than running?

Swimming is more tiring as it works your arms, core, back, and legs with a limited supply of oxygen.

This is for the simple reason that swimming is an underwater sport in which we have to deny ourselves oxygen or use it in very minimal amounts which makes our lungs adapt to operating just fine with less air. Most swimmers are not able to run because of the automatic reaction to want to hold the breath in when they are in performance.


Both swimming and running will give your body much deserved exercise with different results. For those who like to feel the burn and are energized by vigorous activity, running is perfect. However, if you prefer the calm and cool of water bodies, swimming will do. Either way, your decision is aimed at a healthier you and that is awesome.