I am not a fitness fanatic but like to maintain general health and condition by doing 30+ minutes of cardio and 30+ minutes of strength training each day.

I used to swim every day for 30-35 minutes each morning before breakfast, which worked great since it is hard to overload or injure yourself that way and it was very refreshing.

Now I cannot swim anymore (pool closed) so I am looking for a suitable simple alternative for a daily refreshing cardio.

Can it be replaced by just going for a 30-35min jog every day? What would a good pace be? At the moment, I'm doing it everyday and do around 6.5-7km if my Vivosmart HR is to be believed.

So, what do you think? Is this a good way to approach the loss of swimming? One of the downsides is that one of my strength days also focuses on legs, which makes the jogging a bit more difficult.

3 Answers 3


Cardio is cardio. There are benefits and detriments to all of them, and what it basically boils down to is your own personal choice.

Can running be a good replacement for swimming? Sure. There is different equipment costs (Good running shoes in the US run $125-200 US per pair, with a life of 3-400 miles usually), and there are different body strains (More impact, different muscles utilized), but your cardio system gets worked out.

What it boils down to, is finding something that you enjoy and can do every day. If running is a chore, you will soon stop doing it. Enjoy it, and you will do it more often and get more out of it. Try a bunch of different stuff, find one or two (or even three) things you like to do and do them. You could run on day one, bike on day three, go rowing day four, etc.

  • Thanks but I'd prefer just a single no-nonsense pre-work cardio training to help me wake up in the morning and get the blood flowing and was informing if running is a healthy and sensible choice to do daily. Sep 12, 2017 at 16:19
  • @SvenAkkermans - Yes? No? Could be? I've run x-country and still run in spurts here and there. Anything can be, so yes, running can be a healthy and sensible choice. If it no longer becomes that, you'll need to pick something else. Your question is borderline for being closed as "personal opinion", I was trying to avoid that.
    – JohnP
    Sep 12, 2017 at 16:41

As someone who has finally started incorporating triathlon training into my routines (been swimming and running a while), I think the two are vastly different. I started running long before I was swimming. When I jumped in the pool the first time, despite my cardio health, I couldn’t swim 25m. After months spent practicing form, endless repetitions, etc... I’m good for a mile or two.

Running is going to be somewhat similar. Your body is going to have to overcome the initial shock of this new activity. Your heart rate will be higher, your legs will be more involved, and there will be minor little injuries you’re going to have the joy of discovering.

I can’t run every day. My body won’t allow it. There has to be recovery time for me. It’s a far more intense (for me) exercise than swimming. You need to build up to 30 minutes - that’ll be roughly 5-5.5k for most novices.

  • I like the answer, but when you started swimming, how much swimming had you done in your life before that? A lot of new swimmers are fine cardio, but have problems with the breathing and getting tired due to poor breathing/technique more than anything else.
    – JohnP
    Apr 5, 2018 at 20:42
  • I hadn’t done any “correct” swimming in my life. My point is that swimming took time to develop the right muscle strength, technique, and skill. Running is no different and, in my opinion, is more taxing. Even most avid runners only run 3-4 days a week.
    – Frank
    Apr 5, 2018 at 22:30
  • most avid runners run too hard/fast in general. Thats why they only run 3-4 days a week. :)
    – JohnP
    Apr 6, 2018 at 0:45

One slightly unconventional way of looking at this is, which activity are you worst at? Because the better you are at something, the more easily you can do it with less effort, and therefore as a workout you may get less benefit from it. (Of course you can force a higher intensity but that requires a level of mental focus).

In other words, supposing you are a great runner but only an average swimmer, I would say 30 minutes of swimming would yield better improvements in fitness than the equivalent time running.

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