Jump Rope vs. Running: The Benefits of Both

jumping rope
jumping rope

Everyone views exercise differently. For some, it’s fun, and for others, it fills them with dread. Either way, it's still necessary for a healthy lifestyle. And when it comes to cardio, it’s essential to compare jump rope vs. running to determine the best exercise for you.

Jumping rope and running are two of the most effective cardio exercises available to athletes. However, many may wonder which is better. Both have their pros and cons, but one must be better than the other.

Both exercises are valid, but when comparing jump rope vs. running, you need to take many factors into account. However, before starting that debate, you need to understand what each exercise is trying to accomplish. Furthermore, you might not know exactly what cardio exercises are.

What is Cardio?

Before comparing jump rope vs. running, you need to understand what cardio is. Cardio refers to your cardiovascular system, a system that is comprised of your heart and circulatory system.

The cardiovascular system has three main functions. These functions are to transport nutrients, oxygen, and hormones to cells throughout the body, to protect the body using white blood cells and antibodies, and to regulate body temperature, fluid pH, and the water content of cells.

Cardio exercises are exercises that raise your heart rate, and over time they strengthen your heart and lungs. By doing cardio exercises regularly, your cardiovascular system will become more efficient. Over time, your resting heart rate will lower, and you’ll be able to exercise for longer at a higher intensity.

Benefits and Detriments of Jumping Rope

Starting our comparison of jump rope vs. running, we’ll look at the pros and cons of jumping rope first. When you think about jumping rope, you probably think of it as something that little kids do for fun, or something high-level boxers do to warm up. However, it can be one of the best cardio exercises for anyone.


woman jumping rope

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There are several benefits to jumping rope, starting with an increase to your coordination. Jumping rope will force you to focus on your feet, thus making you more aware of what your entire body is doing. As a result, you will become more coordinated the longer you practice jumping rope.

Furthermore, jumping rope is excellent for reducing foot and ankle injuries. In other sports, or even in recreational running, injuries can occur from moving side to side quickly, or from putting too much pressure on your heels. Jumping rope forces you to stay on the balls of your feet, as opposed to being flat-footed or on your heals, which is common in other sports.

Since this is a comparison of two of the best cardio exercises, it makes sense that jumping rope improves your cardiovascular health. However, it has also been proven to be one of the quickest methods of burning calories. As you practice, it will also improve your breathing efficiency.

Finally, studies have shown that jumping is excellent for your bones. If you regularly jump rope, you will improve your bone density, which reduces the risk of breaks.


Unfortunately, there are no exercises without drawbacks, and jumping rope is not an exception. When you jump rope, you are putting a lot of stress on your knees, ankles, and feet. As a result, if you have a history of knee or ankle injuries, you should avoid jumping rope.

Furthermore, jumping rope shouldn’t be the first cardio exercise you go to if you’re starting from scratch. If you have heart problems, and you’re looking to improve things by doing cardio exercises, jumping rope shouldn’t be your starting point. Jumping rope is very intense and may be dangerous for people with heart issues.

Additionally, jumping rope can be particularly problematic for women. Furthermore, jumping rope isn't considered entirely safe during pregnancy.

Benefits and Detriments of Running

Next, in our comparison of jump rope vs. running as cardio exercises, we must look at running. Running is the most popular form of cardiovascular exercise in the world and for good reason, as it is an extremely useful form of exercise.



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The most significant benefit of running is that it improves your overall fitness. It improves the condition of your heart and lungs. Additionally, running can also reduce stress levels.

Furthermore, running is a great exercise to help you lose weight. When many people start exercising, they start by lifting weights, which may prove ineffective in terms of weight loss. Running for an hour will burn hundreds if not more than 1,000 calories.

Running is also great for improving your self-esteem. Since it’s easy to set reasonable goals for running longer and at a quicker pace, you will get the feeling of joy that comes with accomplishing something frequently.

Finally, running is incredibly cheap. All you need is a pair of running shoes and some workout clothes, and you can get started. You can run outdoors on the streets for free, and running shoes can last for more than 500 miles of use.


Unfortunately, there are downsides to running, and they start with potential injuries. Although running can improve the strength of your joints, they can cause lingering injuries to your knees. It’s relatively common for people who run regularly for years to develop some issue with their knees.

Furthermore, injuries such as stress fractures, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis are common. To avoid these injuries, you need to take your rest days seriously and not ignore any aches or pains. For more on how to avoid the downsides of running, take a look at our elliptical vs. running comparison.

