Here’s an exercise that improves cardiovascular fitness, strengthens muscles, burns calories — plus you can do it anywhere and it’s cheap.
It sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t. Jumping rope is a great workout for people of all fitness levels and all it takes to get started is a pair of training shoes and a jump rope.
According to Healthline, jumping rope does more than just get your heart pumping — the act of jumping itself activates upper and lower body muscles, which improves muscle strength and builds endurance. Jumping rope also enhances explosive power, which is a crucial component of functional exercise for exercisers of all ages, according to Human Kinetics.
Once you get the go-ahead from your doctor, you’ll need to choose the right rope, and you don’t have to spend a fortune. A basic rope with a thick cable or the beaded fitness ropes you might remember from gym class are ideal. Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s about three feet longer than your height.
According to Self, jump roping with improper form can lead to injury, or at the very least tire you out more quickly. When it’s time to jump, keep your core engaged and your posture straight, elbows tight to your body and shoulders relaxed. Don’t swing at the elbows to control the rope — use your wrists instead. Aim to jump just one or two inches off the ground. Any higher will wear you out faster and make it harder for you to stay in rhythm.
If you’re new to fitness, try jumping in shorter bursts of about 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds of rest for five minutes. Focus on form and consistency, increasing rest periods when needed. As your fitness level and coordination improve, you can increase your active periods and decrease your rest periods, lengthen your workouts and mix in more advanced moves than the basic jump.