Doing jumping jacks can offer valuable benefits but like most exercises, they have disadvantages too. Find out which ones.
Something important to note first is that some aspects of an exercise can be an advantage for some people and a disadvantage for others.
In the case of jumping jacks, the main potential disadvantages will be that they are high-impact, can be awkward to do at high speeds, can be uncomfortable on your shoulders, and that some people simply don’t like them.
However, while the high-impact aspect can mean ankle and knee injuries for people who are not used to exercising, it can also mean more strengthening in these areas for others.
Are jumping jacks bad?
Like most exercises, jumping jacks have both pros and cons.
Something else that makes it hard to answer this question with yes or no is that two different people can get completely different effects from the same exercise.
The way many body parts like your muscles, joints, and bones work is that putting them under safe amounts of pressure can lead to strengthening over time.
However, what safe amounts exactly mean can vary.
The knees of someone who is 20 years old and is used to working out 5 times a week will be a lot stronger and be able to deal with a lot more compared to a 60-year-old person who has been relatively inactive for 20 years.
For the 20-year-old, one of the benefits of jumping jacks is that it can lead to more knee, other joint, spine, and back strengthening than something like walking.
For the 60-year-old, jumping jacks could be too much and in turn bad for the same body parts.
So jumping jacks are not necessarily bad for everyone. At the same time, some people will want to start with and/or do other exercises.
4 Potential disadvantages of jumping jacks
To figure out whether doing jumping jacks would be a good choice for you or not, it can be helpful to learn about the potential disadvantages. You can see whether these apply to you and to what extent.
1. Jumping jacks are relatively high impact
Jumping jacks are basically a movement where you jump between two stances. Due to these, it is considered to be a high-impact exercise.
In simpler words, jumping jacks can potentially be too challenging on your ankles, knees, hips, and back due to the extra shocks.
For people who are relatively new to exercise and/or are carrying around a few extra pounds, this can definitely be a disadvantage of jumping jacks.
Again, the high-impact aspect can also lead to more strengthening if you don’t overdo it, eat enough nutrients, and rest enough.
2. Jumping jacks can be more awkward to do than alternatives
One disadvantage that applies to everyone is that jumping jacks can be somewhat awkward to do at high speeds compared to other options.
When training cardiovascular health, it tends to be helpful to go to speeds where you get out of breath.
If the arm movements of jumping jacks make this inconvenient, you could miss out on training results which is a disadvantage.
Instead, jumping jack alternatives like running, jumping rope, cycling, etc. may align more with your cardiovascular training goals.
3. Can be uncomfortable on your shoulders
The shoulder joints are one of the most common areas where injuries happen. Jumping jacks are not necessarily bad for your shoulders.
However, some people will find the movement uncomfortable in this area. Especially if they already have existing shoulder challenges.
4. You may enjoy other options more
This next potential disadvantage of jumping jacks is subjective but it is something to keep in mind.
Only looking at the health benefits of exercises is typically not a smart thing to do. A big part of a good workout routine is being consistent with it.
If you really don’t like doing jumping jacks, your exercise sessions may not only become less enjoyable. You may skip out more often too.
In turn, this could make you miss out on the valuable benefits of moving more often.
Who should potentially not do jumping jacks
As briefly mentioned, some types of people should potentially not do jumping jacks, at least not in very big amounts at high speeds. Some of these include:
- Complete exercise beginners
- Obese people
- People with shoulder issues
- Old people who do not recover well
- People who really don’t like jumping jacks
Even for these people, not doing jumping jacks is not always the answer.
At the same time, if you are in one of these categories, you may want to pass on jumping jacks or at least start with other exercises first until the potential disadvantages apply to a lesser extent.
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Jumping jacks typically do not cause muscle loss. In fact, engaging your muscles tends to benefit preservation. A potential exception would be doing jumping jacks at a high speed in combination with a really low-calorie diet.
As long as you don’t overdo it, jumping jacks tend to be good for your heart. Engaging body parts to safe extents, eating enough nutrients, and resting enough tend to make the body parts stronger.
Jumping jacks can be bad for your knees if you overdo it. People who are not used to exercise and carry around a few extra pounds may want to avoid jumping jacks for now. On the flip side, if your knees can handle them, jumping jacks could actually lead to more strengthening in this area.