The swimming versus running discussion is less a debate and more of a one-sided argument that leaves runners in the wake of swimmers.

Swimming not only helps with general physical fitness, but it encompasses a host of other benefits such as muscle toning, breath control, and meditative qualities. It’s a total body workout that stretches your body—something it probably doesn’t get enough of.

Here are just 12 reasons why swimming is better than running.

1) We Get To Float

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The feeling of weightlessness in the water is like nothing else. It just feels better to be in the water. It’s liberating. Swimmers get to exercise in a weightless environment. How cool is that? It’s the best thing next to spacewalking!

Related: 8 Benefits of Swimming You Probably Didn’t Know

2) It’s Low Impact

Running is a high-impact activity that can cause muscle strain, inflammation and other injuries. While there remains some debate about whether running leads to joint problems, its impact does leave runners susceptible to a myriad of problems. Swimming is low-impact, which means you can do it into your 100s (literally)!

3) You Don’t Have To Shower After

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The fact that you’re already wet makes it 10x easier to either dry off and change almost immediately after finishing a workout, or take a quick rinse. The convenience of already being wet makes swimming the perfect option if you’re on a tight schedule.

4) More Training Toys To Put On Your Wish List

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Long fins, short fins, paddles, snorkel, pull buoy, kick board, the list goes on! The endless amount of training accessories keeps swimming fun and engaging. They make the perfect stocking stuffers, and are great presents for anytime of the year.

5) It’s A Total Body Workout

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From head to toe, swimming engages your entire body. Each competitive stroke engages different muscle groups and torches calories! Fun Fact: swimming butterfly is the most taxing movement among all sports. According to Nutristrategy.com, the calorie burn ranges from 649 calories for a 130-pound person to 1,024 calories for a 205-pound person.

6) Three Words: The Olympic Games

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The Olympic games is the world’s largest sporting event – it attracts nearly 4 billion viewers. Swimming is the most popular Olympic sport and occupies 8 days of prime-time television in the first week of the games. Top athletes from the Olympics emerge as global icons and national heroes.

7) Improves Body Awareness

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Swimming improves flexibility, range of motion, and functional strength in the water. This leads to improved core strength and stability in all your joints, as well as stronger muscles and enhanced motor skills.

8) Group Swim Workouts Are More Social

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While staring at the black line can get monotonous, so can running at the same pace. If you swim with a group, the camaraderie is unbeatable. Between sets, swimmers do nothing but talk with each other. Have you ever tried to hold a conversation during a run?

9) Variety

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No two swim workouts ever have to be the same. While some swimmers enjoy the consistency of doing the same workouts over and over, most enjoy mixing it up! The ability to change strokes, alternate energy systems and use equipment makes swimming a mentally stimulating experience.

10) Swimming Makes You Smarter

Your brain loves swimming. The extra blood and oxygen helps you become more alert, awake, and focused. It releases endorphins, the “feel good” hormones in our body.
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Swimming requires your mind to make neuromuscular adjustments to imbalances created from continuous movement through the water. As a result swimming improves dynamic balance and coordination, reflexes, bone density and muscular endurance.

11) No Sweat! Or At Least It Doesn’t Feel Like It!

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Okay, you do sweat when you swim, but because the cool pool water conducts your body heat, you don’t sweat nearly as much as you would if you were exercising out of the water. Have you ever tried going for a run in 90-degree heat? Let’s just say we’ve all experienced the moment when your t-shirt changes color from the start of your workout…

12) The Swimmer Body

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There are a ton of health benefits swimming has to offer, but probably none that serves our vanity quite as much as having a swimmer’s body. Don’t be shy about your swimmer body. You earned it!

BONUS: Sunrises

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Whether you’re swimming open water or in the pool, swimmers experience the most magnificent sunrises/sunsets!

Related: 10 Reasons You Need To Try Swimming

Swimming combines resistance training with cardio, building lean muscle and boosting your metabolism. It also puts your body through a range of movements, helping your muscles stay long and flexible.

For unlimited swim workouts, training plans and drills right on your iPhone, Android or Smartwatch, get your free trial of ELITE in the MySwimPro app!

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13 thoughts on “12 Reasons Why Swimming is Better Than Running

  1. Some good points but also a few absolute fails in this article.
    #3: Not showering after a swim is great if the idea of carrying around other peoples urine & other germs is fun.
    #4: Running is great because you don’t need toys. It’s just you & some running clothes/shoes.
    #6: Theres also running at the olympics too
    #8: I’ve done group swim workouts too & they aren’t social. it’s more about people wanting to get it over & done with.
    #10: Running is also exercise & also releases endorphins. Therefore by this article’s statement running also makes you smarter.
    Bonus: You can also run & see sunrises too.

  2. I’m in my 60’s and used to be an ardent squash player until a few years ago when I developed ‘sciatica’. Also used to jog a lot to keep up my fitness. Then calf problems, archilles tendon issues. Knee inflammation etc. Thank God for swimming, I burn almost the same about of calories (freestyle) in a 1.15min swim than a 1 hr jog.

  3. I swam at Cal all four years. It’s a great sport and everything you write is true. However, running is a fine equal, especially in the mountains where I live. Combine it with 20 mins of dumbells and stretch bands and it matches any swim workout…and you don’t need a pool! One way or another, keep moving to stay healthy!

  4. I used to just swim for an hour but now I run 5k with my swimmers underneath and then jump into the ocean for a quick swim, I can honestly say it’s the BEST feeling to combine the two 🏃‍♀️ 🏊‍♀️ 👊

  5. I have experimented with many types of physical fitness HIGHS. Namely RUNNING (PRs for males 226 pounds+ 2.5KM 11:39 3KM 13:56 5KM 22:58 8KM 39:15 and 10KM 45:53), BODYBUILDING and SWIMMING. I have concluded that the SWIMMING HIGH IS THE MOST POWERFUL.

    Reply

    Christopher Nowak BFA MLIS
    28.03.2021 at 17:34
    I would like to add that success in physical fitness can lead to A LONG LIFE and a liking for NON-MATERIALISM. I used to wear two sweatshirts: ME: 1962-21? and MOXIE MUSIC WATER. I got a lot of interesting looks from the pedestrians and drivers in front of me. My favourite tunes when running for training or competitively: AFRICA (TOTO) and DO YOU BELIEVE IN LOVE? (HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS)!!!

  6. Excellent article! Most people think of swimming as a total body workout, but it’s amazing that swimming can boost your brain power. A swim in the morning keeps me feeling great through the day. Helps build endurance, strength and stamina.

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