Additionally, although running will help you lose weight long term, it may cause you to gain weight in the short term. Running will cause you to gain a lot of muscle in your legs, thus increasing your weight. Furthermore, running will increase your appetite, and if you succumb to these urges, you may end up eating more than you’re burning.

Finally, even though running is very cheap as a casual exercise, it does get expensive if you’re interested in racing. Most 5-kilometer races will charge up to $30 to enter, and marathons can cost up to $150.

Different Types of Jump Rope Workouts

Next, in our comparison of jump rope vs. running, let’s look at different workout types that you should learn. We’ll start by looking at different types of jumps you should know for jumping rope.

The first jump you should learn is the basic jump. This is jumping rope regularly by bringing the rope over your head and jumping over it when you bring it to the ground. This is the most fundamental jump rope exercise, and it will be at the core of all your workouts.

You should also learn how to jump rope on one foot. This helps with balance, and you will burn calories quicker this way. Practice this by jumping for 20 seconds on one foot and then switching to the other.

Other jumping methods include the high knee jump. This is when instead of doing a small jump over the rope, you bring your knees up high every time you jump. This will be a higher intensity exercise, and it will improve your explosiveness.

Jump rope exercises are very efficient, and as a result, you can do them very quickly. Let’s look at a quick workout example.

First, perform basic jumps for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. Then perform one-foot jumps for 20 seconds each, resting 10 seconds in between. Then do high knee jumps for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds.

Finally, do basic jumps for 20 seconds and rest for one minute. Perform this circuit five times, and you’ll have completed a high-intensity jump rope workout in less than 20 minutes.

Different Types of Running Workouts

As we continue our comparison of jump rope vs. running, we must look at different running workouts. When people think of running, they may not realize there are many different types of workouts you can do while running. In fact, it’s an exercise with one of the most variations.

The workout you should start with is a standard run. This is probably what you think of when you think of running. All you’re doing is going outside and running at your natural pace for a set amount of time.

Standard runs should be the workout you do the most, as they require the least amount of recovery time. However, there are several other workouts you should work into your routine. The first of these workouts is the tempo run.

Tempo runs are one of the most valuable workouts for competitive runners or for anyone looking to get faster. This is where you run for a set amount of distance at a hard pace. It should not be an all-out sprint, but it shouldn’t be entirely comfortable, and you will feel a build-up of lactic acid.

For example, you could do a workout where you run a mile at your 5-kilometer race pace. You would run a mile three to five times, taking a one-minute break in between. This will be intense, but not all out, and it will significantly improve your stamina.

Finally, intervals are workouts where you do short bursts of very fast running over a short distance. Usually, the distance will be 200 or 400 meters, and you will be running at your mile race pace. These workouts are essential for increasing your maximum speed.

There are several other types of running, but these three types are the foundation for competitive running.

Weighing the Differences Between Jump Rope vs. Running

weighing scale

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Now it’s the time in our comparison of jump rope vs. running to weigh the differences between the two exercises. Both exercises are useful, but how do they compare to each other?

Jumping rope and running are both cheap and accessible to anyone, as you only need a small investment in equipment. Both can cause minor injuries that are usually related to the knees. However, there are some differences.

Jumping rope is more efficient in terms of burning calories, and the workouts are usually shorter. However, jumping rope isn’t great for someone who is starting cardio workouts for the first time in a long time.

Conversely, running workouts will last for up to an hour or longer, and they are less efficient at burning calories. However, running is an excellent option for someone looking to start working out.

Furthermore, jumping rope isn’t something you should be doing every day as you need to take rest days after intense workouts. If you want, running is something you can do six days a week.

In terms of health benefits, each type of exercise helps you in similar ways. They both will improve the health of your heart and lungs. Both workouts will have an overall positive effect on you.

When Comparing Jump Rope vs. Running, Which Is Better?

Now that we’ve finished our comparison of jump rope vs. running, you may be wondering, which is better. Truthfully, there isn’t a definitive answer to that question. Both workouts are incredibly effective for losing weight and improving your cardiovascular system.

While jumping rope is more time-efficient, and burns calories quicker, you can’t jump rope every day without increasing your risk of injury. Running might not be as efficient, but you can run almost every day, while burning calories steadily, and improving your overall health.

Are you new to cardio exercise? When comparing jump rope vs. running, what do you think is better? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image source: Pexels


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