Whether you're stuck inside on a rainy day or simply looking to avoid the gym, jumping jacks are an easy option for an equipment-free workout. Jumping jacks can quickly boost your pulse rate while strengthening your legs and arms. All you need is a few feet of space and a little motivation.
Start with your arms at your sides and feet together. Keep your knees slightly bent. As you jump, spread your legs apart while raising your arms to the side and up over your head. Make sure to land on the balls of your feet. Jump again and bring your legs together and arms down in one single motion. During aerobic activity such as jumping jacks, its important to breathe deeply. Focus on breathing in through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth. If you're just starting out, try to do as many jumping jacks as you can in 60 seconds. As you progress, add 10 seconds at a time. Set a goal of doing 15 minutes of jumping jacks five days a week.
Jumping jacks are a form of aerobic exercise. This type of exercise immediately boosts your heart rate, increases oxygen flow and burns calories. Doing aerobic exercises on a regular basis can boost your mood, strengthen your heart, help with weight loss and decrease your risk of developing many chronic diseases. As an added bonus, jumping jacks also strengthen your arms and legs which can help you prevent injuries.
Target Heart Rate
Jumping jacks raise your pulse which strengthens your heart. To find your target heart rate, first calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. The result is the recommended maximum heart beats per minute for a healthy person your age who is exercising. Be sure to consult your doctor if you have any conditions that could affect your heart rate. Multiply your maximum heart rate by 0.5. This is the minimum number of beats your heart should be beating per minute when you are exercising at a moderate level. Multiply your maximum heart rate by 0.7. This is the minimum number of beats your heart should be beating per minute when you are exercising at a vigorous level. To measure your pulse while you are exercising, stand still for 15 seconds and count the number of times your heart beats. Multiply this number by four to find out the number of beats per minute. Set a goal of doing at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity.
To add intensity to your jumping jacks and give your pulse and extra boost, you can incorporate dumbbells. Start with a two-pound dumbbell in each hand. Jump and spread your legs apart while raising your weights up into a V-shape. Jump again and bring your feet together as you lower the weights to your sides. Aim for 30 repetitions total. This move will help to strengthen your shoulders, abs and legs while also boosting your heart rate. Remember to avoid holding your breath. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
Elizabeth Peterson has been a reporter since 2005, working in television, radio and online. Specializing in health and environmental coverage, she has contributed to MSNBC and several local affiliates. Peterson earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.