Jumping rope provides you with the cardiovascular exercise you need to keep your heart healthy and strong, and can help you strengthen your legs, arms and core. Regular cardio can also help you shed excess pounds and sculpt a lean, healthy body. Jumping rope every day is not necessarily dangerous or painful, but can be hard on the joints. By incorporating several forms of cardio, you can avoid injuring your joints and prevent boredom and burnout.
Rope Jumping Benefits
All cardiovascular exercise, including jumping rope, strengthens your heart muscles and can reduce your risk of heart problems. Regular rope jumping can also improve your balance and coordination. Unlike spot training, which targets only a muscle or a few muscles, jumping rope works out your entire body and therefore can help you burn calories and shed fat much more quickly than situps, crunches, weight lifting and other forms of targeted exercise.
Rope Jumping Risks
Cardiovascular exercises that cause you to repeatedly jump and land on a hard surface, such as jumping rope and running, can be particularly hard on your knees and ankles. If you have joint injuries, osteoarthritis or other joint problems, regularly jumping rope can exacerbate these injuries. Jumping on an uneven surface can increase your risk of falling and cause muscular imbalances that cause pain in your back, legs and throughout your body.
If you have no joint problems, jumping rope every day can be an excellent part of your fitness routine. However, jumping rope will only fulfill your cardiovascular exercise needs if you jump long enough and maintain appropriate intensity. Intensity is partially determined by speed; jumping quickly generally increases intensity. Moderate-intensity jumping will elevate your heart rate slightly, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation. High-intensity jumping, however, will cause you to feel winded and make it impossible to carry on a conversation. Your heart rate will increase to 70 percent to 80 percent of its maximum rate. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get 70 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio per week or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise.
If you find that you have joint pain if you jump too long or too frequently, you'll need to incorporate other forms of exercise into your cardio routine. Try cycling, running or jumping on a trampoline. A trampoline is especially useful if you like jumping, because it reduces the impact to your joints. You should also, according to the CDC, perform strength exercises such as weight lifting at least two days per week.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.