Swimming vs. Running - Which Burns More Calories?

by Catalin Andries on June 11, 2024

© Photo by RunnersWorld

In the quest for a healthier lifestyle, many individuals turn to swimming and running as primary forms of exercise. Both activities offer a myriad of benefits, from improving cardiovascular health to boosting mood and overall well-being. However, when it comes to burning calories, which reigns supreme?

In this article, we'll dive deep into the world of swimming and running to compare their calorie-burning potential and explore the factors that influence their effectiveness as calorie-torching workouts.

Calories Burned: Swimming vs. Running

Let's start by examining the calorie-burning potential of swimming and running. On the surface, it might seem like running, with its high-impact nature and continuous motion, would burn more calories than swimming. However, the reality is a bit more nuanced.


© Photo by Kyle Cassidy - Email, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia

Running is a high-intensity, weight-bearing exercise that engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously. The number of calories burned while running depends on various factors such as speed, distance, terrain, and the individual's weight and fitness level. On average, a person weighing around 155 pounds can burn approximately 300-600 calories per hour of running, depending on the intensity.


© Photo by Australian Paralympic Committee, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Swimming is a full-body workout that offers the benefits of cardiovascular exercise without putting stress on the joints. Unlike running, swimming involves resistance from the water, which requires more energy expenditure to move through.

The number of calories burned while swimming also varies depending on factors like stroke technique, intensity, and proficiency. On average, a person weighing around 155 pounds can burn roughly 400-700 calories per hour of swimming laps at a moderate intensity.

Factors Influencing Calorie Burn:

Several factors influence the number of calories burned during swimming and running:

  1. Intensity: The higher the intensity of the workout, the more calories you'll burn. In both swimming and running, increasing your speed or effort level will result in greater calorie expenditure.

  2. Stroke or Technique: In swimming, different strokes burn calories at different rates. For example, the butterfly stroke typically burns more calories than the breaststroke due to its higher intensity. Similarly, running uphill or incorporating interval training can increase calorie burn.

  3. Body Composition: Individuals with more muscle mass tend to burn more calories at rest and during exercise than those with higher body fat percentages. Therefore, someone with a higher muscle-to-fat ratio may burn more calories while swimming or running than someone with lower muscle mass.

  4. Duration and Frequency: The longer and more frequently you engage in swimming or running sessions, the more calories you'll burn over time. Consistency is key to maximizing calorie expenditure and achieving fitness goals.

  5. Environmental Factors: External conditions such as temperature, humidity, and terrain can affect the intensity of your workout and, consequently, the number of calories burned. For example, running in hot weather may increase sweat production and calorie burn.

In the perennial debate of swimming versus running for calorie burning, both activities offer effective ways to torch calories and improve overall fitness. Ultimately, the best choice depends on individual preferences, goals, and physical capabilities.

Some people may prefer the low-impact nature of swimming, while others thrive on the high-intensity challenge of running. Regardless of which activity you choose, incorporating variety into your fitness routine and maintaining a balanced diet are key components of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle. So, whether you're hitting the pool or pounding the pavement, remember to stay hydrated, listen to your body, and enjoy the journey to better health and fitness.

Enhance Your Swimming Experience: The Advantages of Using a Full-Face Snorkel Mask

A full-face snorkel mask offers numerous advantages for swimmers and snorkelers alike, from enhanced comfort and visibility to increased confidence and safety in the water.

By providing a comfortable and secure fit, improving visibility, and promoting relaxed breathing and streamlined swimming techniques, a full-face snorkel mask can elevate your aquatic adventures to new heights.

Whether you're a beginner looking to explore the underwater world for the first time or an experienced swimmer seeking to enhance your swimming capabilities, investing in a full-face snorkel mask can unlock a world of possibilities and make your time in the water more enjoyable and fulfilling.


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Based on 1500 reviews
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T.S.S (Melbourne, AU)

Great product and even better customer service

Package : Air Adults (Mask + Fins + Bag)
JEANNIE O. (Piara Waters, AU)
Bloody love this!

