What was your favourite playground activity when you were younger? Was it Tag? Or Bullrush? How about Rounders? The Jungle Gym? Or was it Hanging off the monkey bars? Elastics? Or Knucklebones? Mine was Skipping and yet as much as I loved it I outgrew it, as one does with many childhood occupations and so it would have remained but a fond memory, had it not been for a bout of acute insomnia which led to late night tele watching – got to love those infomercials!
So I picked up a jump rope and rediscovered my love for it. Now I can’t get by without my daily fix. Yes for some of us it’s a skinny mocha, pour moi its 1800 jumps in 15 minutes. I’m not so good at being consistent when it comes to exercise; I lack passion for the gym, I don’t live near horses to ride regularly, I’m not a strong enough swimmer, I’m fickle when it comes to running and I’m still a newbie when it comes to cycling. I do love yoga but twice maybe three times a week is enough for me. So skipping has been quite the revelation – an exercise that I feel inspired about and can do everyday AND it is the exercise that keeps on giving – here’s a list of reasons I’ve compiled as to why skipping rocks:
♦You’ve done it before so you know what to do. Who didn’t jump rope when they were younger even if it wasn’t something you did by choice at lunchtime, you still had to for Phys-Ed or at the very least for the jump rope for heart fundraisers.
♦You can do it anywhere; backyard, garage, in front of the tele, in a park, hotel room, foyer – basically any empty four by six foot area.
♦Totally portable, you can take the rope with you in your handbag/man bag and it’s a fits all ages and sizes exercise.
♦The only gear you need is your workout clothes (ladies, a good sport bra is a must) and a jump rope.
♦Assuming you already own workout gear the only outlay is for the jump rope and if you still have your rope from when you were young happy days you don’t have to spend a single cent. Although it has to be said ropes are fancier now, forget cloth ropes, most are now made from moulded plastic, metal wire coated in acrylic or space-age polymers – all made to be smoother and lighter. There are also digital ones available that can track number of jumps, time taken, calories lost.
♦When I started skipping I knew if I was consistent I could end up with killer calves. I have since learnt that it is a full body workout for apart from using your legs for jumping, shoulders and arms for turning the rope it hits almost every muscle in some way chiefly the biceps (front of upper arm), triceps (back of upper arm), forearms, deltoids (shoulder) core (abdominals, lower back and obliques), glutes (butt), quadriceps (top of thigh) and of course your calves. This makes skipping the perfect total body toning exercise. It’s high intensity cardio so using a jump rope improves your heart rate and blood pressure. Other health benefits – it is less jolting on your joints than running AND improves flexibility AND as skipping forces you to keep a rhythmic pace and use proper form it enhances your coordination and balance AND it is a weight-bearing exercise so can help in improving bone density, which we need to ward off osteoporosis.
♦Once you get into a flow there are many different variations, there is no boredom factor.
♦You can do it at your own pace for as long as you like. It does take a few attempts to get into a rhythm but even a few minutes skipping can make a difference to your well being. It has taken me a good few months to work up to my current regime, this involves doing three 5 minute bursts with 10 second rest in between twice a day.
Skipping – Easy, Convenient, Fun and Good for you. I totally recommend it. Relive your youth and have a go.