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Which fitness for weight loss is most effective: running or swimming?

For active fat burning, the body needs a regular, properly built aerobic exercise. Some of the most popular cardio activities are running and swimming. Let’s try to figure out which of these two types of fitness is the most effective in combating excess body fat.

How aerobic exercise works

To begin with, let’s recall the general principle that allows you to make fitness for weight loss really effective. Any type of aerobic exercise involves performing movements in continuous dynamics for a certain period with a given intensity. At the same time, for the “start” of the fat burning process to occur, it is necessary to bring the heart rate (pulse) to a specific level. Here we also indicate the gradation depending on the type of load:

  • Low-intensity training (50-65% of max heart rate);
  • Medium-intensity training (66-75% of max heart rate);
  • High-intensity training (75-85% of max heart rate).

Fat burning is medium intensity training. However, you should be aware that an unprepared person should categorically not start practicing such a load right away: it must be increased gradually, preparing the body for several weeks.

The main criterion: breathing must be kept rhythmic, frequent, and deep (a disrupted breathing rhythm impairs the supply of oxygen to the cells).

At the same time, there should be no feeling of a critical lack of air. Remember that sport is above all health, which means that, in addition to efficiency, it must be safe. We recommend using additional gadgets (heart rate monitors) to monitor your heart rate.


Running as a weight-loss tool is widely used. This is an accessible and “non-capricious” type of aerobic exercise. Let’s take a look at its advantages and disadvantages.

The virtues of running

  • you can run in the gym on the simulator or outdoors. In this case, the trajectory, the length you choose yourself. Running is controlled by the trainee himself;
  • running does not require special skills, long-term preparation: get acquainted with the simplest technique and immediately start training;
  • running is very variable in speed and rhythm, respectively, in the total load: it can be selected by age, gender, constitutional features;
  • running is a natural movement for a person, inherent in nature: in general, it is safe, suitable for people of any age;
  • jogging provides the prevention of heart and vascular diseases, improves joint mobility, and increases the bone mass density of the thigh bones.

Disadvantages of running

  • running is contraindicated in the presence of several diseases and conditions, for example, during pregnancy and lactation, with diseases of the blood and retina of the eyes, injuries of the joints or spine, varicose veins, disorders of the heart or blood vessels, and many others. other if in doubt, you need to consult a doctor;
  • active jogging seriously loads the joints of the legs. This fact bears a special risk if the recommendations on running technique and safety are not followed.


Swimming is a very popular physical activity. Does swimming help you lose weight? Let’s get a look.

Swimming benefits

  • water is a kindred environment for a person, it is useful and safe for a person in itself, at the same time relaxes and improves tone;
  • loads are less noticeable in the water, the effect on the muscles is carried out carefully, there is no additional load by the person’s own weight. The above makes swimming the only type of fitness available for people of all ages, physiques and with any health limitations;
  • swimming affects all muscle groups;
  • swimming contributes to the compaction of muscle tissue and the formation of a uniform attractive relief;
  • cool water environment eliminates overheating during physical activity;
  • swimming is devoid of negative consequences for the body: dizziness, rupture of muscle fibers or ligaments, joint pain, etc.;
  • exercises in water have a beneficial effect on the respiratory system, heart function; improve sleep quality, and relieve stress.

Disadvantages of swimming

  • swimming “works” for weight loss only if the trainee is confident in the breathing technique and at least one of the styles: crawl, breaststroke, or butterfly. In other cases, swimming is suitable for improving the body, but will not help burn fat;
  • for girls, excessive diligence in the pool is fraught with the formation of a masculine wide torso; 
  • pools are always subjected to chemical treatment for disinfection, which negatively affects the organs of vision and skin.

Running vs. Swimming

To make our review complete, let’s compare the energy costs of running and swimming. Research measurements show you burn more calories when you run. Let the training session last for 60 minutes. During this time, when running with acceleration, the body will consume about 450-1200 calories, and when swimming, about 400-900. And again, recall that we are talking about active training in a pool with a set swimming technique, which is not available to everyone.

Also, the aquatic environment itself prevents the burning of fats from the subcutaneous fatty tissue due to the effect of cooling the body, which means vasoconstriction. Another important factor: it is difficult to control the pulse in the pool, but in practice losing weight this moment is extremely important. If the pulse is below the required level, the fat burning process simply will not start; if it is higher, muscle tissue will start to “burn”.

Summing up, we conclude that, subject to the technical and safety rules, running is a more effective way to get rid of body fat. A combination of both sports will be ideal: regular jogging will get rid of excess, and training in the water will give the body elasticity and beautiful outlines.

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