Cardio is an effective workout for burning more calories in a short period of time. It is not just about burning away at those calories, cardio is also important for maintaining good heart health, increasing your lung capacity and reducing the risk of several diseases. Before people start throwing in any random cardiovascular exercises into their workouts, I tend to get asked a lot about what burns more calories between running and jump rope? Is jump rope as challenging or better than running? The answer is simply yes!
Jump rope is unique as it works the majority of the muscles in your body. Your arms, shoulders, core and legs are all involved when jumping rope which provides a more beneficial and productive workout than jogging on a treadmill. When you are running on the treadmill you do not have the added advantage of the shoulder and back workout.
Jumping rope requires your back and shoulder muscles to be involved as you pinch your shoulder blades together along with activating muscles in your lower back. Jump rope is also seen as a full body workout that can help tone your calves, improve your lung capacity, build stamina and even though it might not feel the same as a shoulder press your shoulders, biceps and triceps are all involved in jumping rope.
You will burn calories and fat much faster since muscle requires oxygen to produce energy, the more muscles involved in an activity, the more oxygen you need to bring into your body. That is why you tend to start breathing more heavily when inducing exercise. In simple terms jumping rope has more muscles involved which requires more fuel from your body and as such increases your heart rate and calorie consumption.
A study done at Arizona University divided 92 students into two groups, half of the group skipped rope for 10 minutes a day, the other half jogged 30 minutes a day. After 6 weeks the men were administered the Harvard step test to measure their cardiovascular gain.
Each group showed an equal level of improvement. This thus confirms that jump rope as a cardiovascular gaining exercise is more efficient than treadmill running as the same amount of cardiovascular gain was achieved in a third of the time.
Jumping rope is considered a low impact exercise. The definition of a low impact exercise is one that has a low impact on your joints. This very simple definition implies lower impact exercises have a lower risk of causing an injury. Jump rope as a lower impact exercise is generally used by athletes for recovery.
On the opposite side of the spectrum running is a high impact exercise. High impact exercises can actually put you at a higher risk of injury. Without proper running form your knees will end up screaming at you! Jump rope with proper form and rhythm tends to be easier on your knees and ankles as opposed to the pounding from running on a treadmill.
I will always advocate any form of exercise as opposed to a sedentary lifestyle. However, if you do consider high impact exercise such as treadmill running,. always ensure that you are taking adequate care of your joints to reduce the inevitable wear and tear.
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Skipping can burn on average upwards of a 1000 calories in an hour. However, running burns around an average of 600 calories in an hour. A person can run for an hour and burn around 500-600 calories, but skipping for an hour doesn’t sound ideal. In simple words, the easiest way to burn calories is running. But the most effective way to burn calories is skipping.
Why is jumping rope safer and more effective?
Jumping rope prevents the common forces you would be subject to with heel strike running by forcing you to land on the toes. Jumping ropes uses the untapped elastic energy in the calves and the combined power of the quads, hamstrings, glutes and core.
The following statistics were found on the Jump Rope Institute website founded in 1996 by former Olympian Buddy Lee. According to his site, “research has shown jumping rope for a minimum of five minutes a day can improve physical fitness, and when you do 10 minutes of non-stop jumping at 120 RPM’s, it can provide the same benefits as 30 minutes of jogging, 30 minutes of racquet and handball playing, 2 sets of tennis singles and 720 yards of swimming. This supports the findings of the aforementioned study.
How do I start jumping rope?
For beginners, a bearded rope will be your best option as it tends to hold it’s shape much longer and is simpler to control as opposed to a vinyl or lightweight cloth rope. Adjust the rope to the correct length by gripping the handles and standing on the rope.
The handles should be able to reach your armpits. Make sure you are wearing proper athletic shoes that you will be able to jump in with relative ease without losing your balance. You will need an area of about three to five foot, and 10 inches above your head. The jumping surface will also be vital! Avoid hard and uneven surfaces that can cause ankle injuries and high impact problems. Preferably you should try and use a wood floor, piece of plywood, or a yoga mat.
If you are like most people who haven’t touched a jump rope since your school days, jumping can be quite humbling. It demands and fosters a lot of coordination. Try to initially practice arm and foot movement separately. Practice your jumping without the rope until you develop rhythm and feel comfortable to put the two together. Remember to start at lower intensity and work your way up to increasing your jumping speed and ability gradually until you feel comfortable to push your intensity.
In my opinion the benefits of jump rope overshadow running. In reality it’s all about sustainability and preference. I would prefer jumping ropes over running as it is safer and more effective. Try adding a variety of jump rope into your training regime especially if you are doing any form of high intensity or circuit training work. Jump rope requires some rhythm and technique to get used to but once you have mastered the skill you will reap the rewards!