Running vs. Swimming

I was an athlete all of my high school career, and I am trying to carry the fitness aspect into college as mush as I can. I participate in fitness clubs, like Penn State CHAARG, and try to go to the gym as often as I can. Running is always viewed as such a respected technique of working out, but I hate it! I started to brainstorm of some ideas that I could do for working out instead of running that would be equivalent or better. This is the reason I decided to research two totally different types of workouts, running and swimming. My goal is to figure out if swimming would be a satisfactory substitution to running.


The New York Times posted an article titled “Run vs. Swim? Statistician Says The Score Is In” that evaluated which type of the two workout methods is more effective. The distance and time traveled was far less important than how hard the actual activity was itself. Based off the studies and observations, it was a consensus decision that swimming was the harder activity out of the two types of workouts. If the same person ran for twenty minutes and then swam for twenty minutes, that person would have the potential to burn up to 25% more calories swimming than running. Swimming is an activity that is more vigorous and demanding of the body, which is why this type of exercise burns more calories.

Within the article posted by The New York Times titled “Run vs. Swim? Statistician Says The Score Is In” the researches made sure to stress other variables that could be affecting the end result. It is important to review all possibilities and ideas in a study to ensure the best possible outcome in the end results. For example, they tested running vs. swimming on different genders. Gender is just one of the many types of factors that can play a huge role in determining the outcome of the study. They found reasons like women being able to retain fat better allows them to swim more easily due to the fact they can remain parallel to the top of the water. Also, the fact that men are built more muscular sets themselves up for more success when it comes to running.


I found a very interesting article that was posted shortly after the 2016 summer Olympic games in Rio De Janeiro. The Article posted by the Wall Street Journal titled “Rio Games: Why Olympians Shatter Records in Swimming but Not Track” I felt directly related to the topic of this blog. After reading the article by the Wall Street Journal, it seems that within the sport of swimming it is easier to break records than within track in field because of training methods. Also the drag that water presents to a swimmer while swimming is something that an athlete has to learn to overcome to find success, and that is exactly what happened.


After researching running vs. swimming, I was excited to find out that swimming had overall more positive results than running. Being a person who hates running, I should definitely try swimming as an alternative workout based off of what I have learned. It also seems as if there is more room to grow towards success with swimming, and not as much with running. In conclusion, if you are anything like me and have a hateful relationship with running but love fitness, try swimming for an alternative!



4 thoughts on “Running vs. Swimming

  1. David Ross

    I despise running, especially at the gym. Slaving my legs back and forth while staying in the same place is one of the most unenjoyable activities I think I could ever voluntarily do. Swimming as an alternative is a very interesting idea. Even though I would be confined to the size of the swimming pool, it would still be more fun than just standing in one spot and running. One thing that came across my mind was which swimming techniques are known to burn more calories than others, and how much more effective are these swimming techniques than running. I also wonder if gyms will start to build more swimming options since it is more effective to swim. Very interesting and well written article!

  2. Angelica Marie Arguello

    Being a swimmer for 7 years I have always known that swimming was a better work out. Swimming is probably one of the hardest sports to do, it uses every muscle in your body and is one of the fastest and healthiest ways to lose weight if done consistently.The amount of calories you burn just in 20 minutes of swimming is incredible. I’d pick swimming over running any day.. not just because I am a swimmer but because running is just horrible! I’ve never liked running and never will! If you do decide to start swimming, here’s a calorie burning calculator for after your swims

  3. Kate Billings

    I was honestly surprised to find out that swimming is a better workout than running. I used to be a swimmer myself and I would much prefer swimming than running. I guess because I enjoyed swimming and never struggled with it I never thought it would be a harder workout than running (which I don’t like). I have always forced myself to run just because I know it is good exercise, but now hearing that swimmer is better exercise I would rather do that instead. I think that many people would be surprised by these results just because when people think of swimming they don’t think of how energy consuming it can be. Swimming isn’t as popular of a workout as running but it should start to become apart of peoples workout routines according to this post. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Matthew Edward Simco

    I have played sports involving running for the majority of my life, and easily say that swimming is so much harder on the body than running. After swimming just two laps, I was so physically exhausted throughout my whole body. That summer, I began to swim as exercise, and I gradually found myself getting better and better. Before swimming, I ran for my exercise. Swimming did so much more for me than running. The article linked below shows why swimming is such a good exercise.

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