Running vs swimming: Which burns more calories?

Both strengthen muscles and enhance cardiovascular fitness and endurance, but which burns more calories? Speed, workout length, and kind of run or swim affect this measure, making it difficult to validate.

Running vs swimming: Which burns more calories?

Calorie burn, like other activity, relies on intensity, workout length, and biological parameters including age, weight, sex, hormones, and more. Don't put a precise amount on it. In this 500-calorie HIIT workout on the Apple Watch, we explain why calorie burn is unreliable.

Running and swimming are high-calorie burners that can help you lose weight, but which is best?

The Omni Calculator uses the 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities to compare calorie burn across sports like yoga and Pilates. A 32-year-old female weighing 120 pounds running a steady outdoor 5k at 1% gradient burns about 300 kcal, which decreases somewhat on a treadmill.

If you compare the same measures to a 30-minute swim (the usual 5k pace for a beginner or novice runner), results vary greatly depending on stroke and effort. We focused on swimming, excluding aqua aerobics, aqua jogging, treading water, and water walking.

You'll burn 200 kcal with sidestroke, 230-280 with a crawl (recreational and hard), 150-300 with breaststroke, 130-270 with backstroke, and 400 with butterfly.

Using the same measurements, another calculator by the World Cancer Research Fund found 162 kcal for leisurely swimming and 189-318 for a jog or fast run (7.5mph).

This low-carb dish may be boosted with cauliflower rice without adding calories. Bell Pepper Chicken is tasty and filling, but adding veggies never hurts. (293 calories per serving)

Depending on intensity and speed, swimming for 30 minutes burns 130-400 kcal, while running burns 189-318 kcal. Nothing special, but swimming requires more effort than running to burn the same calories.

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