If you’re someone who wants to get the most out of your workouts, you might be wondering whether you’re better off jumping rope or going for a run.
We’ll answer that exact question by looking at cardio, calories, cost, and convenience before concluding with which one is better.
By the end, you’ll know if you fall in the jumping rope or running camp.
Is Jumping Rope Actually a Workout?
It might seem a little goofy to think that something you used to do as a kid could be a good workout. But the reality is that it’s a great workout, and also helps to improve your coordination.
Plus, since you can do it anywhere and it doesn’t take a ton of time to get your heart rate pumping. It’s a great workout to plug in during a packed day, or when the weather outside is cold and nasty.
But it’s important to remember that while it’s a fun workout, you do need to keep track of your form. You should stand nice and tall and jump up and down, rather than bouncing here and there, doing something weird with your feet.
Depending on how fast you run, you might be able to get a better cardio workout from jump roping in a shorter amount of time. For example, one study found that 10 minutes of jumping rope is comparable to 30 minutes of easy running.
That means you can burn the same number of calories and get the same benefit in a third of the time as compared to running. For anyone who is pressed for time, that’s a huge advantage.
Dr. James Bagley says that it is similar to jogging/running at an 8:30 to 10 minute mile pace. That means that for most people, they can get a better cardio workout in a shorter amount of time jumping rope if they are doing it at a good clip.
If you jump rope for 30 minutes, you’ll burn 400-500 calories, whereas if you run for 30 minutes (3 miles at a 10 minute mile pace), you’ll burn about 300 calories. That means that if you’re looking to lose weight, you likely will be able to do it faster by jumping rope.
One jump rope workout that you might want to try is a dropping rep workout. For example, you’ll start by skipping on both feet for 10 skips, shift to your right foot for 10, and then to your left for 10. Then you’ll go to 9 for both, right, and left, all the way down to 0.
For running, you’ll burn more calories with an interval workout. So you might try doing 6 x ½ mile intervals at a faster pace with recovery in between. You’ll burn several hundred calories with a workout like this, depending on how fast you run the intervals.
How much money you want to spend on a jump rope versus a pair of running shoes will determine which workout is more expensive for you. It’s probably a good guess that you’ll spend at least $100 on a good pair of running shoes.
You can probably get a good jump rope for between $20-$30 and even the fanciest jump ropes will be under $100. This means that if you only plan to do one activity, jumping rope is the cheaper option (assuming you have workout shoes).
Additionally, you can jump rope outside or inside anytime, no matter what the weather is like. Of course it costs nothing to run outside, but if the weather isn’t great and you run almost every day, you’ll need a gym membership or your own treadmill for bad/cold weather days.
That will be another couple hundred or even a thousand dollars, meaning that you’ll definitely get more bang for your buck with running.
Convenience and Enjoyment
Jumping rope is more convenient because you can do it anywhere, whether you’re at a hotel traveling for work or inside your garage during a rainy day. If the weather is nice, you’ll be able to run in most places, but you won’t have that option if the weather is poor.
Plus, you can always pick a safe location to jump rope—your home, hotel room, etc. Depending on where you are, it might not always be safe to run outside, making jump rope safer and more convenient.
If you want to get the benefits of a 30-minute jog in a 10-minute jump rope workout, you’re going to have to work hard. This means that jumping rope might not be enjoyable if you’re trying to do a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout more or less.
That being said, both activities can be enjoyable if you’re going at your own pace. I would argue that running is more enjoyable because you can listen to music or podcasts, run and talk with a friend, and get to see the beautiful nature that is outside your door.
It will be more challenging to do all of those things jumping rope. For example, it might be hard to make sure that you’re jumping at the proper time if you’re listening to music. I would guess that it’s going to be pretty sure to talk with a friend, and you won’t be able to see as much nature.
Final Conclusion – Which is Better?
In reality, you can’t go wrong with jumping rope or running to give you a great workout. You just might prefer one over the other depending on your lifestyle, fitness goals, health, and so forth.
People Who Would Enjoy Jumping Rope
If you’re someone who doesn’t have much time for workouts during the day, but you want to get a good solid workout in, jumping rope is a great way to do that. Remember: you only have to do it for 10 minutes to get the same benefit of jogging for 30 minutes.
If you’re a mom or dad who has to watch the kids, jumping rope is a great way to get exercise while still keeping an eye on the kids. And it’s a cheaper option than a treadmill and one that is easier to stop.
Depending on the age of your kids, you might even be able to encourage them to jump rope with you and thus get the whole family involved in exercise. I know my sister and I spent hours jumping rope in the garage when it was rainy and we couldn’t ride our bikes.
Finally, if you’re a homebody, you might like jumping rope because you can get a cardio workout without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home!
People Who Would Enjoy Running
If you’re someone who has weak joints or who is recovering from an injury, running is a better option for you because you can go at whatever pace that you need to. Plus, you don’t have to deal with skipping, which is hard on the joints.
If you struggle with balance and coordination, you might prefer running so that you don’t have to risk missing jumping over the rope and instead landing on your bottom or worse, head, because you instead landed on the rope.
Finally, if you like to get out and are more adventurous, jumping rope might be a little constraining because it’s stationary in the sense that you won’t be seeing anything new. Running gives you the option to explore new terrain.
No matter which workout you ultimately chose (and you might like to do a bit of both to mix things up), jumping rope and running are two great ways to stay in shape and get a good cardio workout.