There's a reason elite athletes like boxers include jump roping as a cornerstone of their workouts: it's an incredibly efficient way to burn calories, get conditioned, and have way more fun than getting on a cardio machine for an hour or more.
Here are just a few of the many reasons to add jump roping to your workouts:
1. It burns a ton of calories.
When you jump repeatedly, your body burns 800 to 1,000 calories an hour — compare that to 200 to 300 calories burned per hour while walking.
Even better, jumping rope (especially high-intensity jump roping) makes your body a calorie-burning machine. This means that when you add jump roping into your workout routine, you’ll be burning more calories not just during your workout, but throughout the entire day.
2. You can take it with you anywhere.
Are you traveling, or do you not feel like going to the gym today? Throw your jump rope in your suitcase and bring it with you on vacation or whenever you just want to fit in a quick workout anywhere.
If you’re short on time, even just a 4-minute tabata jump rope workout will help you stay fit when you’re traveling or away from your normal workout routine.
3. It aids in balance and coordination.
Jumping rope can help increase your coordination, which will not only help you excel in any new sport you try, but will keep you healthier and less accident prone later on in life.
And while balance may help you rock a yoga class now, it’s important to maintain throughout your life as well. According to Dr. Daniel W. Barry, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, jumping may be as important as bone strength at avoiding fractures. Says Dr. Barry, in an article in The New York Times: “Fragile bones don’t matter, from a clinical standpoint, if you don’t fall down.”
4. It helps you relax.
When you jump, your body releases endorphins, which act as pain relievers and give you a sense of well-being and relaxation.
What's more, the deep breathing you do while exercising vigorously clears your mind, sharpens your focus and energizes you for the day ahead.
5. It's good for your heart.
February is American Heart Health month, and there's no better workout to get your heart rate up and keep your heart happy than jump roping. Jumping rope on a regular basis improves your cardiovascular fitness, the ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen to working muscles.
If you don't already have a jump rope at home, there are a few things to keep in mind when getting one. First, the thinner the jump rope is, the easier it will be to try speed-focused jump rope styles like double unders.
Second, you'll want to get a rope that, when doubled over, hits at about chest-height. Any longer than that and you're likely to trip up on the rope.
Here are a few jump rope variations you can try on your own:
Single unders: Grab your jump rope with both hands, swing it in front of you then jump over it.
High knees with a jump rope: Grab your jump rope with both hands, then drive your left knee toward your chest as high as you can get it, then immediately bring it to the ground and replace it with your right knee while swinging the rope in front of you.
Double unders: Just like they sound, double unders require you to get the rope under your feet twice in one jump. These are a very advanced form of jump roping, so if you don't get them at first, don't worry! Focus on keeping as tight as possible and keeping your arms by your side as you swing the rope around, and you'll get them with time and practice.