Do Jumping Jacks Burn Fat?

by William McCoy, Demand Media
    Jumping jacks are a simple way to burn calories to lose fat.

    Jumping jacks are a simple way to burn calories to lose fat.

    When you're tired of peering over the spare tire around your waist to check the reading on your bathroom scale, make the commitment to yourself to improve your body through exercise. The exercises you add to your fat-burning workout don't have to be complicated; think back to your elementary school years and try some jumping jacks to get results.

    Calories and Fat

    Even the most novice fitness enthusiast likely knows that working out helps you burn calories, but an understanding of the connection between calories and fat is useful if you want to tackle your weight-loss workout with as much information as possible in your arsenal. To burn 1 pound of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you consume in any given period. MayoClinic.com recommends breaking down your exercise into daily goals; for example, burn 500 extra calories per day to lose 1 pound per week.

    Jumping Jacks and Calories Burned

    The factors that play a role in determining how many calories you burn during a set of jumping jacks are your weight and the speed and length of your workout. According to HealthStatus, a 180-pound person who performs jumping jacks at a moderate pace for 30 minutes will burn 183 calories. If the same person can maintain a vigorous pace for the same length of time, she'll burn 329 calories.

    Other Aerobic Exercises

    Jumping jacks won't help you burn calories to lose fat as quickly as some exercises, but they're far from being ineffective. A 180-pound person who spends 30 minutes playing basketball, cycling between 12 and 14 miles per hour, running at 5 miles per hour or walking at 3 miles per hour will burn 448, 356, 345 or 178 calories, respectively, according to HealthStatus. To create variety in your workouts, blend jumping jacks with other aerobic exercises or create a circuit-training workout that includes jumping jacks. Circuit training, notes Bodybuilding.com, is an effective way to burn fat. Typical circuit training combines short bursts of aerobic exercise with short periods of strength training.

    Sample Workout

    Although you can perform jumping jacks at a relaxed pace during commercial breaks while watching TV, creating a more vigorous workout will help you burn calories faster. For an intense jumping jacks workout, jump for 10 seconds, take a 10-second break, jump for 20 seconds, take a 20-second break, jump for 30 seconds and take a 30-second break. Immediately after the break, repeat the exercises in reverse, starting with a 30-second jump. This type of pattern is known as a pyramid and provides an intense cardio workout. Perform three complete sets of the pyramid.

    About the Author

    Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as health, nutrition and sports. He has spent much of his career in community news, including at "Nepean This Week" newspaper, and has written for "Canadian Sports Collector" magazine. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.

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