The biggest muscles in the human body reside within the legs—the gluteus maximus or booty, as most know it, and the quadriceps take a close second. These big muscles require more oxygen than any others, and the only way they can get oxygen is through blood. The heart pumps the blood to the legs and speeds up as the legs require more and more, and even more fuel. One jump, even a centimeter off the ground, will push the heart rate up and stimulate corresponding systems within the body.
Jumping is a basic movement with a few dozen variations. One basic jump can burn 0.1 calorie, so imagine what 100 jumping jacks, 20 squat jumps, or 10 minutes of jumping rope can do.
Not only can jumping increase the heart rate, and therefore the metabolic rate, and burn a significant amount of calories in little time, it can also strengthen bones. Putting body-weight resistance on the legs requires them to work harder to maintain support. Pushing off the ground and coming back down for a landing increases the body weight impact through gravity, so the jumper reaps more benefits than, say, a walker or stationary workout participant.
Earlier this year, researchers put two groups of women between the ages of 25 and 50 years old through either 10 jumps or 20 jumps daily. The latter group’s bone mineral density tested significantly higher than the group of women who jumped only half as much. Conclusion: jumping is good for the bones.
Everything in Moderation
Simply because something is “good for you” doesn’t mean it has to be done all the time or in ridiculous quantities. To gauge limitations and necessity of exercise, let’s look at personal goals first:
- Health and Safety: for people who are overweight, jumping should be limited in terms of height and quantity, and require longer rest periods between jumps or sets.
- Maintenance: for people looking to maintain current body strength and tone, jumping could be limited to body-weight resistance, heights less than 5 inches off the ground, and no more than a few seconds in between jumps.
- Training: for people working toward a goal, including 5k runs, increased sprint times, higher muscle capacity, decreased body fat, increased jump heights as well as overall stability, jumps should be varied with height, equipment, and performed daily in alternating quantities.
From a basic jump to double-unders to box jumps, even single leg hops, pushing yourself into the air with purpose and control can offer so many benefits. Jumping recruits the abdominal muscles, lungs, and central nervous system. Jumping will blast calories by turning up the heart rate with a 0-to-60 style. For women, it is so important to build, maintain, and protect strong bones at an early age. But it’s never too late to jump. So, are you going to fly today?
Contributed by Amanda
Amanda is a wife, mother, exercise and wellness enthusiast, and freelance writer and editor. When she’s not chasing her toddler, you can find her in the gym, voluntarily putting herself through high intensity, muscle-shaking, heavy lifting, one-more-rep kind of workouts. As a Les Mills GRIT Series instructor, Amanda coaches small teams of motivated men and women to achieve increased levels of fitness and body awareness. But she is a student first and foremost—always learning and researching the latest fitness trends, which she shares right her on Strong Is Our Sexy.