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Electra - Full Face Snorkel Mask
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Great design

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Clear as day

Clear to see and easy to breathe,
Whole family loves the NinjaShark Snorkel mask.

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Robyn H. (Adelaide, AU)

The best snorkel and mask combination. No going back now! I could snorkel for over an hour easily. So glad I made this purchase

(DRAFT) Package: Dry Snorkel (Set + Fins + Bag)
Mermaid M. (Townsville, AU)

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I was a little bit anxious on receiving my order as the mask was quite different to my old one and the fins were short and adjustable ( l wanted them to be my size ! ) well to my luck the weather was beautiful ( yes mid winter in Mackay ) and perfect for boating so off we scooted to Cockermouth ( don't laugh it's a real place ) jumping in and WOW I'm now a mermaid 🧜‍♀️ the mask and fins felt like part of me. I actually cried as not only was the equipment allowing me to explore as l wanted but the reef was STUNNING. So lm indepted to Ninja Shark for making me the mermaid l always aspired to be 🧜‍♀️

Package: Electra (Mask + Fins + Bag)
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Took it to Tahiti

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Hattie (Urunga, AU)
Life changing

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(DRAFT) Diving Dry Snorkel Set with GoPro mount
jomm11 (Brisbane, AU)
Super quality & fit

So happy we got Ninja shark, perfect for Great barrier reef snorkel day.
Flippers, mask, dry wallet, carry bag (good quality bag), anti fog spray, happy days.

Package: Longer Tube (Mask + Fins + Bag) 3-11 Years
Nat M. (Adelaide, AU)
Ninja Shark Kids Mask

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Even better than expected!

I saw the kids full face snorkel masks online, and thought they looked pretty cool. I ordered two for Christmas, for my 3 and 6 year olds. Wow, did they have a great time with them!

I wasn't sure how the 3 year old would go with it, but he was comfortable in it almost immediately, and spent hours swimming around and seeing a whole new world of underwater scenery.

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Electra - Full Face Snorkel Mask
Nick J. (Brisbane, AU)
mask swimming

The mask did exactly what was stated. I was very happy and will get another mask for my daughter.

Electra - Full Face Snorkel Mask
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Great way to swim

I have NEVER been able to snorkel but love swimming. These full face snorkels are an absolute game changer in my life. Now I try to swim around 5 kms a week in the local pool. The Ninja mask makes it easy to do laps. I’ve been using the Ninja Shark for a quite few years and find the new Electra the best full face mask ever. No leaks, no fog and really easy to use and great quality. I’ve noticed my regular chats with other swimmers at the pool have encouraged many of them to purchase one of their own. I’ve given my older models to my grandkids and they love them too.


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Sarah B. (Surfers Paradise, AU)
Love it!

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(DRAFT) Diving Dry Snorkel Set with GoPro mount
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Love it

Bought these for myself and my husband after getting the full face masks for the kids, and they were so good we’re getting them for the rest of the extended family for Xmas. The fact u can dive down and not get water down ur snorkel is a brilliant bonus! Makes our family holidays much easier and better without snorkel dramas!

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This made our holiday

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The photo is us snorkelling off Amadee Island looking for turtles!

My kids love them

I’ve got three of these masks for my younger kids, however the oldest wants one too as the young ones rave about how good the are.

Summer Family Fun

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Geri D. (Sydney, AU)
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Glad I have but haven’t needed to use .. yet

Great Mask

Love this mask. Kids find it so much easier snorkelling with the Ninja Shark. The snorkel mask is super clear and doesn’t fog up. The adjustable straps are great and easy to loosen and tighten. Very happy that we made the decision to get these for the kids.

Package: Equaliser PRO (Mask + Fins + Bag)
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A must for snorkelers!

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we used our new masks over the weekend. they were amazing, my daughter barely had her head out of the water all day.

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Lina J. (Gold Coast, AU)
life warranty

This is great! More stores should do it!