If you abandoned the jump rope along with hopscotch on the playground of your youth, it's time to give the jump rope another chance. It's no secret why boxers and mixed martial arts competitors utilize the jump rope for intensive conditioning. The jump rope, when used properly, offers an intense workout for your entire body, improving cardiovascular health while toning muscles, building endurance and sharpening your eye-hand coordination.
Jumping rope gets your heart pumping quickly and is one of the best cardiovascular exercises around. Check your heart rate while jumping rope and you will be surprised at how quickly you hit your target heart rate (50 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate). Increasing your heart rate during intense exercise helps to burn more calories and fat.
According to the Compendium of Physical Activities, jumping rope scores an impressive 11.0 MET (Metabolic Equivalent) rate, which indicates an exercise at the highest intensity level. A 150-pound person burns almost 400 calories by jumping rope for 30 minutes, which will make you feel less guilty about that muffin you had for breakfast.
If weight training leaves you weary and squats make you want to scream, give the jump rope a few twirls. Your leg and arm muscles get quite a rigorous and engaging workout from jumping rope. In addition, your shoulders, abs and glutes receive toning benefits the more you jump rope. Because jumping rope works the entire body, you won’t bulk up in one area too much but instead firm up the flab everywhere.
A for Agility
Improving agility skills is not just for athletes. Agility helps you move through your daily life more efficiently, and if you are juggling the demands of a career and raising a family, every step counts. Jumping rope builds up your foot and hand speed and coordination. Because it strengthens your core, stabilizes your balance and increases your flexibility, jumping rope is a great agility-training workout.
Build Mental Muscle
Jumping rope requires sharp concentration to perform properly. Let that mind wander and you’ll find your feet tangled up in the rope real quick. There’s also the mental focus required in the skills of agility, body rhythm and spatial awareness that are integral to jumping rope. Don’t overlook the stress relief benefits that jumping rope offers. Burn off steam and lift your mood with this fun and invigorating workout.
Joy Johnston has been an online journalist since 2005. She has served as senior producer for the health news website Sharecare and as a digital producer for the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," where she helped develop the health channel. Johnston has also covered ways to stay fit in Atlanta.