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Jumping Rope isn’t just for kids! Though, it’s an exercise adults often overlook. Jumping rope helps develop agility, coordination, balance and body awareness. Plus, it improves cardiovascular and muscular endurance. Current research indicates high impact activities, such as jumping rope, can help maintain or build healthy bones. Jumping rope also helps strengthen the arms and shoulders.
Another big plus is that the cost is minimal – a place to jump, a good rope properly sized for the jumper and a pair of supportive athletic shoes are all you need.
Although the origin of jumping rope is uncertain, many cultures practiced the game, with versions being known among Aboriginal cultures, China and Egypt. The first concrete evidence of jump rope activity is in medieval paintings where children roll hoops and jump rope down the cobblestone streets.
Jumping rope, in some form or another, spread through Europe and eventually to North America. Early Dutch settlers were some of the first jump ropers in America. As a result, one of the more popular jumping games is called "Double Dutch."
Now, fitness centers often incorporate jumping rope as part of a short cardio component. Jumping rope is also integrated into various exercise routines, such as Pilates, kickboxing and boxing. Many team sports training programs incorporate it as a warm up and conditioning tool for improving overall athletic performance.
In addition, occupational therapists recognize the value of jumping rope as a fun and inexpensive way to promote heart health, prevent childhood obesity and help develop bone mass in the hip and lumbar region of the spine.
Unlike running, jumping rope is less likely to lead to knee damage. The impact of each jump is absorbed by the balls of both feet rather than the heels, which reduce the ground reaction forces through the patella-femoral joint.
Janet Stout Everly, EdD, OTR, uses jumping rope in her private practice and classes at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. “I saw the value of jumping rope as a therapeutic medium, an occupation-based activity suitable for all children,” says Everly.
Jumping rope is a great way to add variety to your exercise program. Best of all, it’s an exercise that is fun, entertaining and highly enjoyable. Studies have shown that people stick with activities that are accessible and enjoyable, so why not give jumping rope a try?
Benefits of jumping rope
Jumping rope compared to other forms of exercise
Rope jumping is one of the most efficient ways to develop cardiovascular fitness because it is a total body movement.
Jumping rope for 10 minutes at 120 RPM produces the same cardiovascular fitness as the following activities:
Cycling 2 miles 6 minutes
Handball 20 minutes
Jogging 30 minutes at a moderate pace
Running 1 mile 12 minutes
Swimming 720 yards 12 minutes
Tennis 2 sets
Jump Roping essentials
All you really need are some comfortable shoes and a good, properly sized jump rope. The best shoe choice is either aerobic shoes or cross-trainers. Whatever shoe you decide on, make sure they have a reinforced toe and provide extra cushioning for the ball of the foot.
Jump ropes are made from a variety of materials and feature various grip styles. Ropes with weighted handles can be cumbersome and are not recommended for the beginner. Instead, select a light-weight jump rope with foam grips so it won't slip away, even if your palms get sweaty.
To choose the right length rope for you: step one foot on the center of the rope and bring both handles up. The handles should reach chest-high.
Learning the basics
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, it’s best to combine it with other aerobic activities, such as walking, biking, or running.
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 or try these jump rope variations
Below are a few crazy jump rope videos to get you inspired!
Jump Rope Rhythm and Rhymes for Kids
Updated April 9. 2013
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