Jump Rope for Cardio & Coordination
Go to any elementary school playground and you will see kids playing double dutch, or just having fun jumping with a single rope. Notice not only their ability to do this for what seems like hours, but also how coordinated they are. This was a fun and challenging way for them to develop coordination, endurance, and speed without it feeling like exercise.
Why you should jump rope
Jumping rope has long been touted as a great cardiovascular exercise, and for good reason. A 150 lb. person can burn up to 750 calories an hour just by jumping rope. According to tracking data from FitBit.com, 10 minutes of jump rope is similar to running for 30 minutes at a 6mph pace, making it a less time-consuming way to get in your workout.
It also requires very little space or investment. You can buy a nice rope for as little as $5-$10 from your favorite sporting goods store, and bring it wherever you go, so you don’t have to sacrifice your workout while on that business trip.
Benefits of jumping rope
- Improves coordination: Jumping rope forces you to focus on your feet, requiring timing and rhythm. This is why jumping rope has been a favorite training technique for boxers and martial artists for years.
- Enhances bone health: According to Dr. Daniel W. Barry, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, the act of jumping and supporting your own bodyweight has been scientifically proven to improve bone density in elderly people, as long as they had healthy bones to begin with.
- May decrease ankle and foot injuries Jumping improves the strength and flexibility in your foot and ankle muscles, which may help in preventing injury.
- Helps with breathing efficiency: Jumping rope regularly can improve cardiovascular endurance and help you to be less winded during other activities, such as jogging or playing with your kids.
Why jumping rope is hard
It can be terrifying to start jumping rope after not having done it since childhood. At first, your coordination is off; you can’t seem to stop hitting your feet with the rope (pro tip: wear shoes when you do this). You also can’t seem to get into the rhythm, but eventually, you start to get the hang of it.
How to start jumping rope
So, where to begin? Here are a few pointers that will get you on your way to jumping rope like a pro:
- Get the right rope: The proper sized rope will come up to your armpits when you stand in the middle of it.
- Learn proper form: Keep your elbows near your body and your upper body relaxed. Keep your back straight. Don't look at your feet - look straight forward.
- Stay low: Keeping your jumps low to the ground decreases the amount of stress on your joints as you are doing this activity, making it more of a medium impact activity, like a brisk walk.
- Start small: Start by jumping rope in between strength training stations at the gym.
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