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Jump Rope vs. Running: Differences and Benefits

Jump Rope vs. Running: Differences and Benefits

If you have ever wondered which is the better workout, jump rope vs. running, keep reading. Both forms of exercise work sets of muscles and engage you in cardio exercise. However, they each have unique characteristics that set them apart. We’ve broken down their comparison based on calories, levels of cardio, exertion on the body, and weight loss. At the end of this article, you’ll be able to make a confident decision for which is best for you based on your exercise goals and preferences. 

Jump Rope vs. Running: Calories

Calorie count per step in stairwell
Image by Canva Photos

When it comes to calories, jump rope more resembles a HIIT workout. It’s a fast-paced, high-intensity workout that allows you to burn significant calories in a short span of time. Running can be done at a slower or faster pace depending on your mileage and time per mile. You must run at a reasonably fast pace to reap the same benefits of high-intensity jump roping for a shorter time. 

For example, 10 minutes of rope jumping at a consistent pace roughly equals 30 minutes of jogging. 

  • The average person will burn about 136 calories after 10 minutes of jumping rope. 
  • In contrast, that same person would burn about 90 calories jogging at a 12-minute mile pace. 

All in all, using a jump rope burns more calories in a shorter amount of time than jogging. 

Winner: Jump Rope

Jump Rope vs. Running: Cardio Endurance

Man running up hill for cardio endurance training
Image by Canva Photos

As previously mentioned, jumping rope works similarly to a HIIT workout. It’s high intensity for short stretches of time, allowing you to burn more calories faster. However, because of the fast and intense nature of exercising by jumping rope, it does little to increase your cardio endurance. For this, you want an exercise that forces your lungs to work hard for an extended time. Running is an activity that is far better suited if you want to increase your endurance. You can focus your attention on increasing your pace and distance with each workout. You can even supplement your long runs with the occasional jump rope workout to help strengthen your muscles. 

Winner: Running

Jump Rope vs. Running: Knees and Joints

Older Man using Jump Rope for Ease on Knees
Image by Antonio Diaz / Canva Photos

If you’ve ever heard of runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, or shin splints, you’ll know that running takes a toll on your body over time. Each step you take while on a run puts a tremendous amount of pressure on your joints, particularly your knees. Having proper shoes and taking periodic breaks from running help curb these injuries somewhat. Still, most people can avoid them entirely by choosing a lower impact form of cardio. Jumping rope could be a solution for you. Make sure you’re jumping rope using proper form. Use a slightly thicker and heavier rope to learn the basic movements before upgrading to a speed rope. While jumping rope, you want your jumps to be higher than the height of the rope itself barely. This allows you to jump rope faster and have a higher intensity workout without putting strain on your joints. 

Winner: Jump Rope

Jump Rope vs. Running: Weight Loss

Jump Rope and yoga mat piled together
Image by Aliaksandr Barysenka / Canva Photos

When you jump rope, you’re doing it faster and higher intensity for a shorter time. If you keep up this intensity, it lends to a quicker rate of fat and calorie burn. You can also alternate speeds and paces as you’re jumping rope to introduce intervals into your workout. This is an even more effective strategy for burning fat. Jump at a fast pace for the first stretch, then decrease to a slower pace. Once you’re close to returning to an average heart rate, speed back up again. This pattern helps your body burn through fat. You can burn over 400 calories if you do a high-intensity 30-minute jump roping session. 

Running, on the other hand, is one of the best activities you can do to burn calories. It’s a full-body workout that is also customizable to your skill level. Essentially, the faster or longer you run, the more calories you’ll burn. Ten minutes of rope jumping equals an 8-minute mile. Both jump rope and running require high-intensity movement to be effective in aiding weight loss. Keep in mind that simply jumping rope or running each day will not be what causes weight loss. Regular exercise must happen in concert with healthy eating to truly have an impact. 

Winner: Tie

Jump Rope vs. Running: Agility 

Group of people running at coast
Image by Jacob Lund

Running is a repetitive movement. You don’t have to think about each step, and little is asked of your body in terms of coordination. Jump rope works differently. For most who are new to jump roping, it will likely take some practice to get the movement down. Jumping rope does not come as intuitively to most people as running. You need to learn how to swing the rope fast enough that it doesn’t bend and keep a regular pace while coordinating your jumps with each turn of the rope. There is more coordination and agility required when using a jump rope. 

Winner: Jump Rope

Final Thoughts

Which exercise you choose comes down to what your preferences and goals are. If you want a workout that is fast and intense, jumping rope is likely the better option. There tends to be more of a learning curve, but you can get a great workout in a short amount of time. If you have joint pain, then jumping rope is also a good option because it has less impact on your joints than running. Running is highly effective at burning calories and fat when done at a faser for longer. It is also far more effective if you’re trying to build endurance. 

Knowing the benefits of jump rope and running will help you choose which is best for your fitness goals and exercise preferences. Both running and jump rope are great options for improving your overall fitness.

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