The Amazing Benefits Of Doing Jumping Jacks

Every time we turn around, it seems there's a new fitness fad on the rise, some new type of exercise or program meant to "revolutionize" fitness. But what if we told you one of the most beneficial exercises you can do is a tried and true staple from gym class? It's true. Jumping jacks actually have a surprisingly long list of benefits for your fitness and overall health.

There's a reason the jumping jack has been a staple of military training since around the time of World War I (via Femina). It increases stamina, builds muscle strength, increases lung capacity, boosts agility and speed, spurs weight loss, reduces stress, and even protects your bones from losing density and becoming brittle. According to Healthline, plyometric exercises like jumping jacks work by rapidly stretching the muscles and then quickly shortening them again as you jump. This is what not only builds the muscle, but also makes you more agile and able to move more quickly. And they burn some major calories! Just ten minutes of jumping jacks, even broken up over the course of a workout or a day, would burn about 94 calories.

And don't forget the benefits that type of full-body cardio can have on your health. Doing this type of exercise regularly increases your lung capacity, increases circulation, and reduces risk of heart disease and stroke. Further, jumping jacks can increase bone density and protect against diseases like osteoporosis by putting a healthy strain on the bones during the jumping and landing. They can even reduce stress and improve sleep quality by increasing endorphins. 

How to get the most out of your jumping jacks

While all of these benefits sure make jumping jacks seem like a top of mind choice for your next workout, it's important to keep a few things in mind to ensure you're doing the exercises correctly and safely. If you have joint injuries or other joint issues, jumping jacks may not be for you, as they can put a fair amount of strain on knees and ankles. If you're in pretty good health, there are a few ways to ensure you're getting the most out of the exercise.

First, it's important to warm up. Any intense exercise that will put demands on your muscles, joints, and cardiovascular system should be preceded by a warmup to prepare the body for exercise and prevent injury. Femina suggests starting with stretching and then doing 10-12 squats to get your thigh and leg muscles going. Then follow with 5-6 side and forward lunges on each side. A few high-knees may also be a good idea.

Once you're warmed up, it's important to get the technique and form down to ensure your joints are protected and you're getting the most benefits. In order to to the perfect jumping jack, start by standing straight with your legs together, back upright and arms to the sides of your body. Then bend your knees slightly, jump into the air and land with your legs landing shoulder-distance apart. As you do this, your arms should should move over your head, and then when you bring your legs together, bring your arms back down to your sides without your hands landing hard on the sides of your body. And repeat. The more reps, the greater the benefits. Femina suggests a beginner start with three sets of ten spaced out with other lower impact exercises and then working your way up gradually to 25-30 reps at a time. Happy jumping!