When you decide to build your own workout routine, you will find yourself faced with various choices. There are a lot of different exercises, and you should look for the one which fits you the best. One of the pretty popular classical types of activity which gets the whole your body moving is the Jumping Jacks (Star Jumps).
This activity includes a combination of raising your arms above your head and jumping your feet out to the side. Jumping Jacks is an excellent exercise for reducing the risk of osteoporosis and obesity, increasing your stamina, improving your cardiovascular system, and maintaining fitness. Let’s try.
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What is Jumping Jack?
This type of exercise is well-known in the U.S. and Canada as Jumping Jacks. In the UK it is called Star Jumps. The US military practices this physical activity for decades and recognize it as a Side-Straddle Hop. Benefits of Jumping Jacks are multiple. It is an efficient total-body workout for almost everybody. Also, this type of activities is suitable for doing in many places, and you can exercise in the park, at home, and in the gym.
It works almost all your muscles (shoulder and abdominal muscles, gluteus, hip flexors, quadriceps), heart, and lungs on a practical and straightforward way. Plus, its influence on your metabolism and cardiovascular health is incredible. Can you believe that only 11 minutes of Jumping Jacks practicing during the day will help you stay healthy and fit?
How to Do Jumping Jacks
There are a few types of the Jumping Jacks, but basically, it is about four stages of exercise:
Step 1 – You should stand up as straight as you can. Put your hands down your body and place feet together.
Step 2 – While raising your arms above your head and back them to the side jump your feet out to the same side at the same time.
Step 3 – Jump back to the starting position. You should simultaneously put your feet back together and put your arms down again in one fluid motion.
Yes, that’s it. Unbelievable how three simple steps of the Jumping Jacks can influence all your body, right?
Step 4 – This step means that you should continue with the same motions for a while and do this exercise in minimum three sets.
Variations of Jumping Jacks
You can begin with a traditional type, but for advanced exercisers, there are more intensive versions of Jumping Jacks. Let’s see.
1 – Traditional Jumping Jacks – I have already described the basic exercising which includes four steps.
2 – Low-impact Jumping Jacks – Move your right foot out and try to reach toward the corner with the right arm. Bring them back to the center and step your left foot out and try to reach toward the other corner with your left arm. Finish the step with bringing them back to the center. Continue this low-impact motion alternately.
3 – Jumping Star Jacks – This is a variation when you create a star shape out of your arms and legs while simultaneously jumping up.
4 – Front claps Jumping Jacks – Stand straight and pinch back your shoulders. Extend your hands in front of your chest and put the feet close together. Jump with splitting legs apart. Bring the hands to your side and put them in line with your shoulders. Try to land as softly as you can on your feet with little-bent knees. Jump again and bring your hands and legs together approximately 20 times (one set). You need to do three sets.
5 – Squat Jumping Jacks – Do a few basic Jumping Jacks for a start. With wide legs apart, put yourself lower into a squat position. Continue with jumping your feet in and out while your hands are placed behind your head.
6 – Rotational Jumping Jacks – This great variation will increase the intensity of your exercising. Stand straight with your hands at your chest and put your feet together. Jump up and immediately land feet in a squatting position. While landing, rotate the upper body at the waist and simultaneously try to reach the floor with your left hand. In the same time, your right hand should be raised up. Jump back into the starting position and repeat the exercise on the other side.
7 – Plank Jumping Jacks – Begin with your feet next to each other and hands under the shoulders while you are in a plank position. Jump the feet out making a full ‘V’. Jump them back in the start position. Repeat as many jumps as possible in 30 seconds. It is pretty tough, right? Don’t give up! Think about all the benefits.
8 – Power Jacks – It is pretty similar to Jumping Jacks. You just need to jump as high as possible and squat as low as you can during each repetition. The video shows 20 jumping jacks variations.
Positive Health Benefits of Jumping Jacks
1 – Muscle stretching – Jumping Jacks makes you capable of jumping higher and running faster after a while because your muscles rapidly extend (eccentric phase) and shorten (concentric phase) in a short period. Jumping Jacks will help you activate various muscles including:
- Hip abductors and adductors– muscles in the outer thighs and the inner region of your thighs (from hips to knees)
- Calves– muscles at the back of your lower legs.
