Jumping jacks have been around since time immemorial. This form of calisthenic exercise certainly goes a long way back and you likely learned it in elementary school. It is a fundamental exercise that most people can perform and it can be modified to suit any fitness level. For a beginner, the jump can be eliminated, while for the more advanced athlete, a squat can be added along with increasing the height of the jump.
If you really think about it, jumping jacks are essentially a full body exercise that incorporates many of the characteristics of the multitasking philosophy that most people embrace nowadays. Jumping jacks get the entire body moving and it can be done as a warm-up exercise to get the muscles ready, or it can also be part of a full-body workout like high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
So without further ado, here are the reasons why you must take up jumping jacks and see the difference it can make to your workout:
Jumping jacks help reduce the risks associated with heart disease. In the United States alone, up to 250,000 heart-related fatalities are documented annually. Hence, making cardio exercises like jumping jacks an integral part of your daily fitness routine is a no brainer. In particular, it is most beneficial in the following ways:
- It is capable of raising heart rate and blood circulation due to repetition of the exercise.
- Improved blood circulation leads to weight loss and strengthening of the cardiovascular system.
- As you breathe more and get more oxygen sent to your lungs, your heart will become stronger, more efficient, and therefore lessens your chance of developing lifestyle illnesses.
- Your cardiovascular system is strengthened as more oxygen is pulled into the bloodstream. In addition, your cholesterol levels are kept in check.
- High blood pressure (hypertension) can also be prevented by decreasing the fat deposits in the walls of blood vessels.
Jumping jacks make all large muscle groups move, so it offers an excellent full-body workout. Just make sure you breathe deeply so you engage your core and target your abs as well. You may also modify how you perform the exercise so it becomes an intense activity that builds muscle.
If you do deep squat when returning to the standing position, you can target your abs, glutes, thigh and calf muscles. Do it at a fast pace so you can maintain the aerobic benefits of the workout.
One of the major benefits of exercising is the production of endorphins. When you do jumping jacks for an extended period of time, it triggers a chemical effect and your body will release endorphins, which are chemicals that relieve pain, provide a sense of relief, and help in promoting wellness by enabling you to regain lost energy. Accompany your exercise with deep breathing to help you free your thoughts so your mind becomes clearer and sharper. In order to maximize the relaxation benefits of doing jumping jacks, try to sustain an elevated heart rate for at least 20 minutes. If you can’t do jumping jacks for that duration, then alternate between jumping jacks and marching in place.
Burning Calories and Reducing Body Weight
One of the best benefits of jumping jacks is burning off calories that help lower body weight and protect against obesity. As aforementioned, jumping jacks can increase heart rate which infuses more oxygen to the bloodstream and to the muscles. When blood flow is increased, you’re more likely to burn off calories that will enable you to shed off those extra pounds. Your body actually gets warmed up after only about 10 to 15 repetitions, so the more jumping jacks you do, the more calories you burn off. If you include this simple exercise to a high-intensity interval circuit training, you’ll reap even more benefits. By simply increasing the intensity, you get rid of unwanted fat and replace it with muscle. According to a Livestrong article, a 150-pound person will burn approximately 276 calories for half an hour of intense and vigorous jumping jacks.
Conditioning and Endurance
Jumping jacks are always at the top of the list when it comes to exercises used to improve conditioning and increase endurance. This is precisely the reason why athletes and military personnel use this exercise as part of their regular training. By strengthening and tightening your muscles, you will be able to handle all types of physical challenges for longer periods of time. If you are just starting to exercise, you’ll notice feeling tired quickly, but with time and dedication, you can develop your endurance and stamina. This is important to your health because it improves muscle function and can therefore help with everyday activities.
Making Bones Stronger
Over the years, there have been lots of controversies about what form of exercise really strengthens bones. One way to achieve this is through weightlifting, but some experts suggest that quick jumping bursts can have the same effect. This means jumping jacks may be the ideal exercise for stronger bones and minimizing the risk of osteoporosis. What occurs is that the bones bend a bit with each jumping motion, inducing new cell development, thereby offering more support for the bones and strengthening them. The good news is that you don’t need to do a lot – just a little explosive activity can be enough to help in developing stronger and sturdier bones.
If you haven’t started doing jumping jacks, you can stop reading this article and make it a part of your workout regimen today! It is way too good of an exercise to pass up on for a variety of reasons. The benefits are virtually endless and it will make you a stronger, healthier, and happier individual.