The Amount Of Calories You Burn Doing Jumping Jacks

Unless your workouts usually focus on bodyweight exercises, you probably haven't thought much about jumping jacks since high school P.E. classes. They're just not as appealing as a Zumba class. Jumping jacks are easier to work into a busy schedule, though, and it turns out that they burn roughly the same number of calories.

According to MyFitnessPal's calculator, people between 150 and 200 pounds burn around nine calories a minute with jumping jacks. MyFitnessPal also has a calculator for Zumba. People in the same weight range burn ten calories a minute in Zumba class. This small difference will add up over the course of an hour, but it doesn't make much difference if you're trying to squeeze a workout in before work or on your lunch break.

The actual number of calories burned per minute depends on a few things. The Mayo Clinic specifies that heavier people — whether the weight is muscle or fat — burn more calories than lighter people who perform the same activity. People with more muscle mass get an additional boost to their calorie burn even when resting, because muscle burns more calories than fat. If your muscle density drops as you age or reduce your workouts, the number of calories you burn will also decrease.

Are jumping jacks worth it?

Jumping jacks have their drawbacks, of course. (Just ask anyone who lives in an apartment.) Though most women have at least a passing grudge against them, thanks to years of gym class warm-ups, they have a whole lot of benefits too. Jumping jacks are part of an exercise group known as plyometric exercises — the National Academy of Sports Medicine describes plyometric exercises as short muscle contractions followed by explosive action. 

These exercises train an athlete's body to go from rest to action very quickly. Usually this results in someone running faster and jumping higher. But there are benefits for non-athletes too. A 2008 study from the Universiti Sains Malaysia found that jumping exercises helped strengthen bone density in female rats. A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion found jumping exercises had the same benefit in humans.

Increased bone density and a burn rate of nine calories per minute both go a long way to sprucing up the old jumping jack. Even better, they're easy to fit into just about any workout. You could add a round of jumping jacks to your HIIT routine. Or you could go old school and finish off your warm ups with a minute or two of jumping jacks before you take off for a run. Either way, you're getting an equipment-free boost to your workout.