Not everyone enjoys hitting the gym for a range of reasons from boredom to fear of judgment. But the good news is there is no dearth of fun fitness activities like swimming, cycling, dancing, rock climbing, sports, or hiking that one can do to enhance their overall health. One can not only pursue these activities as hobbies but they are amazing for mental health too. Swimming and cycling are great aerobic exercises and have numerous health benefits for cardiovascular health and overall fitness levels. Many of us may have tried these two activities in our childhood. (Also read: Brisk walking vs jogging; which is better for weight loss? Expert take)
If you are planning to try any of the two, here are benefits of the workouts explained by fitness trainer Dr. Neha Gill PT, Senior Physiotherapist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Chandigarh.
Swimming benefits: Cheaper to pursue compared to cycling
Swimming is a full body work out and is a sport which one has to learn before they can pursue it. Swimming involves the muscles of head to toe like the core, arms, shoulders, back, and legs. Therefore it promotes overall strength and endurance. In terms of cost, the equipment used in swimming are cheaper than cycling. From health benefits perspective, it’s a great low impact cardiovascular exercise. Therefore people of any age group can perform it. All they need is training. Also people with soft tissue or joint injury can perform it as it will not harm the joints. Nowadays aquatic therapy or hydrotherapy is also gaining popularity for the therapeutic purposes. The properties of water like buoyancy can be used as a support or resistance. So people with neurological disorders can take help of it.
Swimming has its own set of disadvantages too like if someone is indulged in extensive training they can face overuse injuries in common areas like shoulder and knees. Another disadvantage is that due to the chemicals used in the pool for hygiene purposes, it can lead to dry skin, itchy nose or red eyes.
Benefits and disadvantages of cycling
Moving on to cycling, which is another low impact cardiovascular exercise. Cycling is a sport which almost everyone knows and has practiced in their childhood. Therefore not much training is required for this activity. But the equipment for cycling are expensive than that of swimming. Also trained people of any age group can do it. But it is not advisable in case of any injury.
Cycling majorly focuses on lower body such as quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, with less emphasis on upper body engagement. It also has some disadvantages like risk of fall or crash. Often muscle of hips and knees are strained due to the repetitive movements.
Weight loss with swimming vs cycling
Both swimming and cycling are effective calorie-burning activities. But even research says that one hour of swimming burns more calories than cycling as multiple groups of muscles are being used in it.
“Swimming and cycling both are fantastic forms of exercise with amazing health benefits. Being low impact cardiovascular exercises, swimming is a full body workout but cycling majorly focuses on lower body. Lesser chances of strains or injuries are there in swimming as compared to cycling. Also when we talk about weight loss swimming is a better option. But cycling is easier and more convenient than swimming. Therefore they both are great options for healthy well-being. Every individual is different so one should consider what suits them the best,” says Dr Gill.