If your last vision of jumping rope is tripping over one at physical education class 20 years ago with a bunch of other sweaty 12-year-olds, you’re not alone. However, if might be time to pick one up again, because jumping rope is one of the best exercises you can incorporate into your fitness routine.
No longer reserved for little girls and boxers, jumping rope has gained mainstream popularity for its remarkable calorie-burning reputation. Even better if you’re on a budget — there’s no need for expensive gym memberships here, and all you really need is a good rope to begin.
If you’re new to jumping, start with a basic lightweight rope, and when it starts getting easy, switch things up a bit with a weighted jump rope that will push your conditioning up a notch. If you want to improve agility and endurance, a speed rope will quicken the pace and keep you on your toes. After you’ve mastered the basic jumps, try fancy moves such as the crossover and double-under to keep your workout fresh, challenging and fun.
If you’re still unsure about how jumping rope pits against your regular runs on the treadmill, here are 5 of its benefits that might change your mind.
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While it might seem like you’re only working your legs, skipping actually activates your whole body. Abdominals are used to stabilise your body, while your arms and shoulders are getting a workout of their own by turning the rope. Even if jumping rope isn’t the main focus of your exercise, it’s a good warm up before you start on your workout.
Few exercises will obliterate that muffin you had for tea like jumping rope will. Even at moderate speed, the aerobic exercise will burn 10 to 16 calories a minute. If you’re at it for an hour, the burn rate increases incrementally to clock an impressive 1,300 calories. If you’re just starting out, aim for three sets of 10 minutes each, and you’ll be looking at melting about 480 calories.
By forcing you to focus on the momentum of your feet against your arms as you swing, jumping rope will inevitably improve both motor skills and hand-eye coordination. With better coordination, you’ll also find yourself able to ace many other workouts or sports such as racquet games more efficiently and with less risk of injuries.
It might sound counter-productive, but according to Dr Daniel W Barry, who has extensively studied the bones of the elderly and athletes, the best way to improve bone density is, in fact, by simply jumping up and down. Jumping rope is also easier on your joints as compared to running because the impact of the jumps is absorbed by both legs instead of one at a time. Osteoporosis is but one less thing to worry about in the future.
If you want to bust out a quick workout while waiting for the bus in the morning, go right ahead. Only second to resistant bands, jump ropes are super portable and lightweight, and can be used anywhere. It’s also a very affordable workout — the only thing you’ll need to bust out your card for is the rope, which should last quite a while anyway.