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Jump For Your Health - Jumping Rope is a great aerobic exercise.


Jump For Your Health

Jumping rope is an exercise we tend to overlook as adults. The thought of jump roping usually conjures memories of our childhoods, usually either in the form of fond recollections of grade school playgrounds or shuddering vignettes of endless rope skipping in gym classes. The idea that jump roping could be a part of our current exercise routines doesnít often enter into the picture.

Jumping rope actually has a lot going for it as an exercise. Rope skipping can assist in developing agility, coordination, and balance, not to mention improvements in cardiovascular and muscular endurance. Current research is showing that high impact activities, such as jumping rope, can also help maintain and/or build healthy bones. Another big plus is that the cost is minimal Ė a place to jump, a good rope, and a pair of supportive athletic shoes are all you need.

Your purpose(s) in choosing rope jumping will dictate how long and often you do it. Bone health? Cardiovascular fitness? Coordination? Like all exercise programs, jumping for your health needs to be eased into. Jumping rope is a high impact, high intensity activity and those with health concerns should consult their physician before starting a jump rope program. As a coordination and agility builder, short bouts of jumping are sufficient. If you plan on using jumping rope as part of your aerobic routine, itís best to combine it with other aerobic activities, such as walking, biking, or running. The intensity and impact can really add to an exercise program, but relying on jumping rope as your sole aerobic activity is not recommended for these same reasons.

Getting started:
  • Start with the right equipment. A good pair of supportive athletic shoes is a must as they will give you more lateral stability (important to avoid things like twisting an ankle) and save wear and tear on your feet and joints. The right rope is important, too. It should be heavy enough to develop a steady rhythm and long enough for the ends to reach your armpits when you stand on the center of the rope.

  • Warm up. Get your heart rate elevated and your muscles warm by lightly jogging in place for approximately five minutes.

  • Your posture should be erect (shoulders down away from ears, shoulder blades pulled lightly back, abdominal muscles pulled in toward the spine) but relaxed when you jump.

  • Look straight ahead, not down at your feet.

  • Roll up to the balls of your feet to push off and land lightly back on the balls of your feet when you land so that your muscles share the load of impact along with your joints.

  • Keep your knees slightly bent.

  • Arms should be relaxed at your sides.

  • As you start, turn the rope just fast enough to keep it moving in an arc over your head. When it comes down towards the floor, spring off the balls of your feet just high enough so that your feet clear the rope. You donít need to jump very high or kick your feet up behind you. Work on developing rhythm Ė listen to the rope and your feet jumping lightly over it Ė it should sound like a steady drum beat. Because of the high intensity of jumping rope, a good way to start is by alternating jump roping with marching in place. Jump for one minute then march in place for one minute until youíve completed a 10 minute cycle. As you improve, where you go with jump roping depends on you, your level of health and fitness, and how you want to incorporate jumping rope into a routine.

  • Donít forget to have fun! Once you learn how to jump, you can try some tricks, such as crossing your arms or getting the rope to pass under your feet twice in every jump.
Jumping rope is a great way to add spice to your exercise program. Remember, variety is one of the keys to staying fit. Studies have shown that people tend to stick with activities that are accessible and enjoyable, so why not give jumping rope a try?




The Ups and Downs of High Impact Exercise

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Related Topics
High Impact Exercise
Benefits of Aerobics
Forms of Aerobics
The Aerobic Beat
Aerobics for the Heart