I recently heard a report that the only exercise celebrity Kate Hudson does to keep her long, lean body in fantastic shape is jumping rope. Needless to say, I was intrigued and decided to do a little research on the subject. Well, it turns out that was only a rumor. Ms. Hudson has recently talked about jumping rope as one important part of her fitness routine in various magazines, but it is not the ONLY exercise she does. However, my research turned up many benefits of jumping rope that give me reason to believe this should be a staple in everyone’s exercise routine. In fact, one of the most compelling stories in favor of jumping rope is that of world champion heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay, aka Muhammed Ali. Ali reportedly never lifted weights as any part of his fitness routine, but he included at least 20 minutes of jumping rope daily, which his trainer credits for his undeniable quickness in the ring that gave him the edge over his opponents. Even if you are not a celebrity or world-class athlete, below are ten reasons you should be jumping rope.
1) It’s Inexpensive
Unlike treadmills, elliptical trainers or universal home weight systems, which can cost in the thousands of dollars, jump ropes can be purchased for as little as $4.
2) It’s Portable
If you travel often for business or like to keep up your fitness routine on vacation, the jump rope is the perfect piece of fitness equipment to travel with you. It’s compact and light weight enough to slide into the pocket of your carry on luggage (and not included on the TSA prohibited items list). Additionally, jump roping can be done indoors or out, so inclement weather never has to be an obstacle to getting in a great workout.
3) Burn Calories (and Fat) FAST
A jump rope workout can burn from 700-1000 calories per hour. While most people, especially beginners, do not have the stamina to jump for an hour, even 10 minutes of moderate level jumping can burn 100+ calories (based on a 135lb individual). According to WebMD you would have to run an eight-minute mile or 7.5 MPH to work off more calories than you’d burn jumping rope. Use the link below from Self magazine to calculate how many calories you can burn: http://www.self.com/calculatorsprograms/calculators/caloriesburned/jumping_rope
4) Total Body Workout
Jumping rope uses your arms, legs (especially calves), back, shoulders, and core so you are getting a total body workout and building lean muscle in nearly every part of your body every time you jump.
5) Builds Bone Strength
Jumping rope uses your own body weight as resistance and resistance training helps build bone density. While you may not be worried about osteoporosis now, your body will thank you in the future for working to build bone strength.
6) Improves Coordination, Speed and Agility
The Jump Rope Institute reports that “jumping on balls of the feet requires the body and mind to make neural muscular adjustments to imbalances created from continuous jumping. As a result jumping improves dynamic balance, coordination and reflexes.” This is why Muhammad Ali was able to “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
7) Improved Posture
If you are a beginner or you haven’t tried jumping rope in twenty or more years, you may feel awkward when starting out jumping rope. But as you get better, your timing increases and there is a natural progression toward keeping your body upright which promotes better posture. Having better posture can have you looking and feeling more confident and reduce joint pain along the spinal column.
8) Cardiovascular Improvement
The heart is arguably the most important muscle in the body. Jumping rope you can increase your heartbeat rapidly in short bursts, then bring it back down by slowing the pace. Repeating this process will greatly condition your heart muscle. You can also jump at a slower tempo over a longer period of time to build your cardiovascular endurance. Having a strong cardiovascular system will improve your overall health, help lower blood pressure and enhance all of your physical fitness activities.
9) There’s an App for That
Whether you have an iPhone or Android smartphone, you can find an app that gives you fun jump rope workout plans from beginner to advanced and even keeps track of the number of jumps. So, if you love using technology in your fitness routine, old fashioned jumping rope can go high-tech.
10) Feel Like a Kid Again
Let’s face it, every once in a while it’s great to feel like a kid again and nothing brings back childhood memories of the playground quite like jumping rope.
So what are you waiting for? Start today with ten minutes of moderate jumping and work toward thirty minutes of sustained jumping for maximum benefits. Add your favorite workout music and if you’ve mastered the basics try different types of jumping (crossover, alternating legs, double jumps) to keep your routine fun and help you feel like a kid again.
~ Tawnya Caldwell