Skipping rope is an exercise that requires little equipment; a jump rope and a pair of exercise shoes are all you need to get started. When done vigorously, skipping rope can burn up to 135 calories in 10 minutes, according to Fitness magazine. To make sure your rope is an appropriate length, stand in the center of the rope and hold an end in both hands. If the rope is chest-height or greater, it is too long.
If you are a beginner, start by jumping rope at a relaxed rate, landing on the balls of both feet simultaneously. As your skill increases, try switching which foot you land on, alternating with each jump. Use this level as your jump rope workout until you are able to perform 150 jumps without missing any jumps in a three- to five-minute period.
Athletes who need an intense workout should start with five to 10 minutes of skipping rope at baseline level as a warmup. After that, alternate between 15 second bursts of medium and fast jumping. Medium level rope skipping is between 160 and 180 jumps per minute, and fast jumping is between 180 and 220 jumps per minute. Work your way up to 30 seconds of fast jumping for every 15 seconds of slow skipping. Perform five-minute sets, working your way up to 10-minute sets over time.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children need at least 60 minutes of aerobic activity per day, and on three of these days, the activity should be vigorous. Jumping rope can be either moderately or vigorously aerobic, depending on the intensity with which the jumping is done. This exercise also helps strengthen kids’ growing bones. Skipping rope can be incorporated easily into games and competitions, making it ideal for children.
When you jump, hold onto the handles tightly. This will keep you from dropping them and falling on the rope. Hold your elbows close to your body, near your waist. Keep your back straight and your head up, rather than looking down. To minimize the impact on your feet, ankles and knees, only jump a few inches off the ground – just enough to let the rope pass under your feet.
Susan Presley has worked in health care journalism since 2007, and has been published in the American Journal of Nursing and other academic periodicals. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Truman State University and a Master of Divinity degree from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.