The thought of jumping rope may take you back to elementary days of recess on the playground. Or, perhaps you picture Sylvester Stallone as the iconic Rocky Balboa, training for his next boxing match. Either way, for pleasure or for purpose, the act of jumping rope offers many health benefits and even dates back to ancient Egyptians who hopped over vines and bamboo.
“Jumping rope is a fantastic cardiorespiratory exercise that involves strength, coordination and cognitive activation,” says John Jackson, a personal trainer and owner of Impact Fitness in Tulsa. “Jumping rope raises your heart rate with dynamic movement of the entire body, working together to skip over a rope. This can enhance cardiovascular conditioning – no matter what level the participant is starting at.”
He says jumping rope can improve strength and bone density because it requires you to bound from the ground repetitively.
“This strengthens the tendons and fascia of the lower legs,” says Jackson. “Also, the motor activity involved in jumping rope will ultimately boost your central nervous system, thus helping your cognitive function and ability.”
Jennifer Daley, programs coordinator for The Health Zone at Saint Francis, says as a full body workout, jumping rope is a quick and easy way to raise your heart rate and burn calories.
“A person can get cardiovascular benefits in a shorter amount of time when they add jump rope to their exercise routine,” she says.
In addition, Daley says the exercise helps increase coordination, as well as the elasticity and resiliency of lower-leg muscles, leading to a reduced risk of injury.
“Jump rope is an easy way to add intensity to a circuit workout and is also a very affordable and portable piece of equipment for home, office or travel,” she says.
Jackson adds the reminder that while jumping rope can be both fun and advantageous, you should check with your physician before beginning a new exercise program. He also encourages individuals to make an appointment with a fitness trainer to create a complete workout routine including body warm-up, technical progression and cool down.