Running vs Swimming

Since I can't run at the moment (sore knees) I am taking up swimming for a couple of weeks instead. Unfortunately I find it really dull and boring just ploughing up and down. Managed 50 minutes this morning before I thought my head would explode.

Anyway, sensible question.
When compared to running which burns about 100 calories per mile, how good is swimming as a form of exercise? Is it as good an aerobic exercise as going for a good long run?

Maybe if I know the facts then I will be able to force myself to stay in the pool for longer.

(Treated myself to a sunbed too and now my FLM tan is peeling. Injured, bored and flaky, I'm painting a really attractive picture now aren't I?!)


  • depends how much air you have in your armbands
  • If you can't run can you use the aquajogger, this is very efficient way of maintaining fitness yet allows you to stare at something other than a line of black tiles.
    If you can't then I will point you in the direction of a decent website which will give you ideas to structure a swim session and maybe make it a tad less boring.

    have a play around with that site.

    hope the injury improves
  • Cheers mountaingoat. What exactly is an aquajogger, not sure my pool would have one which is a shame, sounds interesting!

    I'll have a look at that site now.
  • ooh, in case anyone's interested, just found this. Calories burned based on 60 mins of the following activites:

    Aerobics 429
    Biking (moderate) 572
    Dancing 322
    Driving 143
    Football 572
    Gardening 358
    House cleaning 179
    Jogging 501
    Mountain Biking 250
    Office work 107
    Running (5 mph) 572
    Running cross country 644
    Sex (moderate) 93
    Sex (vigorous) 107
    Sitting (watching TV) 71
    Sleeping 64
    Soccer 501
    Standing 85
    Studying at desk 128
    Swimming 572
    Talking on the phone 71
    Walking, strolling (less than 2mph) 250
    Yoga 286

    That makes me happy, swimming is as good as running! (except that I run a tad faster than 5 miles an hour!)

  • And that just goes to prove what we all know already......

    Running is better than sex ;)

    sorry couldn't resist
  • I'm gonna chuck me mountain bike out and get a moderate one instead.
    (At last no more hill training)

    Also good to see football is better than soccer
  • are you sure Meggles? tee hee!
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    I read somewhere that swimming is good for training your body to use more oxygen per breath during exercise. It seems to make sense; if you swim with your head under the water you can breathe less often, so your body will have to get more oxygen out of each lungful.

    Keeps me going anyway..........
  • Nessie's right; do a length breathing every 3 (freestyle) strokes, then every 5 on the next one and so on till you do the length without breathing and then back down again till you're breathing every 3, you'll be ace at breath control. Try to swim every length at the same pace, and never have more than 5-10s recovery per length. When you get better, increase the pace, especially in the second half.

    Also, you'll closer to 800cal/hr if you seriously up the intensity by introducing interval training (e.g. 20 x 50m with 10s recovery) and some swimming at threshold pace over 400-800m.

    Spin classes on the bike also use closer to 800cal/hour because of their high intensity. Oh, and you can get an Aquajogger from the internet or from a running shop like Sweatshop for around £30ish, and the pool people don't mind a bit.

    Hope that was os some use to you and that your knees are feeling better by now.
  • How's the swimming going Meggles?
  • WardiWardi ✭✭✭
    One of my books equates 1 mile of swimming to approx. 4 miles of running. Certainly makes me feel just as hungry afterwards.
  • My swimming is going pretty well thanks guys. I've been going twice a week and I'm still doing yoga and teaching once a week. Not remotely non-active, but still missing my running.

    The physio has basically put everything down to my back which is an injury that I had from dance college that stopped me dancing pro. There's nothing major wrong with me, just lots of little things! Don't know when I'll be out running again yet, am seeing physio again on Mon.

    Actually not finding swimming too boring now, I generally do 60 lengths in about 50 mins, and you're right Wardi, always hungry afterwards!
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