Jumping Rope vs. Running

In our Fitness Bootcamps and in our TRX + Rope classes you do a lot of jumping rope, so we frequently hear the question – why? Why do we jump rope at Pura Vida Urban Fitness, and is it more effective than running?

So first, why?

  1. Space – we don’t have a full track or the space for a fleet of treadmills. Jumping rope is an excellent stationary exercise. As a 5’7″ person, I only need about 20 square feet to jump rope in.
  2. Posture – jumping rope promotes good posture. You use the muscles of your core to hold an upright position. It’s hard to jump rope while stooped over and you’ll tire quickly if you don’t have proper form. That’s one of the reasons it’s so easy to improve with practice – you’ll relearn how to stand and how to jump (and perhaps more importantly, how to land in order to best absorb shock).
  3. A full body workout – sure you can feel it burning in your legs, but you probably also noticed that your arms are starting to burn as well. Jumping rope improves strength from your feet through your cervical spine.
So if you’re on your own, which should you be doing? Jumping rope or running? It depends… jumping rope and running are both weight bearing exercise, so they are both good for bone health. They both challenge your cardiovascular system and help to develop strong leg muscles. Calorie-wise, in most cases, jumping rope burns fewer calories than running – if you are a 160lb person who can run at a 7.5 min mile for an hour you will burn 986 calories; whereas, that same person would burn 730 calories jumping rope at a moderate pace. However, most people I know, don’t go out and run 7.5 minute miles for an hour or jump rope for an hour. A more realistic comparison might be 30 minutes running at a pace of 6mph (10 minute mile) – 380 calories – versus 30 minutes of moderate rope jumping – 360 calories. But you’re probably not going to jump rope for 30 minutes (at least not at 1st), so if you’re basing your decision solely on calories, go with running – unless… you run slower than a 10 minute mile and can jump at a moderate to high pace.
But would I recommend you choose only based on calories? Nope. I would recommend you also think about the advantages discussed earlier (including posture and the ability to get in a full body workout) and…
  1. Do what you enjoy most.
  2. Switch them up to break up workout monotony. Jump rope when you’re sick of running around in circles in Prospect Park.
  3. Do what you have space/time to do. Sometimes a quick jump rope session can be more efficient than going out for a run. Doing something is better than doing nothing.
  4. If you aren’t particularly good at jumping rope (yet). It can sometimes be hard to get your pace up – keep working on those jump rope “sprints” but get in some interval runs on the side.
When it comes to comparing different paces and different times (am I running fast enough? am I jumping long enough?) deciding what to do can be difficult. Don’t sweat it! Keep things simple and fun – do the exercise that you find most appealing. We’re hoping to get in some real life testing this weekend – we’ll let you know how it goes!
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