It might be a little embarrassing to tell your friends that you can't go dancing with them on Friday night because you hurt your knees walking or jumping rope, but if you're not careful, that's exactly what can happen. Both exercises are worth adding to your workout regimen, but only if you perform them correctly to lessen the impact to your joints.
Being active is key to keeping healthy, and a workout regimen that includes walking or jumping rope several days a week will help you meet the recommended exercise guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Regarding aerobic activities, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise each week. These numbers are the recommended minimum and by walking or jumping rope for 30 to 40 minutes a day, you'll easily eclipse the mark.
Walking is a low-impact exercise that is ideal for those with pain in their knees and other joints in their lower body. If you choose to walk with large, heavy steps, you'll likely feel pain in your knees, but if you keep your steps small and place each foot on the ground softly, the exercise will be pain free. Wearing comfortable shoes with adequate padding is another key to ensuring your walk is a low-impact exercise.
At first glance, jumping rope might seem as though it's a high-impact exercise, but this statement is only true if you jump incorrectly. The correct way to jump rope is by bending your knees to absorb the impact of each jump and to take small jumps; lifting your feet just an inch off the ground is enough. When jumping rope, choose a surface that is soft, such as a rubber or foam mat, and wear shoes that provide ample support. By following these guidelines, you should be able to jump rope daily without experiencing knee pain.
When considering a low-impact, aerobic activity to add to your workout regimen, walking and jumping rope are both suitable choices. As with any exercise, consult a doctor before attempting it. If you're sore the day after walking or jumping rope, take one or more days off before attempting the activity again. If pain persists, consult a doctor. Devote time to stretching your body, especially the muscles in your legs, before walking or jumping rope.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- Mayo Clinic: Exercise for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in 1 Hour
- American Council on Exercise: Jumping Rope: Not Just for Kids Anymore
- Bodybuilding.com: Jump Rope Training
- Mayo Clinic: Walking: Trim Your Waistline, Improve Your Health
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.