Jumping rope is an effective way to burn calories and tone the muscles throughout your body, but if this exercise causes pain in your knees, you'll quickly hang up your rope and let it collect dust. Jumping rope can be a high-impact exercise for your joints, but with the right technique, you'll feel as though you're back in elementary school, skipping to your heart's content at recess.
Find an area that has a soft floor, which is conducive to jumping rope. Soft flooring, such as a surface made of rubber, is ideal. Cushioned vinyl flooring is also suitable, while hard surfaces such as concrete, asphalt and hardwood flooring can cause soreness in your joints. If you don't have access to a suitable floor, use a foam or rubber mat. You don't necessarily need several feet of clearance above your head to successfully jump rope. A room with a standard eight-foot ceiling provides enough space.
Jump rope using a technique with which you're comfortable. Some people prefer jumping with their feet together, while others enjoy alternating feet as though they're running on the spot. Focus on taking the smallest jumps possible; you only need to raise your feet about an inch off the ground to allow the rope to pass below you.
Bend your legs as you jump rope to reduce the impact on your knee joints. If you jump with stiff legs, each jump sends a shock to your knees, but if you keep your legs bent and use your knees as shock absorbers, you can jump with minimal impact.
Perform this activity for 10 minutes, then take a break. Take notice of how your knees feel, and note whether you're experiencing any pain. If you feel pain in your knees, stop the activity and consider finding another exercise to help you stay in shape.
- As you increase your speed while jumping rope, you don't need to increase the impact. Be aware of any bad habits, such as higher jumps, that develop as you jump rope faster.
- Jumping rope is an effective calorie burner. According to a Harvard Medical School report on the Harvard Health Publications website, a person who weighs 155 pounds and jumps rope for 30 minutes will burn 372 calories.
- Always consult a doctor before beginning a new type of workout.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.