Jumping jacks are a form of exercise that you’ve probably been doing since your childhood. Quick and easy and a lot of fun, this move needs no fancy equipment or special gear. Just put on a good pair of sports shoes and get bouncing! But how good is this on the workout scales? And can it help with weight loss? Here’s a look at what doing jumping jacks regularly can do for you.
1. Give You A Full Body Workout
Jumping jacks are a dynamic full body workout which increases your body temperature and aerobic capacity. This is why jumping jacks work so well for warm-ups and cardio routines. If weight loss or toning your body is the reason you are exercising, full body workouts are essential.
2. Help Build Muscle Strength
Jumping jacks also help build muscle strength, especially in the muscles engaged in the jump – your calves, hip abductors and adductors, shoulder abductors and adductors, and your core muscles, including your abs and lower back muscles. Which is why they’re so great as part of a high-intensity interval training routine or drill.1 2
3. Boost Your Heart Rate
Jumping jacks help elevate your heart rate quickly.3 Why is this so important? Your body’s heart rate can be an effective indicator of whether you are exercising correctly for your body, pushing it too far or not pushing hard enough. In general, exercise that causes your heart rate to increase is good for your heart.4
The average resting heart rate when you are not exercising or moving about is usually 60–100 beats per minute for most adults and kids over 10, while athletes have a resting heart rate of 40–60 beats per minute. Your maximum heart rate is calculated at 220 minus your age.
4. Improve Bone Strength
Jumping jacks are a form of bodyweight exercise, making them great for your bones. The stress of the impact may stimulate your bones to become stronger and denser. In one study, doing 10 or 20 jumps twice a day helped one group of women between 25 and 50 improve their hip bone density in just 4 months.6
Caution: give jumping jacks a miss if you already have weak bones.
While it may not be ideal for people with already weak bones, it will help prevent loss of bone mass and strengthen bones for those who may be at future risk of developing osteoporosis. The best part? Research suggests that if you do a jumping exercise like this for a couple of months, you could sustain the benefits for a prolonged period by just keeping up a milder form of the initial routine.
5. Offer You Cardiovascular Benefits
To stay fit and healthy, you should aim to do some aerobic exercise every week. The World Health Organization suggests getting in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity every week.8 Aerobic exercise also brings cardiovascular benefits by lowering blood pressure and lipid levels and alleviating stress and anxiety.9 It also helps holistically manage conditions like diabetes and facilitates healthier aging and pregnancies.10 As a form of aerobics, jumping jacks can chip in with all these benefits.
id="help-weight-loss">6. Help Weight Loss
Every 30-minute session of jumping jacks burns around 186 calories for the average 155-pound adult. That’s similar to walking at 4.5 mph (13 min/mi) and more than what you’d burn playing badminton or volleyball for 30 minutes.11 As an aerobic exercise, it can also help with weight loss.12
In general, if you can create a calorie deficit – that is you burn more calories per day than you consume – you should see some weight loss. A calorie deficit of about 500 calories a day (1,900 kcal for men and 1,400 kcal for women) is a good level to aim at and should get you to a safe weight loss of between 0.5 kg and 1 kg (1 lb to 2 lb) per week.13 As part of a workout routine, jumping jacks can help you get to these goals.
7. Boost Your Mood And Reduce Stress
You may know that any aerobic physical exercise is linked with a significant improvement in mood. This is because exercise makes your body release the mood-lifting neurotransmitters called endorphins. These not only give you a happy high and combat your stress, they also reduce your perception of pain. Jumping jacks are no exception to this rule.
Perfect Your Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks are a fairly simple exercise that even beginners can do. You don’t need any equipment or membership to a gym to get started. If you haven’t done them before or are hoping to get your technique right, just follow these steps and you’ll master the jumping jacks before you know it, without incurring any injuries
- Stand perfectly straight, feet together, arms by your sides.
- Raise your arms overhead quickly, simultaneously jumping your feet out on either side. Your legs should make an inverted V shape.
- Land gently to avoid jarring any joints, especially your knees. Good shoes can help pad the landing.
- As your feet make contact with the ground on the sides and your hands reach the top position over your head, quickly reverse the movement, bringing the arms back to your sides and feet together in a standing position. The movement must be smooth and seamless.
Avoid It If You Have Spine Problems
As the International Osteoporosis Foundation cautions, those with vertebral fractures should choose other exercises like walking to lower the impact on their spine rather than jumping in any form.14 If you have any pre-existing health conditions, especially related to bone health, always consult your doctor first before beginning any form of exercise, including jumping jacks.
|↑1||6 Exercise Swaps That Will Kick up the Intensity of Your Workout.
|↑2||Sean Bartram. High Intensity Interval Training. Penguin, 2015.|
|↑3||Quickie Bodyweight Workout for the Busiest Time of the Year. American Council on Exercise.|
|↑4||Sweaty Science: How Does Heart Rate Change with Exercise?. Scientific American.|
|↑5||Target Heart Rates. American Heart Association.|
|↑6||Boost Your Bone Strength. American Association of Retired Persons.|
|↑7||Ooi, F. K., R. Singh, H. J. Singh, and Y. Umemura. “Minimum level of jumping exercise required to maintain exercise-induced bone gains in female rats.” Osteoporosis international 20, no. 6 (2009): 963-972.|
|↑8||Physical Activity and Adults. WHO.|
|↑9, ↑10, ↑12||Mersy, David J. “Health benefits of aerobic exercise.” Postgraduate medicine 90, no. 1 (1991): 103-112.|
|↑11||Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑13||Work out how much weight you need to lose.
|↑14||Exercise Reccomendations. International Osteoporosis Foundation.|