Jumping rope vs running: Which is better for weight loss?

Jumping rope vs running: Both exercises are known to build strong bones, strengthen muscles, and maintain a healthy weight. But is one better than the other?
jumping rope vs running
Find out which exercise is better to lose weight! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Aayushi Gupta Published: 4 Jun 2024, 10:30 am IST
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Both running and jumping rope are part of cardiovascular exercises, as these exercises elevate heart rate, burn calories, manage weight, and prevent heart disease. Among the myriad of cardio exercises available, running and jumping rope stand out as the most common and accessible choices. While some people enjoy the freedom and fresh air of running outdoors, others prefer the comfort of jumping rope at home. The decision on which exercise you want to incorporate into your routine depends on you. However, when it comes to weight loss, is one exercise more effective than the other? Jumping rope vs running: Know the differences to choose the best one for weight loss.

Pros and cons of running

Running is a high-impact cardiovascular exercise that involves moving at a rapid pace. It can be performed outdoors or on a treadmill and requires minimal equipment, making it one of the easiest exercises for most people. Running engages major muscle groups, including the legs, core, and arms, and is an effective way to improve cardiovascular fitness, burn calories, and strengthen bones and muscles. Know its pros and cons.

Pros

1. Promotes cardiovascular health

Running strengthens the heart and improves blood circulation, which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack. Running for even 5–10 minutes a day is associated with a reduced risk of death caused by all causes, reveals a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. It helps maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, promoting overall heart health.

2. Boosts weight loss

Running is an effective way to burn calories and can aid in weight loss or maintenance. It boosts the metabolism, helping the body burn calories more efficiently even at rest. In fact, running is a better exercise than walking when it comes to weight loss, found a study published by Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

Woman running
Running is a great exercise for weight loss. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

3. Improves mental health

Running releases endorphins, often referred to as runner’s high, which enhance mood and reduce the risk of stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression. This exercise is one of the best and most natural ways to improve mental health and emotional resilience.

Also read: 5 exercises you can do twice a day for weight loss

4. Strengthens muscles and bones

Running engages various muscle groups, particularly in the legs and core, leading to increased strength and toned muscles. Additionally, the impact of running stimulates bone growth and can improve bone density, reducing the risk of bone-related problems such as osteoporosis.

5. Enhances immune system

Running regularly can help build endurance and stamina in your body. This can boost the immune system, making the body more efficient at fighting various illnesses. “Even moderate running has been shown to reduce the risk of common colds and other minor infections,” explains fitness expert Jashan Bhumkar.

6. Helps you sleep faster

Engaging in regular physical activity such as running can help regulate sleep patterns, leading to better quality sleep. It helps to tire the body and mind, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. A study published in the journal Cureus found that regular exercise, such as running, can help improve sleep quality and duration.

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Also read: Best running shorts for women: 7 comfortable picks

Cons

1. High-impact running can put stress on joints, particularly the knees and hips, which can be problematic for people with pre-existing joint conditions.
2. Running, especially on hard surfaces, can lead to injuries such as shin splints, a runner’s knee, and stress fractures. Make sure the surface is not very hard and you are not overtraining.

Pros and cons of jumping rope

Jump rope exercise involves repeatedly jumping over a rope that’s swung over the body and under the feet. It is a high-intensity cardiovascular workout that strengthens the heart muscles, burns calories, enhances bone density, increases endurance, and relieves stress. You can perform this exercise anywhere, just with the help of a jump rope. Know the pros and cons of jumping rope.

Pros

1. Heart-friendly exercise

Jumping rope is the best cardio exercise as it elevates your heart rate, making it an excellent cardiovascular workout. “It strengthens the heart, improves circulation, and enhances overall cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke,” according to Bhumkar.

jumping rope for weight loss
Jumping rope is one of the most effective exercises! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Burns calories

This high-intensity exercise burns a significant number of calories in a short amount of time. In fact, when combined with a calorie-reduction diet, jumping rope helps shed excess weight and manage your body weight, according to a study published by Nutrients.

3. Enhances bone density

Your bone density decreases as you age but jumping rope stimulates bone growth and helps maintain bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and improving overall bone health. It can also help to tone your calves and tighten your core. A study published by Public Library of Science One found that regular skipping may increase bone density at the lower extremities, irrespective of your overall workout routine.

4. Increases endurance

Jumping rope is one of the most effective exercises because it strengthens the muscles and improves stamina and endurance levels. “Regularly jumping rope can boost endurance levels, allowing you to sustain physical activity for longer periods without fatigue,” says Bhumkar. This can improve your overall workout performance.

5. Relieves stress

Like any form of physical activity, jumping rope exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. It can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, promoting mental well-being.

Cons

1. The repetitive impact of jumping can strain the joints, particularly the knees and ankles. This can lead to an increased risk of injury if not done properly or if pre-existing conditions are present.
2. It is essential that you keep your posture right while jumping a rope. Otherwise, it can give you back pain or an injury to your leg or any other part of your body.

Jumping rope vs running: Which one is a better exercise?

Jumping rope and running are both excellent exercises, each with many benefits. On one hand, jumping rope is a high-intensity exercise that improves cardiovascular health, burns calories, and enhances bone density. On the other hand, running, particularly at a moderate pace, enhances cardiovascular endurance and muscle tone, and is more accessible for sustained periods, which can aid long-term weight management. However, “jumping rope burns more calories per minute than running. So, for weight loss, jumping rope is a better exercise compared to running. But running is a better choice for those who prefer longer, steady-state cardio and can be easier on the joints with proper technique and good footwear,” says Bhumkar.

Ultimately, which one is a better exercise for you depends on your personal preference, fitness goals, and endurance.

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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