- Shoulder abductors and adductors– muscles which allow you to move arms sideways and to bring them back close to your body
- Core– back and core muscles
2 – Cardio exercise – Jumping Jack is a fantastic aerobic cardio exercise. It gives you an opportunity to stimulate your heart muscles and bring more oxygen to your body by forcing your heart to work extra hard. Additionally, it leads to increasing the amount of oxygenated blood which comes to your cells while blood with carbon dioxide faster exits from the cells.
3 – Weight regulation – Regular Jumping Jacks practicing will help you to maintain the desired body weight. Do you know how many calories do Jumping Jacks burn? Believe me or not, you can burn off approximately 170 – 200 calories if you do 100 Jumping Jacks a day. These cardio exercises will help you burn all these calories when the number of calories you have consumed is lower than the energy you have expended.
4 – Losing belly fat – If you practice moderate-intensity exercise regularly along wise caloric intake, you can expect to reduce extra belly fat after a certain period. You can have a thin waist again!
5 – Improving flexibility – Jumping Jacks will help you improve your flexibility which is extremely important if you sit for a long time during your working day and don’t have many other physical activities in life.
6 – Strengthening the bones – Jumping Jacks is the perfect exercise which will reduce the risk of osteoporosis and make your bones stronger because your bones bend with each jumping motion which forces development of new bone cells.
7 – Improving coordination – Jumping Jacks will help you to improve the coordination of your limb movements. Consequently, you can expect better coordination between your brain and limbs which means that you will develop a better sense of balance, rhythm, and timing.
8 – Other benefits for your body – If you practice Jumping Jacks on a regular basis, you can feel even more benefits including:
- Reducing high blood pressure
- Increasing possible insulin sensitivity
- Increasing HDL (the ‘good’ cholesterol)
- Reducing LDL (the ‘bad’ cholesterol)
9 – Stress relief – Jumping Jacks will help you with stress relief for sure because jumping will stimulate your brain to release Serotonin, ‘the hormone of happiness’ and Adrenalin, the hormone which will make you excited. Both of them will reduce your stress level.
10 – Prevention of heart attack – Keep in mind that over 250,000 people in the U.S die of a heart attack every year. This cardio exercise should be a part of your daily fitness routine as prevention of heart diseases.
11 – Reducing risk of various health conditions – Jumping Jacks will help you reduce the risk of many health issues including:
- Metabolic syndrome
- Some kind of cancer (for example, there is a possibility of reducing the development of colon cancer by 40%)
12 – An exercise for warming-up – Jumping Jacks can be an excellent warming-up exercise before you begin your workout routine. It will help you relax your muscles, and after 25-30 repetitions, you will be ready for your favorite activities.
13 – An alternative type of exercise – Jumping Jacks can be a practical alternative to riding a bike or stationary bike. It is even better because this activity helps you move your body out of its usual plane of motion.
14 – Work out your body – While you practice Jumping Jacks, you work the whole your body out including all muscles, heart, lungs, brain, bones, and so on. It is a marvelous and complete body workout.
15 – Fun – Jumping Jacks is an extra fun exercise.
Safety Tips for Doing Jumping Jacks
- Warm up before starting to exercise and cool down after you finish every set.
- Use athletic sneakers and avoid boots, heeled shoes, and sandals while practicing.
- Exercise on a flat surface including rubber or grass. Try to avoid asphalt and cement.
- Consider changing the speed of exercising due to prevent injuries.
- Choose a variation of Jumping Jacks which suits you the most.
- Stop the session if you feel unusual pain.
Possible Risks of Jumping Jacks
Before starting with Jumping Jacks, check your condition. You should talk to your doctor before you make your final decision, especially if you are pregnant or have any disease. Jumping Jacks is a type of exercise with a high risk of injury. If you have any muscle injuries or injury to the joints, talk with your physiatrist to check if this activity is appropriate for you.
Jumping Jacks is entirely safe for children, adolescents, and adults, but it is not safe for a pregnant woman.
There are too many benefits to Jumping Jacks. While you exercise, you will improve your health, build your body, successfully fight stress, and become more happy and satisfied. Plus, you will lose your weight! Keep in mind that, depending on your current weight, you need to do 100 Jumping Jacks a day to burn anywhere between 100 and 200 calories. It is just 11 minutes a day! Try it. It is worth the little bit of effort!