Want to know one of the best-kept secrets in the world of cardio workouts and weight loss?
It’s not only professional boxers that benefit from this exercise, as a Rocky rerun might lead us to believe.
Jumping rope is an underrated activity with amazing benefits that should not be overlooked.
Let’s face it, we have limited time to get our workouts in every day so why not make the most of an exercise that doubles up with physical and mental health at the same time.
When we jump rope, we not only work our lower body and our core, but we increase coordination by engaging the information processing centers of the brain. Coordination and balance, like any other physical exercise, can be improved through practice.
Boxers, surfers, and gymnasts have all use jump roping as part of their workout routines for that very reason.
These athletes all engage in activities that rely heavily on better than average hand-eye coordination.
If you’re a bit older and feel like running, cycling or hiking is just not a valid form of cardio anymore, it’s time to pick up a jump rope.
Start comfortably, build slowly and you will see the benefits start to emerge.
Add it to the routine and remember that we don’t believe in the misconceptions that seniors should engage in minimal to no physical exercise. We believe in adapting exercise to fit the age group.
Cognitive benefits from jumping come quickly. In fact, studies have shown that prolonged exercise such as a two-hour run can actually inhibit information processing, while acute exercise like jumping rope can increase it. Less time, more efficiency. We like those numbers.
Getting out in nature & mixing it up
We hear it all the time- getting outside when possible is a great way to stay motivated and build an exercise routine.
As we have all discovered at one time or another, keeping your routines fresh means you are less likely to give up on them after a few weeks.
Remember that time you made a New Year’s Resolution to run every day, and it only lasted two weeks?
Taking the jump rope outside provides you with an additional activity to do in the park, on the field beside your house, or even in the parking lot during your lunch break.
You can breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the sites and sounds and allow the cool breeze to cool you down naturally.
Why not take your jump rope on your next run, and do a combination of the two.
When your mind has had enough and tells you to stop running, jump for a few minutes instead. When you tire of that, break into a jog again. Trust us, it’s all about mixing it up!
Portability and Accessibility
You can take your jump rope anywhere. Once you get over the fact that people may look at you funny, the world is your gym.
Remember that if they look at you, they are likely internally inspired by your pro-activity. Jumping ropes come in all sizes, materials and weight categories.
We would recommend purchasing one that is appropriate for your needs, and not made from cheap plastic that is going to make it more difficult to use.
Jumping ropes made for children can do the trick in a bind, but investing in a more comfortable rope that is adjustable to your height and has a well-constructed grip will make the transition of getting used to the new activity easier.
It will also prevent unwanted and unnecessary blisters caused by cheap ropes not designed for adult attention spans.
Jump ropes are also a perfect travel companion when you are on the road, on a business trip or on that 6-month sabbatical you are working towards.
For digital nomads and remote workers travelling the world, it is often hard to maintain a daily exercise routine. The hassle of finding new gym memberships can be deflating. Starting a 30-minute jump rope routine every morning as soon as you wake up will get the heart going and set you up for the day.
Running vs. Jumping
Feeling stressed? Just go for a run!
How many times have we heard this from friends, family and even our personal trainers?
There is truth in it, going for a run is a great way to clear the head, enjoy the fresh air and get the endorphins pumping. But running can also have wear and tear on the body and can result in sore muscles and ligaments. These provide readily available excuses to stop your routine.
Unlike jumping, running results in a full foot strike which can lead to an increased number of injuries.
Jumping rope not only engages the lower body, but it requires balance, core strength and coordination. It is a full-body workout which increases oxygen consumption.
To put it simply, jumping rope is a more efficient and physically demanding activity than running, and we can do it for a shorter period of time to get the same results.
This makes it perfect when we lack the flexibility of schedule or are dealing with time constraints.
Remember that business trip, chock-full of meetings, dinner reservations and report briefings? Bang out a high-intensity 20-minute jump workout instead of an hour-long run.
The Calorie Killer for Weight Loss
If your goal is to burn calories and lose weight, you’re in luck. Jumping rope has been shown to be one of the most effective aerobic exercises for burning calories as it has a “burn rate” of up to 1300 calories per hour.
How vigorously you jump will determine the number of calories you burn, the same way your speed of running will dictate the same. According to medical sources, it is roughly accepted that in order to lose weight, we need to have a 3,500 caloric deficit to lose one pound.
As discussed earlier, jumping rope has been shown to be a more efficient form of exercise as it uses the whole body and is deceptively hard.
Incorporating a short jumping session into your daily routine is convenient and comfortable, and if done consistently can have the health benefits you desire. Weight loss comes down to diet, routine and setting yourself up for success. Jumping rope takes less time, and can be more fun.
Affordability & Fun
Exercise routines can be daunting, and it is easy to get down on ourselves when we don’t live up to our own expectations. But slow and steady wins the race, and those that shoot out of the gate too strong often burn out.
Personal trainers are awesome as they hold us accountable. But they are expensive.
Gym memberships provide great equipment and facilities, and a community of people to work out with. But they are expensive and time-consuming. Just commuting back and forth to the gym every day might not be worth the investment.
Jump ropes are not an expensive investment in your health.
They are a tool that can be used to start a new routine or shake up an old one. We can take them with us wherever we go, or we can buy a couple and leave them around to ensure there is always one available.
Most importantly, jump roping is fun. Take off the headphones and blast the music on your speaker. Jump with friends.
Download a jump rope app in order to keep the workouts fresh and challenging. Challenge yourself to solve a riddle during your session.
Join a jump rope community. Or just add it on to your existing workout for variation.
Chris is an experienced Calisthenics practitioner focused on isometric exercises and street workout. He founded thehybridathlete.com in 2017, which was subsequently acquired by theyhybridathlete.com
He is based in Portland and has been working out using solely his own body weight and bars for the past 6 years.