From boot camp classes to circuit training, jumping jacks are showing up in many hardcore workouts. The trend of doing back-to-basics calisthenics reflects the philosophy of multitasking. Many vigorous calisthenics, including jumping jacks, do more than burn calories. They function as cardiovascular, strengthening and stress-relieving exercises. Make jumping jacks part of a daily or weekly fitness plan and modify them to meet your fitness goals.
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The primary benefit from doing jumping jacks is that it elevates your heart rate. You breathe more deeply while jumping, which delivers oxygen to your bloodstream and ultimately to your muscles. You burn fat at a rapid rate, promoting weight loss. If you weigh 130 lbs. and do vigorous jumping jacks or other calisthenics, you burn 472 calories per hour. If you weight 155 lbs. you burn 563 calories per hour, if you weigh 180 lbs. you burn 654 calories, and if you weigh 205 lbs. you burn 745 calories.
Jumping jacks provide a full-body workout. You move all of your large muscle groups. Breathe deeply to engage your core so that you target your abdominal muscles as well. You can modify jumping jacks to make them a more intense muscle-building activity. After jumping with your feet wide, instead of returning to a standing position, assume a deep squat to target your calf, thigh, gluteal and abdominal muscles. Keep your pace as brisk as possible to maintain the aerobic benefits of doing jumping jacks.
Doing jumping jacks for an extended period sparks a chemical effect in your body. You release endorphins, which act as pain relievers and give you a sense of well-being, In addition, the deep breathing you do while exercising vigorously clears your mind, sharpens your focus and energizes you. To maximize the stress relief power of doing jumping jacks, maintain an elevated heart rate for at least 20 minutes. If you cannot do jumping jacks the whole time, alternate between jumping jacks and marching in place.
Jumping jacks fit perfectly into an interval training session. Do a one-minute session of jumping jacks or other calisthenics to spike your heart rate before you slow down to a recovery rate for up to one minute. Your heart rate will stay elevated during the recovery period, continuing a high-level of fat-burning and improving your stamina. Use jumping jacks to make moderate exercise more challenging. For example, walk briskly for five minutes, do jumping jacks for one minute and return to walking. Repeat this cycle throughout your walk.