Are Jumping Jacks Good For Weight Loss?

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Jumping jacks offer many benefits potentially including weight loss. Find out how it compares to other options and what to keep in mind.

To lose weight you need to use up more energy than is coming in from food. Since jumping jacks help you burn more calories than usual they have the potential to help you lose weight.

At the same time, you still need habits in other health areas like your diet that are good enough. Working out is no guarantee for losing weight.

That being said, if a 155-pound (70 kg) person is currently at a weight plateau and adds jumping jacks, they would have to do around 14,337 jumping jacks (358 minutes) to lose the number of calories in one pound of body fat.

Jumping jacks are helpful in that you don’t need any equipment, can do them at home, and can do them with only a few minutes of spare time.

On the flip side, you want to keep in mind that jumping jacks can be rough on body parts like your ankles, knees, hips, and lower back. Especially if you are carrying around a few extra pounds.

Can you lose weight by just doing jumping jacks?

It is true that exercise can help weight loss. At the same time, you need to know that it is not always possible to lose weight by just doing jumping jacks either.

To lose weight you need to get to a point where your body requires more energy (calories) than is coming in from food. When this happens, your body starts using energy stores like body fat to get the remaining needs.

So jumping jacks can help weight loss by making it more likely that you get in the state above or making the difference bigger.

At the same time, you need to have at least decent habits in other lifestyle areas. How many jumping jacks you need a day to lose weight depends a lot on these other habits.

That being said, let’s say you have a lifestyle routine that keeps you at the same weight and the only change you make is doing more jumping jacks. In that case, you could lose weight by just doing jumping jacks.

More specifically, a rough estimation is that a 155-pound person would have to do about 14,337 jumping jacks to lose the number of calories in one pound of body fat.

Calories burned with jumping jacks

To measure how effective jumping jacks are for losing weight and how they compare to other options you can use the estimations for how many calories each activity burns.

The following amounts are estimations for how many calories a 155-pound (70 kg) person burns by doing the activities below for 30 minutes (1).

  • Jumping jacks: 293 calories
  • Water Aerobics: 149 calories
  • Stretching (Hatha Yoga): 186 calories
  • Rowing, Stationary (moderate): 260 calories
  • Bicycling, Stationary (moderate): 260 calories
  • Elliptical Trainer (general): 335 calories
  • Running 5.2 mph: 335 calories
  • Jumping rope: 372 calories
  • Swimming (breaststroke): 372 calories

Keep in mind that these are rough estimations. In reality, how many calories jumping jacks burn also depends on details like your body composition, hormone levels, exact intensity, etc.

At the same time, they do give you an idea about how jumping jacks compare to other exercises in terms of weight loss results.

Do jumping jacks help you lose belly fat?

Something else to note is that losing weight does not always mean losing (belly) fat. There are a few steps before you can achieve this goal.

First of all, you have to get to the point described above where you need more energy than is coming in from food.

After that, you still need to use up other energy stores or get into a state where your body starts burning body fat for fuel.

And even if you get to this step, from what areas your body burns body fat first depends on things like your genes and how far you are in your weight loss journey.

This is generally not something you can influence in significant amounts with exercise or food choices.

In short, jumping jacks could help you lose belly fat.

However, whether this is the case depends on things like your other lifestyle habits, your other energy stores, the state of your body, your genes, and how far you are in your weight loss journey.

woman with flat belly

How long should you do jumping jacks to lose weight?

Again, assume you have lifestyle habits that keep you at the same weight and that your only change is doing more jumping jacks.

This is needed to give a rough estimation of how long you should do jumping jacks a week to lose weight

One pound of body fat is about 3500 calories (one kg +-8000).

That means a 155-pound (70 kg) person would have to do about 358 minutes of jumping jacks a week or 52 minutes a day to lose one pound of body fat per week.

To lose the number of calories in one pound in one month, the same person would only have to do 12 minutes of jumping jacks a day. Consistency helps a lot.

One thing to note is that these estimations only apply initially.

As time goes on, this individual will burn fewer calories with the same jumping jack workouts because they lost some weight. Unless they replace the weight with extra muscle.

person running as alternative to jumping jacks

Benefits of jumping jacks for weight loss

While there are many jumping jack benefits that deserve your attention, there are a few things that stand out in the context of a weight loss workout routine. Some of these include:

  • Jumping jacks do not require any equipment to do
  • You can do this exercise with only a few spare minutes
  • They burn nice amounts of calories
  • You can do jumping jacks inside with no worry about what the weather looks like

These benefits make jumping jacks a budget-friendly and easy-to-implement exercise.

Downsides to keep in mind

At the same time, you need to know that jumping jacks also have disadvantages.

The main one for people trying to lose weight is that jumping jacks can be rough on body parts like your ankles, knees, hips, and lower back. Especially with the extra weight from a few pounds of body fat.

This can potentially lead to injuries that reduce how much you can work out to 0.

Besides that, it is easier to do certain jumping jack alternatives like running at higher speeds. That means these other activities could help you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.

Should you do jumping jacks to lose weight?

Whether or not you should do jumping jacks to lose weight depends on details like how injury-sensitive you are, your personal preferences, and your budget.

Jumping jacks can be a helpful no-equipment exercise that you can easily fit in moments when you have a few spare minutes.

At the same time, there are other exercise options that can burn more calories and/or involve a lower injury risk.

If you like these and don’t mind investing in your health, these alternatives could be better choices for a weight loss exercise routine.

Lastly, you want to keep other lifestyle areas like your diet in mind. It is possible to do a lot of exercise and not lose any weight if you have suboptimal habits in these other areas.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.