The Health Benefits of Jumping Rope Aren't Just For Kids
View All Section Pages
Ever participate in American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge fundraiser as a child? There are real health benefits from jumping rope. (Not to mention the affordability of the workout!) Whether you’re already fit and need to add variety to your exercise routine, or are just beginning your fitness and exercise journey, jump rope can strengthen your upper and lower body and keep your heart healthy.
Three Tips for Beginners:
- Purchase a rope that is the right length for you. To determine what length rope you need, stand on the center of the rope, holding the handles up to your sides. The handles should reach your armpits. If the rope is too short or too long, choose a different length.
- Do not attempt to jump rope on carpet, concrete, grass or asphalt. Flooring designed for exercise or a wood floor is best. You’ll need at least a four-by-six-foot open area with at least a foot of open space above your head.
- Practice swinging the rope, slow at first, gradually increasing the speed of your swing as well as your jump.
Christian Mazur, Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainer, explains the ins and outs (or ups and downs) of a jump rope workout. It takes some coordination, but with some practice, you can challenge yourself and improve your fitness with just a swing of the rope.
There is a gradual progression to a jump rope exercise. A single jump with both feet is simplest. As your skill and fitness level improves try a single foot jump for more of a challenge. Here are a few basic examples for the beginner to advanced jumper.
Beginner: If you’re just beginning, start with a single jump workout. The single jump is a one-to-one swing/jump ratio. Every time you swing the rope, you jump once, keeping your feet together.
Once you have mastered the single jump with both legs, try alternating feet with every jump, landing on one foot and then the other. Alternating feet will improve your single-leg balance.
Intermediate: For an added challenge, alternate legs, raising your knees high with each jump. High knees—each time the rope comes over and you jump bring one knee up—another single leg activity.
For a more advanced two-leg activity, jump forward and backwards between each swing of the rope, keeping your feet together.
Advanced: To improve your single-leg balance and strength, work your way up until you are able to jump on one foot for 30 seconds before switching to the other foot.
Finally, try to fit two swings of the rope between each jump. Called the “double under,” this is the most challenging jump rope exercise. Not only does it require skill and coordination, it also requires strength and timing. To master the double jump, you must jump high enough off the ground that you can keep your feet in the air long enough to swing the rope twice between each jump.
When you first begin jumping rope, you may find that you can only maintain your jump for a minute or two. With daily practice (and improved fitness), you should get to where you can jump for 15 to 20 minutes without stopping. At this level, you will burn significantly more calories than many other forms of exercise.
Now, grab your rope and start jumping!
Watch a video demonstration with Christian here.
Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications