Swimming laps and walking are both common forms of exercise used to burn calories, increase stamina and improve respiratory and cardiovascular fitness. Each activity has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some exercisers prefer one of them to the other, while many incorporate both into their workout routines.
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Benefits of Walking
Walking is one of the most common forms of exercise and requires little in the way of preparation or investment. According to Harvard Medical School, an hour of brisk walking burns about 372 calories, if you weigh 155 pounds. Walking, particularly brisk walking, is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise; studies collected by the Harvard School of Public Health show that regular walkers are less likely to suffer from heart disease, stroke and diabetes than non-walkers.
Benefits of Swimming Laps
Swimming laps is an intense form of exercise to burn calories, build muscle and improve the function of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. A 155-pound adult who spends an hour swimming laps can burn about 446 calories. Because swimmers use a wide range of different muscles, this form of exercise is an excellent workout for muscle groups in the arms, legs and torso. Regular swimmers also suffer from lower rates of heart disease, depression and other ailments, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Advantages of Swimming
In many ways, swimming laps is a superior form of exercise to walking. Swimming exercises a wider range of muscle groups and burns more calories than walking, while providing many of the same benefits for the circulatory and respiratory systems. In addition, swimming is kinder to joints such as the ankles and knees than walking, making it a very good form of exercise for people who suffer from joint pain or who are at risk of joint injuries.
Advantages of Walking
Although swimming laps delivers a more intense workout than walking, there are a wide range of factors that make walking preferable for many people. Walking requires no special equipment, whereas swimming requires a pool or other body of water. Walking also requires no special skills, whereas swimming laps is only an effective form of exercise for those who already know how to swim. These facts make walking more accessible and easier to integrate into the daily routine than swimming laps.
- Harvard School of Public Health: Walking - and Bicycling - Your Way to Health
- CNN ProjectLife: The Benefits of Swimming
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Health Benefits of Water-Based Exercise