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Skip into spring

Skipping has been verified to be an effective cardio aerobic exercise. Skipping rope helps to tone your calves, tighten your core, build stamina and improve your lung capacity. The benefits of skipping include boosted heart health, as was proven in the old days for the iconic Jump Rope for Heart. But many do not realise the implication for coordination and mindfulness. Skipping also builds bone density and increases our capacity for functionality through the entire body. But these are not the only reasons to pick a rope up or borrow from the kids or grandkids or seek in the shed the humble skipping rope. Over the last few years jumping rope has re-emerged, with numerous scientific studies pointing to its benefits as a quick, highly effective way to spark up health and improve fitness.

6 reasons to give skipping a spark up

1 Helps to develop and maintain a sparked-up exercise routine

We all know that developing a regular workout routine is essential for maintaining a healthy body and mind. But for many of us the big struggle is staying consistent. Skipping is so effective for developing a routine because it removes many of the barriers that kill our routines in the first place, being time, space, weather and enjoyment.

2 The health and body benefits

Given that skipping relies on the nature of jumping up and down many times to produce effects, it’s natural that your legs are going to get a workout, but it also increases and heart rate rapidly, which is excellent news for strength and improved energy. Skipping works major leg muscles, engaging the calves, hamstrings, quads and glutes. Jumping rope strengthens muscles all over your body, including lower body muscles such as calves, hamstrings, quads and glutes; upper body muscles, such as triceps, biceps, chest muscles, shoulders and back muscles; and core muscles such as abdominals and obliques.

These muscles support tendons, ligaments and joints. And the repeated impact of jumping on the ground increases bone density. By building up your body’s strength daily, you can benefit from a lifetime of wellness.

As such, incorporating a jump rope into your daily routine could be an excellent way to help safeguard against long-term cardiovascular illness. It improves coordination and motor skills. Skipping involves coordination to time your jump with the rope. Research has shown that it improves coordination, balance and basic movement skills in children. These are important fitness components for later in life as they reduce our chances of trips and falls.

3 Brain stimulation

We know that exercise is good for the brain. Activities with both physical and mental demands like skipping have higher impacts on cognitive functioning than exercise tasks alone like the treadmill or weights. The best workout for brain function is coordination, rhythm and strategy. And when skipping rope, that means your brain works out with you! Exercise that demands mental focus strengthens your cognitive functioning. Both hemispheres of your brain are active when you are jumping rope. By upping your skills through new tricks, your brain can form new neural connections. In fact, practising every day may protect or stimulate memory.

4 Increased agility and speed and stronger foot and ankle bones

Jumping rope increases bone density due to the repeated impact with the ground every time you jump. To become lighter on your feet, jump rope on the balls of your feet; your body connects with your mind to make “neural muscular adjustments” to maintain balance. Essentially, skipping improves your balance, quickness and coordination by focusing your mind on your feet for sustained periods, even if you’re not conscious of it. This is the reason why boxers or elite athletes warm up by skipping to sharpen their senses, both body and mind.

5 Better mental health

Daily exercise is linked to a reduced risk of developing depression and anxiety. The release of endorphins and the concentrated effort necessary to jump rope help alleviate stress. Even working out for as little as 10 minutes per day improves mood. Try jumping rope outside to absorb some sunshine and get a boost of serotonin. This skipping will also satisfy post-workout exhaustion, contributing to a better sleep. Sufficient deep sleep is linked to higher energy levels and greater emotional satisfaction.

6 Warm up for weights

Skipping is the best form of cardio, but you don’t have to dedicate your entire workout routine to jumping rope. Use a jump rope to warm up your body before starting another physical activity. It’s a quick way to raise your heart rate and get your blood pumping.

What are you waiting for? Find your skip and feel the nostalgia of jumping rope. The workout below is a complete body workout with a fresh taster for skipping. Try it for one month.

30-minute spark workout

You will need a skipping rope, a smile and some sunshine.

  • 2 minutes of jumping rope
  • 20 push-ups
  • 2 minutes of jumping rope
  • 20 bodyweight squats
  • 2 minutes of jumping rope
  • 20 back step lunges
  • 2 minutes of jumping rope
  • 20 reverse climbers
  • 2 minutes of jumping rope
  • 20 single leg raises

Repeat three times.

Rope circuit

  • 1 minute slow
  • 1 minute fast
  • 30 seconds on left leg only
  • 30 seconds on right leg only
  • 1 minute of moving feet in and out in a jumping-jack motion

Article Featured in WellBeing Magazine 207 

Belinda Norton

Belinda Norton

Belinda Norton is health and fitness educator and personal trainer with 23 years’ experience. She is a published author of Fit Mama and writer for Kid Spot, and shares her women’s wellness and body alignment expertise. Belinda is a mother of two teens, speaker and children’s health advocate. Connect with her at blivewear.com or Instagram @Belinda.n.x.

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