Swimming vs Jump Rope: Which is More Effective?

Even though swimming and jumping are very different ways of exercising, they have many of the same benefits.

Swimming is more effective as a low-impact exercise, which makes it more suitable for people that are recovering from injuries. Jump rope is more effective at increasing your bone and muscle strength in your legs and feet and produces more sweat than swimming.

Swimming for health-The health benefits

If you’re wondering which one will burn more calories, we can tell you they both burn around the same amount, around 13 calories per minute. Of course, swimming as fast as you can burn more fat than calmly skipping and vice versa, but on average, they’re both very effective at burning calories. A 15-minute session of either activity will burn around 200 calories on average.

Now, with the key question out of the way, let’s look at the unique benefits of each activity that makes them stand out.

Benefits of Jump Rope Exercise

Skipping for health


Jump rope is more effective in the following areas:

●     Increases bone density: Even though jump rope is very low impact if done properly, there is still some impact on your bones which strengthens them in the long term. It’s enough to strengthen your bones without damaging them as long as you don’t have any preexisting conditions.

●     Increased foot and ankle strength: The muscles in your feet and ankles become stronger and will therefore be less likely to be injured. Your chances of spraining your ankles will be reduced as well.

●     More sweating: You will sweat more using a jump rope compared to swimming. This is good because sweating helps with bacterial cleansing, elimination of chemicals, and detoxing of heavy metals. You sweat when you swim, but not as much as when you use a jump rope.

Other benefits:

●     Anywhere at any time: You don’t need to go anywhere to use your jump rope and you only need about 6 or 9 square feet to do it.

● It’s also very cheap compared to owning a pool, or travelling to one daily.

Benefits of Swimming

Swimming is more effective than jump rope in the following areas:

●     Increased flexibility: From stretching your arms out and extending your back legs.

●     Almost zero impact: The only slight impact you will have is when your legs and arms hit the surface of the water. Low-impact exercise is especially beneficial for people who are trying to lose a lot of weight, as you won’t suffer from aching joints as easily compared to other fitness activities.

●     Swim to heal: You can swim slowly and carefully to regain strength after certain injuries. (As per your doctor’s advice)

●     Water keeps you cool: Burning hundreds of calories while staying cool is not something you’re going to find in other activities.

●     Safe while pregnant: Swimming is exceptionally gentle on the body and can be performed right throughout your pregnancy. Jump rope exercises are also safe to do while pregnant, but some women prefer to avoid jumping up and down with a large belly.

Health Benefits From Both Activities

Swimming and skipping share many health benefits. Here are the primary benefits for both.

●     An all-around body workout. You use most of your body’s muscles during these activities with your calves, thighs, glutes, back, stomach, neck, shoulders, and arms being worked the most.

●     High-Calorie Burn: You can burn around 200 calories per 15 minutes of training, depending on your age, weight, and gender. This makes these exercises very effective at burning fat and losing weight.

●     Low Impact: Both are low impact for your body, although swimming is a slightly lower impact than jump rope.

●     Increased Heart Rate: They increase your heart rate, which strengthens your heart.

●     Cardiovascular Fitness: This is your circulatory system that provides blood to your body. Your heart, arteries, veins, and capillaries will perform better to provide your body with blood as it requires.

●     Increases Endurance: They increase your endurance so you don’t get as tired while going through your day. You’ll be able to walk or run further or play with the kids for longer before getting tired.

●     Increased Muscle Tone: With these forms of exercise being more about endurance and less about resistance, your muscles will tone up and get stronger without building them up to a large size. This is perfect for people who want to be fit, healthy, and strong without having enormous muscles to show it.

●     Better Balance and Posture: Swimming improves your posture because it stretches out your body and makes you more flexible. Jump rope also aids your balance and posture because you perform the activity with a straight back and keep your position by balancing so you don’t drift off your spot.

●     Coordination: Jump rope helps with coordination as you time your jumps to make it over the rope. Swimming increases coordination because you need to use your arms and legs at the right times to keep you moving through the water.

Swimming and skipping are both very effective at burning calories, increasing heart rate, and toning muscles. So depending on your situation and preference, you might pick either one. 

Here’s some advice on both activities to help you get started.

Fitness Swimming Advice

Stretch your muscles before swimming to make sure you don’t pull a muscle.

If you’re swimming in a pool at a gym, follow the rules. Some gyms ask that you shower before swimming to keep the pool as clean as possible. Some gyms don’t allow swimming if you’re alone. You might be required to wear a swimming cap. Make sure to familiarize yourself with any rules before jumping in. (On that point, they might not allow you to jump in)

Learn different styles of swimming. Different ways of swimming will work various muscles. If you’re looking for a full-body workout, learn all the styles of swimming to focus on many areas of the body. Here’s a simplified breakdown of different swimming techniques and which areas of the body they work on most.

●     Freestyle: Works on your quadriceps, hamstrings, biceps, and triceps.

●     Breaststroke: For focusing on your back muscles, chest muscles, biceps, and triceps.

●     Backstroke: Very good for your back muscles, glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings.

●     Butterfly: All the major and minor muscles around your shoulders and neck. 

●     Sidestroke: Especially good for chest muscles and hamstrings.

All these swimming styles will also work on your core muscles and leg muscles, the muscle groups above are merely the groups that get the most out of each technique.

You can also walk through the water on the shallow end from one side to the other for core and leg strengthening.

Jump Rope Advice

Here’s some advice for beginners to jump rope exercise.

Use the right length of rope according to your height.

Try to jump only 1 or 2 inches off the ground, if you jump too high, you won’t be able to keep a fast pace and the impact will be harder on the ground.

As you gain muscle memory, try to keep a steady pace of jumping and increase the speed as you feel comfortable.

Use running/jogging shoes while jumping, not only will they reduce the impact of landing on the ground, they’ll also keep your toes safe from the rope.

Once you have a feel for the activity, learn some more jump rope techniques to tone different muscles and to further train your coordination.


Swimming and jump rope are both extremely effective at burning calories.

If you’re looking to sweat out some bad toxins from your body, jumping will produce more sweat than swimming.

If you buy a jump rope, you can use it almost anywhere, which makes it more effective in getting the exercise done at home at any time.

If you have an injury, swimming can be a gentle way to get you moving again and jump rope is not recommended. (Consult with your doctor first before you try either)

If you want the best of both worlds, you could do a bit of jump rope for 15 minutes and then go for a swim afterwards.

Emilie MASI

Nurse Practitioner Masters in Advanced Nursing Practice Graduate Diploma of Wound Care Masters of Wound Care

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Swimming Vs Jump Rope? Which is more effective for long term benefits to health and fitness?