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Is swimming better for you than cycling?

Is swimming better for you than cycling for staying fit, healthy and losing weight? Swimming and cycling are brilliant, accessible ways to stay in shape and can be done inexpensively, but if you are wondering what the best workout is overall and which will help you reach your weight loss goals, you are right place.

If you’re thinking of a new hobby or another to focus on during your last health boost, before buying one of the best exercise bikes or pulling out your swimsuits, we’ll help you out. answer all of your questions below.

Swimming vs cycling: what is the best workout?

Swimming and cycling are relatively low-impact activities, which means if you’ve been injured training for a marathon, or have a knee condition that requires you to be careful in the gym, weight training, both should be right for you (although always see your doctor if you are unsure). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week in order to stay healthy, and swimming and cycling can help you achieve this.

Research has shown that swimming and cycling have a positive effect on overall health, especially heart health. A to study over 80,000 adult swimmers found they were 41% less likely to die from heart disease. Another to study who examined the benefits of cycling to work showed that those who cycled to the office had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. So if you’re worried about your overall health, both are great.

One major difference between the two is water, which seems like a silly observation, but in reality, since water supports your body weight when you swim, your joints are not stressed. Swimming also works all the major muscle groups in the body, regardless of which movement you choose.

Cycling, on the other hand, is not very resistant but some pressure on your joints, even if it’s not a lot. In fact, cycling is still recommended as an exercise for people with arthritis, and research have shown that cycling and swimming can reduce joint pain and stiffness. Compared to swimming, you don’t need to learn or perfect a specific swim to get the most out of cycling; you can just hop on your bike and pedal. Having said that, you don’t work quite as many muscles, mainly the lower body and the trunk.

A cyclist riding a hill next to a coastline

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Swimming vs cycling: which is better for weight loss?

If weight loss is your primary goal, calorie burning is important. Of course, as in all sports, the exact amount of calories you will burn while exercising depends on your body weight and how hard you swim or cycle.

When it comes to swimming, the butterfly stroke burns more calories than the breaststroke, and on the bike, pedaling harder and faster on a hill will burn more calories than pedaling gently in the park.

As a rough guide, during 60 minutes of exercise, a 70 kg person would burn 700 kcal in breaststroke length, 704 kcal in front crawl length and 818 kcal in butterfly stroke. On the bike, a 70 kg person would burn 422 kcal on a bicycle at a speed of 9 to 11 mph, or 563 kcal on a bicycle at a speed of 11 to 13 mph.

Swimming burns significantly more calories than cycling per hour because the water acts as resistance, causing your muscles to work harder to move. As mentioned above, it is also a full body workout. That said, swimming for an hour is hard and not something that everyone can dive in and do. If you’re not a confident swimmer, this could mean that you’d actually burn more calories going on a long weekend bike ride because it’s easier.

To lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficit and swimming and cycling can help you do that, it’s just a matter of deciding what you’re most comfortable doing.

Swimming vs cycling: which is better in the long run?

If you’re worried about injuring yourself, swimming is probably safer than biking because you’re less likely to have an accident than when you’re riding alongside road traffic. However, if you are completely new to swimming, it is important to take lessons before diving into the depths.

For swimmers, the most common injuries are usually around the shoulders, so if it’s a weaker area, be sure to watch out for overuse issues after regular trips to the pool. For cyclists, aside from impact injuries in collisions, common overuse injuries are usually concentrated around the knee.

Both exercises are extremely convenient and can be inexpensive, although the cost of cycling can certainly be much higher. Theoretically, all you need to ride a bike is a bike and a helmet, so if you already have them, you’re sorted. But if you don’t have a bike yet, buying one can be a big expense. Also, if you plan to cycle regularly, you might want to invest in shorts and crampons to make things more comfortable. You’ll also need to purchase bike lights and a lock if you’re planning on getting around on a bike, and there are countless other bike gadgets to invest in along the line. People can (and spend) thousands of dollars riding a bicycle.

To swim you will only need a swimsuit and a pair of goggles, so this is the cheaper of the two options. That said, if you’re serious about your weight loss goals, investing in an activity tracker is a good way to keep tabs on your calorie burn. best fitness trackers here.

Ultimately, swimming and cycling are great ways to stay in shape, but the best exercise is the one you want to to do. If diving in your local pool scares you, it won’t be something you drag yourself out of bed at 6am every morning. In this case, take your commute by bike or buy one of the best peloton alternatives will be a better option.

Swimming burns more calories in an hour, while cycling may be more practical and easier to learn, but both are great for your overall health and beneficial for weight loss.

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