Looking for a quick workout that will burn calories, tone muscle and improve coordination? Pick up a jump rope! Did you know jumping rope at a moderate pace for just 15 to 20 minutes can burn up to 200 calories—that’s almost the amount in a candy bar.
Besides a great calorie-burning exercise, jumping rope provides a cardio and strength-training workout all in one. It literally works everything—your legs, arms, abs, heart, even your mind. As a medium-impact exercise, jumping rope also helps increase bone density. And your agility, speed, timing and rhythm will also be improved.
But my favorite part? It can be done anywhere, at any time—outside on the deck, in your office, in a hotel room. And it costs next to nothing. All you need is a good-quality rope, such as the Valeo Deluxe Speed Rope (a one-time purchase!), and a pair of sneakers. For those on a tight budget, jumping rope for exercise can’t be beat.
If you haven’t picked up a jump rope since elementary school, you may need a little refresher course on how it works. Keep these tips in mind when getting started:
- When jumping, use the balls of your feet. Try practicing first without a rope.
- Keep jumps low, about an inch off the ground.
- Hands should be positioned just above your waist, about 12 inches from the sides of your body.
- Twirl the rope with your wrists, avoiding swinging with your arms and shoulders.
- Try to establish a rhythm. Put on some music with a good beat or hum a tune.
- It may take some time to get used to jumping. Keep practicing, starting first without the rope, then with the rope in one hand (not jumping through it). Practice will help you develop better coordination and feel more confident handling the rope.
Beginners may want to start with a routine that includes jumping for 30 seconds, then walking in place for 30 seconds, repeating for a 10-minute session. Because jumping rope can be an intense cardio workout, you may need to work up to longer sessions over time. Eventually, you’ll be able to walk less, jump more and keep going for longer periods of time.
As with any new exercise routine, be sure to check with your physician before starting. And remember to stay hydrated! You’ll find many great sports nutrition drinks and other fitness essentials at Vitacost.com.
NPC National Figure competitor Melissa Transou, a fitness expert, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports and nutrition needs of women and female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com. Learn more about Melissa in this recent RXMuscle.com spotlight article, connect with her on Facebook or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.