Swimming or Cycling: Which is better for weight loss?



Creating a calorie deficit is the foremost thing if one wants to lose weight. Any form of exercise when combined with proper diet can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

The number of calories you burn while you perform any physical activity depends on the type of activity, the intensity with which you do it and the amount of time you perform it for.

It’s wise to choose and perform a physical activity that you enjoy doing and can perform regularly. Choosing to do what you don’t like only makes you irregular with the routine.

Today in this article we are going to compare two physical activities, swimming and cycling and which one is better for weight loss.


Swimming is a low-impact workout which uses all the body parts and that is why, many people feel that it helps them burn more calories. It’s a great cardiovascular workout as it is good for your lungs and heart. Swimming is also good for people with joint problems. Water supports the body weight and thus puts no stress on the joints. The activity is pretty exhaustive but it gives your upper body a great toning and definition.

Low-intensity exercises are better to burn fat. Swimming being a low-intensity exercise qualifies as being the better one to lose weight when compared with cycling. A man weighing around 70-80 kilos burns around 750 calories during one hour of swimming session.
Also, as swimming uses both upper and lower body, it’s one of the perfect total body workouts. If done properly, swimming has a calming and meditative effect on your mind and body.


Cycling, if done at a moderate pace, is considered as a low-intensity exercise. But a few drawbacks of cycling are if your cycle is not of the right size or if you do not do it properly then it can lead to injury. Though incorporating this exercise in your daily routine is easy as you can simply go to office or market by your cycle. You do not need to take out extra time, unlike for swimming.

Cycling at a higher intensity helps one build muscles in the calves, quadriceps and glutes. Unlike swimming, cycling benefits you more on your lower body as it’s your legs that are at work. A man weighing 70-80 kilos will burn around 600 calories while cycling at a pace of 10-15 mph. So, in the race of weight loss, swimming wins as it helps one burn more calories in the same amount of time.

Things to keep in mind

If you have any health condition, you should definitely consult your doctor before starting any exercise routine. Eating right goes without saying as diet has a 70 per cent role to play in your weight loss programme.

Swimming is a non-weight bearing exercise which is a disadvantage as it does not have a bone-strengthening effect as running a cycling has. However, both swimming and cycling can help you build muscles, improve your pulmonary fitness and cardiovascular health.

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