Research is firm on the health benefits that people receive when they exercise. Blood pressure and cholesterol decrease, energy levels increase, weight is lost, and people experience an over all sense of well-being. One exercise not often considered in a fitness program is jump roping.
Jump rope exercises are an excellent cardiovascular program according to the US Olympic Committee Sports Medicine Council. It is also among the exercises recommended for conditioning by the American College of Sports Medicine. There is less damage done to client’s joints and it isn’t as hard on the muscles as jogging and running.
During running and jogging the foot absorbs up to five times body weight from the force of impact against the ground. During jump rope exercises the shock of hitting the ground is absorbed by both feet, allowing the calf muscles to control and absorb the impact.
Did you know that 10 minutes of jump rope exercising is equivalent to 1 mile of running?
There are many advantages to jump rope exercises including improvements to the heart and lungs and, if done correctly, will make you more agile and coordinated. Not to mention that it is cost effective and down right cheap.
It is important to start with the right equipment – even though there are just a few pieces. Shoes should be supportive with good lateral stability; they will prevent ankle injuries and save wear and tear on the joints. Cross training shoes, tennis shoes and basketball shoes have great lateral stability built into the shoe. Be sure they are real tennis shoes, built specifically to play tennis and not generic shoes purchased at the department store.
Use the right jump rope. Exercise without a good rope and you are setting yourself up for frustration and failure. The rope should be heavy enough to develop a steady rhythm and long enough that the ends reach your armpits when you stand on the center of the rope. The handles should be thick and comfortable.
And your last piece of equipment is the floor. Try to use a floor that has some cushion that will reduce the impact to your legs. A floating wood floor, like on a basketball court, is significantly better than the concrete floor in your basement. Even better is jump rope exercises done outside in the grass. The ground provides cushion to your joints and resistance that means more energy expenditure for you.
As with any new physical fitness program you should consult with your primary healthcare provider to be sure that you are not interfering with any current or underlying medical condition, medications and that your goals match your current physical condition.
Warming up and cooling down is essential to prevent injury and improve your flexibility. Warm up exercises can be a quick walk, climbing the stairs for a few minutes or jump rope exercises slowly. Only after your jump rope exercises are finished should you do your stretches. Stretching before you exercise will actually cool your muscles down and do the opposite of what you intend.
Many adults give up on jump rope exercises because they feel uncoordinated and miss the rope. Don’t give up. It’s not long before you’ll notice improvement, increased coordination and flexibility – all goals that are very achievable with jump roping.
Fitness Magazine: 10 Minute Workout: Jump rope to Skip Yourself Slim
RealSimple: 15 Minute Jump Rope Workout
FitDay: 3 Benefits of Jump Rope Fitness
ABC News: How to Jump-Start Your Workout
University of Notre Dame: Self-Limiting Exercise: Jumping Rope