Jumping jacks may be reminiscent of our elementary school days, but they’ve never really gone out of style. They are a regular component of vigorous circuit training workouts, and a wonderful way to take a break from the sedentary, elevate your heart rate, burn some calories, and melt away some fat. Taking even a one-minute jumping jack break can do wonders for your happiness, health, and overall well-being.
How Jumping Jacks Jumpstart Health and Fitness
- Aerobic Benefits: Jumping jacks are primarily an aerobic workout that helps to tone the cardiovascular system and promote stronger heart health. One minute of jumping jacks elevates your heart rate and forces you to breathe deeper, which delivers a heaping helping of oxygen to the bloodstream and muscles. This oxygen influx triggers the body to burn more calories and fat.
- Full Body Function: Rather than isolated machine workouts that target specific muscles, jumping jacks are an all-over, full-body workout that promotes functional movements to keep you strong, healthy, and able-bodied throughout your entire life. All of your muscle groups are engaged at once…even your abdominal muscles get a workout!
- Flexibility and Tone: While jumping jacks may not result in body-builder legs, they do enhance both flexibility and tone. Jumping jacks work the calves, glutes, deltoids, lats, and gracilis muscles. Muscle fibers are strengthened and fat deposits decreased for more visibly toned muscles.
- Hormone Helper: Our genes crave brief, high-intensity, full-body movements like jumping jacks. Jumping jacks release feel-good endorphins and cortisol into the bloodstream. A single jumping jack session could just have you jumping for joy!
- Weight Loss: As part of her Weight Loss Challenge program, fitness expert and dietician Joy Baeur of TODAY, recommends doing 100 jumping jacks three times a day in order to burn an extra 60 calories. That adds up to an additional 420 calories burned per week!
How To Do Jumping Jacks
There are two phases to jumping jacks: the abduction phase, in which you jump your feet hip-width apart, and the adduction phase, in which you jump your feet back together. There are also many variations of jumping jacks you can perform.
You can simply engage in 30-60 seconds of classic jumping jacks at your own pace.
You can also take a high-intensity break with jumping jack sprints:
- 15 seconds of as many jumping jacks as you can, followed by a 15-second rest
- 30 seconds of as many jumping jacks as you can, followed by a 30-second rest
- 60 seconds of as many jumping jacks as you can, followed by a 60-second rest
Or you can shake things up and vary your jumping jacks by type.
- Try squat jumping jacks: either jump into a low squat, or squat down low and then jump up high (feet off the ground) into a jack.
- Take it easy and modify your jumping jack by stepping out to the side one leg at a time.
- Have some fun with cross jacks by crisscrossing your feet on the jump in.
- Instead of jumping out, raise those knees high, or even jump back into a lunge!