Jumping jacks are a cardiovascular exercise that can burn a large number of calories and fat, increase your heart rate and strengthen your heart muscle. By wearing ankle or wrist weights and increasing your weight load, you add resistance to the activity; thus, turning a 100-jumping-jack routine into a strength-training regimen. Weight-bearing exercises typically burn fat and calories but also build and tone muscle.
Doing moderate jumping jacks burns approximately 2.6 calories per minute if you weigh 100 pounds and 5.4 calories per minute if you weigh 200 pounds. Adding 3 pounds to your workout burns an additional 0.08 calories. So doing a 10-minute set of moderate jumping jacks burns 26 to 50 calories without added weight and 26.8 to 54.8 calories after 10 minutes with an extra 3 pounds of weight.
Disadvantages to Adding Weights
You may be able to burn slightly more calories using wrist or ankle weights, but using them poses serious concerns. Dr. Anthony Luke, of the University of California in San Francisco, says that weighing down your wrists and ankles while engaging in aerobic activity can put excess strain on your joints. Ankle weights can alter your gait and may cause you to lose your balance, fall and get hurt.
How to Burn More Calories
If you want to burn more calories and don’t want to do it by adding weights to the activity, consider interval training. Interval training refers to alternating 1 to 3 minute bursts of high-intensity activity with intervals of ordinary activity. So instead of a 10-minute set of jumping jacks, insert 3-minute bursts of high-intensity jumping jacks into a 30-minute moderately intense walking or jogging routine. Interval training can burn more calories than can regular cardio activity.
To get your recommended amount of strength training exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine suggests doing eight to 10 weight-lifting exercises, with eight to 12 repetitions each, at least twice a week. You can work out two or three different muscle groups a day, but avoid working out the same muscle groups two days in a row; otherwise, you don’t give your muscles enough time to recover.