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Jumping rope: Not just for recess anymore

The basics of jumping rope

Too busy for a long workout during the day? Too impatient to watch 20 minutes pass a piece of cardio equipment? Why not burn calories by trying something you enjoyed as a kid? Jumping rope can be a very efficient and time-saving way to get in a tough workout in a short amount of time.

The Basics

  • In a quick 15- to 20-minute workout, you can burn anywhere from 200 to 400 calories —depending on how hard you work.
  • Jumping rope can be both a great cardiovascular and a muscle-strengthening exercise to add into your busy schedule.
  • When choosing a jump rope to use, stand on the middle of the jump rope and measure where the handles come up to. They should reach the bottom of your armpits to allow for proper length.

Getting Started

  • Jumping rope can cause stress on the knees, ankles, and hips. So be sure to warm-up slowly, and talk to a doctor if you have any previous injuries that may limit your ability to jump.
  • Find an area that has plenty of room overhead, about 10 inches, to avoid catching the rope on anything that is hanging.
  • The surface you jump on is very important to consider. Avoid concrete or asphalt; those surfaces will not absorb any of the impact. Try to find a wood surface or use an impact mat designed for exercise.

Practice Proper Form

  • Focus on jumping and landing on the balls of your feet, not allowing your heels to touch the ground.
  • If you are new to jumping rope, focus on only one jump at a time. As you progress, find a good rhythm to keep your jumps going one after the other.
  • You do not need to jump very high to clear the jump rope. Timing your jump is more important than jumping high, as a typical jump rope is only an eighth of an inch thick.
  • The turning of the jump rope should be down with the wrists. Your arms and shoulders should stay relatively still throughout the jump.

Sample Workout

  • Warm up by walking, jogging, or riding a bike for five to 10 minutes. Follow this up with a quick stretch of the major muscle groups (hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves).
  • Start off by trying to get in as many jumps as you can in 30 seconds. Take a 30-second break and then repeat three more times.
  • As you progress, you can move on to 60-second intervals. Or try to complete 100 jumps in the least amount of time possible, followed by 60 seconds of rest and repeat up to five times.

If you are looking for some variety in your workouts, or even just looking for somewhere to start, jumping rope could be a great activity to add to your schedule! Jumping rope can also be a great way to involve the whole family in some fun and inexpensive exercise.