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Why Jumping Rope Isn’t Just for Kids

woman jumping rope
Brunilda Nazario, MD - Blogs
By Brunilda Nazario, MDBoard-certified internist and endocrinologistMarch 26, 2018
From the WebMD Archives

As a doctor, I’ve learned that if I want to get folks to get on board with exercising, I need to find the right motivation for them and then suggest an exercise that is seemingly easy and fun. And it has to be an activity they can do consistently – because that’s really key.

One of my favorites to suggest: Jumping rope. It’s easy, effective, convenient, and even fun. After all, who doesn’t like playtime? As adults, one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to stay engaged in fun activities. And jumping a rope is nothing too challenging. It has the ease of kids’ play, and it’s perfect for social time. Nobody should jump rope alone!

Plus, jump ropes don’t intimidate….they’re an easy, cheap, and quick way to start an exercise routine. And it can be done at home – no gym required.

Jump rope is a low-impact activity, and according to the American Academy of Exercise, a 10-minute session is equivalent to an 8-minute mile. Translation: It’s a quick way to burn calories.

Not only is it a great workout, jumping rope also improves coordination, strengthens back, arm, and calf muscles, improves your cardiovascular fitness, and helps you focus. It improves agility, quickness, and creativity.

And it’s a great way to get co-workers away from their desks. I took a leap of faith recently and started a jump rope challenge in my office. I wanted to show my co-workers how a little bit of exercise could go a long way to improving your health. Now, my co-workers and I meet weekly at the office gym. We jump, we chat, and we talk about health. I try to challenge the dialogue of “I can’t” and change that to “I’ve started.” Besides the fact that we’re burning lots of calories, my real achievement has been to get people to have fun moving and to help them start to make exercise a part of their lives

Want to try it for yourself? A few things to keep in mind as before you start: Exercising with a jump rope should be low impact, so your form is key in reducing the risk of injury. I always suggests trying to do jumps without the rope at first. Jumping shouldn’t be more than an inch or two off the ground. Your landing should be on the balls of your feet.

Add a rope when you’re ready. You’ll trip up at first – it’s all about coordinating your hands and feet. Then, when you’re ready, add your favorite songs and funky moves and have fun.

As far as ropes go, I’d start with a lightweight ¼ pound PVC cord or plastic rope. You can go up in weight as you gain skills. PVC will give the rope some form compared to ropes made of cloth. It helps you jump more efficiently and faster. Purchase a rope with handles that contain ball bearings, this helps the rope move smoothly around and under you, it reduces rope tangles.

The next time you’re making plans to meet a friend for coffee, consider jumping together instead.

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About the Author
Brunilda Nazario, MD

Brunilda Nazario, MD, is the Lead Medical Director at WebMD and is responsible for reviewing WebMD content and ensuring its accuracy, timeliness, and credibility. She is a board certified Internist and Endocrinologist, she is also certified in Advanced Diabetes Management. Upon completion of a certification in bariatric medicine, Dr Nazario is now a Diplomate for the American Board of Obesity Medicine.

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