Jumping Rope: It's Not Just Kid Stuff
Think back to the days when exercise was part of school recess. In between classes you might have jumped rope with your friends. If you left your jump rope behind after childhood, consider picking it up again. Jumping rope is a convenient, cheap aerobic workout.
Jumping rope offers many benefits. It increases your muscle endurance and eye-hand coordination. The sport keeps your heart rate up and gets the hormones that make you feel good flowing. Minute for minute, you can't get a bigger bang for your buck.
What it takes
Jumping rope is a portable sport. All you need is a high-quality rope (average price $5 to $15) and supportive shoes. Court shoes, such as tennis or basketball shoes, have extra cushioning for the front half of your foot.
If you jump rope properly, you're spending all of your time up on the front half of your foot. Your heels should not come down. A little extra cushion underneath the front of your foot will help you avoid discomfort.
The benefits of jumping rope for the heart and lungs are close to those of jogging. Jumping rope also increases flexibility, balance, rhythm, and timing, while also working your legs and upper arms. Yet unlike jogging or running, there are many more skills that you can learn and tricks that you can add while you jump.
As in any sport, if you haven't exercised regularly, be sure to check with your health care provider before beginning to jump rope.
Tricks of the trade
Jumping rope continues to evolve as a sport. Moves include crossing your arms in the front of your body and adding additional ropes. More complex moves are featured at the annual national competition, hosted by United States Amateur Jump Rope Federation (U.S.A. Jump Rope).
From educational videos to classes offered at health clubs, the jump rope craze is catching on.
Here are some things to consider when buying a high-quality jump rope:
Length. An adjustable rope allows you to customize the length of the rope to your height. A rope that's too short or too long will cause you to jump awkwardly. To determine the correct length have the person stand in the middle of the jump rope with a handle in each hand and pull upward so they fit right under your arms. When you jump over the rope, the rope should just brush the floor under your feet.
Weight. A properly weighted rope allows you to create a perfect arc when you jump. Light ropes, such as those made of cotton, nylon or leather, can twist and tangle.
Handles. The handles of a jump rope affect how it rotates. Foam grips on the handles help keep your hands from slipping when you sweat.