Here are five reasons you should add a jump rope workout to your routine:
1. Jumping rope burns calories and is a cardio workout
According to WebMD, using a jump rope for 15 to 20 minutes will burn calories equal to a candy bar. It’s almost like running an 8-minute mile. You don’t need a lot of equipment, just a jump rope and good athletic shoes. Skipping rope is a lower-impact workout than jogging or running. Plus, it works out your upper and lower muscle groups, and it’s good for your heart.
2. Jumping rope improves Bone Density
Bones receive a message to strengthen themselves during exercise. Skipping rope builds your bones and doesn’t impact your joints like running or jogging. Walking can build bones, but the activity needs to be brisk. Skipping rope fits the bill.
3. Jump ropes are travel-friendly
Staying healthy while traveling isn't easy (read our article about how to eat healthy while traveling). You can pack your jump rope in a suitcase for a workout wherever you are. If you’re driving cross-country, you can stop at a rest stop and get a session in to stretch your muscles and move around. Plus, your jump rope can fill in for cardio equipment when you can’t get to the gym or out for a run. Just head out to your driveway or find a room where you can swing your rope without hitting anything. Plus, jump ropes are cost-friendly
4. Jumping rope improves coordination
Boxers jump rope to improve balance, flexibility and coordination. Your mind has to focus on the cyclical nature of jumping, bringing your eyes, hands and feet together. Skipping rope also strengthens the tendons and muscles in the lower leg, which can reduce the risk of injuries. You should try to land on the ball of your feet when jumping.
5. Jumping rope improves cognitive function
As you jump, you learn new muscle patterns. The nervous system has to communicate between your feet, eyes, wrists and brain. The coordination, rhythm and strategy are good for your brain. Physical exercise increases your brain health. Who doesn’t need that?
Choosing a Jump Rope
All jump ropes will work indoors, but if you plan on jumping outside on concrete, you’ll need to choose one made with PVC or from a beaded rope. Speed ropes are becoming incredibly popular, but if you’re a beginner, a speed rope will be more difficult to use.
If you’re just working out in the gym, look for a rope that has comfortable grips and a thick PVC cord that is also adjustable. Thicker cords will help you get your heart rate up quicker. They don’t tangle up as bad as other ropes. Once you get quicker, you’ll want to shorten the cord so that you can move faster. This Fitness Factor jump rope has good reviews and should fit the bill.
Jumping rope isn’t like riding a bicycle. You may want to talk to your doctor about your ability to jump rope and manage the quick movements before you get started. If your trainer and doctor think you’re up to the challenge, start by holding the rope in one hand and swinging it to get a feel for the rhythm. Then, without the rope, practice jumping. Finally, put the two elements together. At first, you might be lucky to jump for a minute before you can stop. It takes a lot of stamina and energy to jump for 20 minutes.
Don’t forget to make sure you have a good surface for jumping rope. Warm up before you exercise. Learn proper jump rope form. Stay on your toes and use the natural shock absorbers built into your body. You shouldn’t be jumping more than an inch off the floor. To build your workout time, alternate jumping with marching. Exercise with intensity to increase your heart-rate to your target zone.
And--after some experience--perhaps you can master the double-unders of an intense crossfit workout?