When it comes to forms of exercise, few are as straightforward and familiar as jumping rope. We’ve all done it — most of us did it as kids at recess, along with games of foursquare and hopscotch. But jumping rope isn’t just for kids. It has a range of important health benefits, and it’s an excellent form of physical activity. But if you haven’t done it since your school days, here are a few of the reasons you might want to consider picking it up again.
Jumping rope is convenient
One of the challenges a lot of us face when trying to stay in shape is that some forms of exercise aren’t always the most convenient. Going to the gym is great, but it requires commute time to get there and back, and there’s a fee. And with outdoor forms of exercise like running or biking, it can be difficult to maintain a regular routine during the winter months, when there’s weather to contend with. But jumping rope is very convenient. It can be done right in your home, you don’t have to worry about a fee, and if you’re traveling, it’s easy to toss it into your suitcase.
It has a low learning curve
As mentioned above, many of us jumped rope even as children. So it’s a form of exercise most of us are already quite familiar with. This is especially important if you’re someone who’s just beginning an exercise routine, as beginning something where there’s more to learn can sometimes be intimidating. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t aspire to learn different forms of exercise – but jumping rope is a familiar way to ease yourself into a routine. At the same time, because it is a relatively intense workout, if you don’t exercise regularly, you will want to approach it with a degree of caution. And keep in mind that, as with any form of exercise, it might take a little time to get to the point where you feel like you’ve found your groove with it.
It leads to better coordination
Many believe that jumping rope can improve your coordination and motor skills because doing it over and over trains your brain to be more aware of what your feet are doing. You’ve got to coordinate the swinging of the rope with the jumping off your feet. This is part of the reason why boxers will sometimes include jumping rope in their training regimens.
It leads to fewer ankle injuries
It is thought that jumping rope may help athletes decrease injury to the feet and ankles by strengthening the ankle muscles. People who play tennis and basketball, for example, often suffer injuries as a result of running then stopping short. But improved muscle strength can help prevent those injuries. Also, jumping rope can help train you to stay on the balls of your feet.
It’s great at burning calories
Jumping rope is an excellent calorie burner. It can burn up to about 1,000 calories an hour, depending on the individual and the intensity of the workout. When you stop to think about it, what other forms of exercise burn as many calories, without requiring you to leave your living room? Not many!
It improves heart health
Jumping rope is a great form of cardio exercise. It elevates your heart rate more quickly than many forms of exercise, and it keeps it elevated, meaning a shorter workout can still benefit your heart. Of course, it is important to be careful, and if you have any concerns about exercise that will raise your heart rate, be sure to contact a medical professional beforehand.
It increases muscle tone
Jumping rope won’t build muscle strength in the way that weightlifting will. Still, though, it can tone your muscles, especially your legs, triceps, and shoulders. Jumping rope can help you gain that firm look that many people are after. And there are some who believe in can be particularly beneficial for women in this way.
It’s a core workout
The shoulders and legs aren’t the only muscle groups that can be toned by jumping rope. It’s a great core workout, as well. This is because, for the duration of the workout, you’re continually contracting those muscles. And you contract them both as you’re jumping up and as you’re landing. So if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy crunches, jumping rope can be a good alternative.
It fights stress
Like other forms of exercise, it releases endorphins, which cuts down on stress. So it’s great to do at the end of a tiring work day. It’s also great before you head to work in order to start the day on a positive note.
There are a number of reasons why you might want to give jumping rope a try. It is important to note, however, that it does put stress on the knees and ankles. If you have any concerns about your joints, hold off or speak with a medical professional first. Still, it’s thought that it may be lower impact than running, because both knees and ankles absorb the shock at the same time. With running, however, all the shock is absorbed by one leg.
All in all, jumping rope is a convenient, inexpensive form of exercise. It can give you a great workout right in your own home.
Enjoy this video to get started:
— Sarah Cooke