Jump rope and treadmill workouts have tremendous physical advantages. Both are cardio activities that raise the heart rate, get blood pumping, warm up the body and successfully burn calories. However, each also has distinct advantages that the other can’t boast, so choose the exercise that's best suited for your personality and needs.
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Jump rope and treadmill running both provide physical and mental benefits. They have the potential to help people sleep better, boost daily energy levels, elevate mood and reduce risks of osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer and high cholesterol as well as obesity and overweight. Both exercises also target and tone leg muscles. However, jump rope improves balance more than treadmill work does, and treadmill routines are likely better for building endurance because they stretch over longer periods than short, ballistic rope-jumping sessions.
When it comes to calorie burn, jumping rope edges treadmill work. A 200-pound person burns about 910 calories with an hour of jump rope and 820 calories per hour while running on a stair treadmill. If the treadmill is not inclined and the person is walking or slowly jogging instead of running, the calorie burn is less.
Weight loss requires burning more calories than you take in on a consistent basis. With that in mind, jumping rope is more effective than treadmill work for burning fat and taking off pounds. However, weight loss involves a number of other factors, particularly healthy, low-calorie eating. Pairing regular treadmill workouts with a balanced eating plan, such as Harvard School of Public Health's Healthy Eating Plate, which includes recommended daily servings of nonfat dairy, lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, is likely to be more effective than jump rope workouts without a companion eating plan.
Although jumping rope burns more calories than treadmill routines over the same period, most people can't jump rope for longer than a few minutes at a time because it’s a higher-impact activity than jogging, requires more energy and puts more stress on the body. For that reason, people who are at beginning or intermediate fitness levels may prefer the milder pace and versatility of the treadmill.
Neither jump rope nor treadmill running is an adequate substitute for a complete exercise routine. The American Council on Exercise recommends weekly sessions of strength training and flexibility in addition to aerobics for the best health and weight-loss results. When choosing which activity to include in your fitness routine, pick the exercise you enjoy doing most or consider balancing both activities.