Swimming And Running | Which Of The 2 Is Better For Your Health?

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Louise Hay
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Swimming and running

Land or water: it is a divisive theme. Everyone claims that their discipline is the way to stay fit and healthy.

Let's start by staying neutral: When it comes to cardiovascular training and healthy weight loss, both activities have their strengths.

Both work multiple muscle groups simultaneously and increase heart rate, promoting cardiovascular well-being. In addition, an often overlooked benefit of exercise is its beneficial effect on mental health and, if constant, the help it offers in managing stress.



If we focus on the necessary equipment and accessibility, running is definitely the best. Unless you have a clean lap pool, river or sea, you will be a little more limited in choosing where to swim.

And let's face it, the public swimming pool usually has the defect of being frequented by people who are not always as focused as you on making the pools.

You can practice running anywhere, even in the city, with the difference that there will be a few more pedestrians than in the countryside. If it's raining or the outdoor space isn't the most appealing, there are always treadmills or indoor tracks.

If we then consider the way the muscles are trained, both swimming and running use the lower body, abdomen and arms.

Swimming for the upper body

As for the upper body, running works hard on the shoulders and abs, but in terms of endurance, swimming is better for strengthening it.


This is because, in terms of resistance training, moving in the water creates more resistance than the wind creates in running. This is one of the factors that contributes to the number of calories burned and, in swimming, the resistance exerted by the water is constant.


Due to the impact with the ground, in running, the glutes, thighs, quadriceps and calves are strained more and used in each vigorous stride.

The ride to the bottom

The legs and lower abdomen work harder in running, but swimming is probably the best exercise to train the muscles overall, since it affects all major muscle groups at once, whether you like it or not, and without the same risk of injury as running from impact with the ground.

So much for the muscles. What about the ligaments? If you are recovering from an injury or suffer from any problems such as stiff ligaments, knee weakness, ankle or hip problems, then swimming wins.

This has to do with hitting the ground while running. Repetitive strain injuries are more common among runners. While it is true that running carries a greater risk of fracture, at the same time it promotes an increase in bone mineral density.


It is well known that both swimming and running are great for weight loss, but which is better of the two?

With an intense and energetic 30-minute swim you can burn around 350 calories, while running at 11 Km / h you will burn around 700 calories.

With running there are therefore more chances to lose weight. If your workout does not exceed 30 minutes, then swimming could be said to be more effective, given the greater muscular effort required.


At the same time, however, with running you have several variables to work with to make the most of that same half hour, including speed and incline.

In conclusion

In conclusion, if your goal is to lose weight, strengthen your legs and train more intensely, running is for you.

For those who prefer to avoid impact with the ground and wish to train the upper body, or for those who are used to lifting weights, swimming allows for cardio results without damaging the ligaments in any way.

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