Jumping Rope Vs Walking: Risks, Calories, Muscle,…

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Jumping rope and walking both have their advantages and disadvantages. Find out what option is the best for what people and situations.

First of all, jumping rope will be a lot more effective than walking for burning a lot of calories and offering health benefits in a short amount of time.

It will also typically offer more endurance improvements in muscles like your calves and quadriceps (front thighs) than walking.

On the flip side, a valuable benefit of walking is that it is a low-impact exercise. The shocks your body experience are relatively small.

If jumping rope is too challenging on your ankles, knees, back, and/or heart and/or you have a few extra pounds to lose, walking can be the smarter choice anyway.

Injuries can reduce the time you can work out to 0 for multiple weeks.

As you strengthen your body and lose some weight with walking, you can consider switching over to jumping rope anyway.

DetailJumping RopeWalking
Calories Burned*293-439+ calories128-165+ calories
Muscles WorkedMostly Calves & Front Thighs
Upper Body Small Extent
Legs Small Extent
Injury RiskMediumLow
Busy Schedule FriendlyVery GreatGood
Budget RequiredVery LowVery Low
Complexity To DoMediumEasy
Summary jumping rope vs walking

*Approximation for a 155-pound (70 kg) person doing the exercise for 30 minutes

Calories burned jump rope vs walking

When comparing two cardiovascular exercises like jumping rope and walking many people are interested in how many calories you can burn with each activity.

You can find rough estimations of these jump rope and walking statistics below.

One important thing to note is that these are just rough predictions. In reality, the actual amounts can vary for you due to differences in details like body composition, hormone levels, and intensity.

Additionally, doing high-intensity workouts like jumping rope can cause something like afterburn. This is where you burn a few extra calories for a short time after you stop working out.

That being said, even though the estimations are not perfect, they do make it clear that jumping rope is a lot better than walking for burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time.

Calories burned while jumping rope

You can check out the article on how many calories jumping rope burns to figure out what details the calculation method takes into account, discover the numbers for different time intervals, and how to use more energy.

Weight Person
Slow Tempo
Rope Jumping
Moderate Tempo
Rope Jumping
Fast Tempo
Rope Jumping
125 Pounds (56 kg)236 calories295 calories354 calories
155 Pounds (70 kg)293 calories366 calories439 calories
185 Pounds (83 kg)350 calories437 calories524 calories
215 Pounds (97 kg)406 calories508 calories610 calories
Calories burned while jumping rope for 30 minutes at different intensities

Calories burned while walking

Similarly, the article on how many calories walking burns can offer you interesting details about the estimations below. The article also has predictions for different distances and time intervals.

Weight Person
(3 mph/4.8 kmh)
(3.5 mph/5.6 kmh)
(4 mph/6.4 kmh)
125 Pounds (56 kg)103 calories118 calories133 calories
155 Pounds (70 kg)128 calories146 calories165 calories
185 Pounds (83 kg)153 calories175 calories197 calories
215 Pounds (97 kg)178 calories203 calories229 calories
Calories burned walking for 30 minutes at different speeds

Jumping rope or walking for weight and fat loss

Many people think that you have to do specific exercises or eat certain foods to burn fat from specific areas.

That being said, to lose (belly) fat, you typically have to lose weight overall.

Cardiovascular exercises like jumping rope and walking mainly help with this by making you use up more energy (aka burn more calories).

In combination with the right habits in other lifestyle areas like diet, this extra calorie burning can lead to weight and fat loss.

Since jumping rope is a lot better than walking for burning calories, you can also consider it to be a lot better for weight loss.

At the same time, you do still want to keep some of the other comparison details in mind before choosing your weight loss workout.

Muscles worked jumping rope vs walking

As mentioned, jumping rope and walking are mainly cardiovascular exercises. At the same time, you do still work a few muscles to a certain extent to move your body.

Before describing these in detail, you have to know that these workouts are typically not challenging enough to actually cause any muscle growth.

On the flip side, jumping rope and walking could still improve endurance in your muscles, slow down their degradation, and make them healthier.

That being said, jumping rope will mostly work your calf and quadricep (front thigh) muscles.

Additionally, muscles like your glutes (butt), hamstrings (back thighs), hip flexors, deltoids (shoulders), and forearm muscles will have to work to a certain extent.

On the other hand, walking mostly works your glutes and hamstrings but only to a small extent.

In both activities, you could wear a weighted vest to engage your muscles more. If your body can deal with this, it could offer more muscle endurance improvements.

Jump ropes to build muscle

Jumping rope vs walking injury risk in knees and other areas

What exercises you should choose for your workout routine does not only depend on the calories you burn or the muscles you work.

Something else to consider is how hard jumping rope and walking are on your knees and other areas. If you get injured, the amount of exercise you can do may go to zero.

Jumping rope typically involves a higher injury risk than walking.

The most straightforward areas where this is the case are your ankles, knees, hips, and back.

However, you also want to keep in mind that your heart is a muscle.

For both of these categories, you want to make sure jumping rope is not too challenging.

People who have not worked out in a while and/or have a few pounds to lose want to be careful when trying out jumping rope.

It could be the case that you have to start with walking or other alternatives to jumping rope first to strengthen your body and lose a few pounds.

In short, the injury risk during walking is a lot lower than during jumping rope. How important this is to you depends on your personal situation.

Ease of implementation in your routine

To get the benefits of jumping rope and walking you still actually have to do the activities. This part can be challenging if you have a lot going on in your routine.

While walking could feel more awkward, you can do both activities while you are at home.

This is helpful in the sense that you can jump rope or walk (in place) in your free time blocks throughout the day. Even if these are only a few minutes at a time.

At the same time, you can definitely say that it takes longer to get in a good workout with walking than a good workout with jumping rope.

In that sense, jumping rope is easier to fit into your routine than walking.

Jumping Rope Vs Walking Risks, Calories, Muscle,...

Budget requirements jump rope vs walking

Investing in your health can be a great idea but sometimes you can get similar effects with less.

Jumping rope basically only requires a decent jump rope (although good shoes can be helpful too).

The same applies to walking. You likely barely have to invest in anything unless you still lack a good pair of shoes.

Your budget requirements for each activity will ultimately depend on what things you already have.

That being said, jumping rope and walking will generally be similar in this area.

Complexity to jump rope vs walking

There are exercises and activities that take some time and effort to learn. Some examples include certain kettlebell exercises like Turkish get-ups and activities like complicated dancing styles.

This learning period delays how fast you can start getting the full health benefits of the activities. Additionally, some people prefer to keep things simple.

Jumping rope is a bit more challenging than walking in this area.

If you are not used to exercises with coordination, you will likely initially hit the rope very often. Every time this happens you get a mandatory exercise break.

While you do get used to jumping rope over time, walking definitely has the upper hand in this area.

Which one is right for you?

To find out whether jumping rope or walking is the right choice for you, you have to weigh the differences in this article against each other.

If you are not injury-sensitive and want to burn the most calories and get the most health benefits in the shortest amount of time, jumping rope will likely be the best choice.

This activity also improves muscle endurance more than walking. Especially in your calves and quadriceps.

On the flip side, people who are new to working out and/or have a few extra pounds to lose may want to play it safe and start with walking.

Additionally, it can be helpful that you don’t have to go through an initial training period to get the full benefits of walking.

If you like the extra calorie-burning from jumping rope but don’t like the injury risk, you can also consider certain walking alternatives that are somewhat intense.

Lastly, keep in mind that your personal preference matters too. If you like your exercise routine, it becomes easier to stay consistent with it.

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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.