If you thought a skipping rope was just for school children, it’s time to think again. Skipping is one of the most effective, full-body workouts you can get – and it comes with a whole host of other benefits.
© Drobot Dean / Adobe Stock
If you’re looking to lose weight, then grab a skipping rope to watch the calories melt away. Research has shown that an hour of skipping can burn as many as 1,300 calories. For those seeking an extra calorie-burning hit or to build strength, choose a skipping rope with weighted handles. Or, if fast skipping is your thing, opt for handles that are short and light.
An effective alternative to running
We all know that running is good for all-round fitness and weight loss, but, the reality is, running just isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. This is where a skipping rope can excel. The British Rope Skipping Association (BRSA) reckons that just 10 minutes of skipping has the same effect on the body as running for 45 minutes. Even better, skipping puts less strain on your joints than running, as you land on your toes rather than exert pressure on the knees.
Skipping gives your body a full workout, with your abdominal muscles stabilising your core and posture, your legs used for jumping and your arms and shoulders turning the rope. As well as toning both the upper and lower part of your body, regular skipping can improve your balance, coordination and flexibility. Plus, by strengthening the ankles, feet, knees and calves, skipping can reduce injuries in these areas.
Boosts heart health
Skipping is great for getting the blood pumping around the body, improving your heart health and blood pressure.
Protects your bones
One of the virtues of jumping rope is that it can help to boost bone density, which declines after the age of 35. Experts claim that as little as 10 jumps with a skipping rope twice daily can provide more bone-building gains than running. As a weight-bearing workout, skipping may, therefore, keep osteoporosis at bay.
It’s not just the body that stands to benefit when you jump rope; the mind also gains from this activity. Skipping can increase your alertness and concentration, as you focus on jumping in rhythm to the turning of the rope. It’s an activity that makes you aware of what’s happening in the present time, so is a great form of mindfulness. Studies also suggest that skipping fine-tunes the development of both the left and right sides of the brain, helping to hone our memory, awareness and reading abilities.
The beauty of a skipping rope is that you can easily carry it around with you, enabling you to use it anytime and anywhere, at your own pace. You can also try different techniques of skipping to mix your routines up a bit, such as jumping on a single leg, jogging as you skip or making high jumps. Skipping is also one of the few activities you can do on your own or in a group, so grab a few chums and a couple of long ropes and play Double Dutch skipping for a fun and sociable workout.
Cheap and cheerful
If you’re looking to get fit without splashing out the cash, you can’t get much better than skipping. All you need is a rope to get started, and these are inexpensive to buy. As an easy exercise to master, you’ll also realise how much fun skipping is, reminding you of your childhood days.