Devon lives in Nashville, TN, works in the tech and consulting industry, and is a self-proclaimed fitness nerd.
Often thought of as a toy used for children's play on a playground, skipping rope is one of the most effective, full-body cardiovascular exercises you can do... regardless of your age. I started jumping rope as an adult about two years ago and have found it to be one of the most enjoyable and productive movements I now perform. Though not an exhaustive list, below are seven wonderful benefits most can expect to experience when consistently jumping rope.
1. Burn Fat Fast
Jumping rope is one of the most effective exercises for fat loss available to us. There are all kinds of differing opinions on the specific calories you burn jumping rope (which makes sense since your weight, intensity, etc will all play a factor), but the bottom line is, jumping rope burns a ton of fat. Some studies have shown intense jumping burns 1300 calories an hour and others have compared jumping for 10 minutes to jogging for 30... I don't know about you, but I would much rather jump rope for 10 minutes than jog for 30!
2. Increase Coordination and Bone Density
Jumping rope will help you with your coordination and body awareness as you have to think about your feet and hand movement. This can make you light on your feet and increase your ankle strength (i.e. see all of the boxers who use jumping rope as a staple to increase their cardio and nimbleness). The effects of jumping rope carries over in to just about any other sport or activity.
Jumping also increases your bone density. Dr. Daniel W. Barry, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, at Denver, and a researcher who has studied the bones of the elderly and of athletes, says that the latest studies show simply jumping is one of the best exercises for improving bone density. In studies in Japan, having mice jump up and land 40 times during a week increased their bone density significantly after 24 weeks... a gain they maintained by hopping up and down only about 20 or 30 times each week after that.
3. Enhance Your Mental Clarity and Mood
With improved coordination and flowing endorphins, it only stands to reason that jumping rope will improve your mental health. Aside from the proven benefits that high-intensity exercise has in releasing all of those feel-good hormones and endorphins (which definitely come after a good jump session), the simple act of focusing and overcoming the physical challenge of jumping rope for an extended period of time can have a massive mental "trickle effect." The professional boxer, "Office Warrior" parent of any age have found jumping rope can actually make you calmer in adverse situations. The Jump Rope Institute attributes this to the biomechanical perspective. “As one dissects this exercise further and views it from a biomechanical perspective, it represents a composite movement combining a circular motion with an angular momentum. The body resembles a projectile subject to all the laws that govern projectile motion while the rope becomes a dynamic flywheel subject to all the laws that govern rotary motion. It is in the synchronous and harmonious coordination of these movements where the secrets and benefits are received.” I can attest to this and have found that after I jump rope there can almost be a "zen" like state that carries over into other situations.
4. Improve Your Cardiovascular Health
While this could be viewed as a bit of an overlap of the first point, the benefit jumping rope has on your heart cannot be overlooked. Jumping rope will bring improve your lymphatic system, breathing efficiency, and heart health. Look no further than the fact that we have an entire organization entitled "Jump Rope for Hearts."
5. Build Muscle
Now, this may be a bit of a stretch as jumping rope should definitely not be the primary exercise to get you ready for a bodybuilding competition, but jumping rope does provide enough resistance to various parts of your body that you will build some muscle when performed on a regular basis. This is greatly enhanced if you use a heavier rope (Crossrope has some great heavy ropes to choose from). When using a heavy rope (or a regular jump rope), you will naturally utilize your calves and other leg muscles, but I have found that what often causes me to need to stop due to muscle fatigue is my shoulders or forearms! In fact, I would venture to say you could view jumping rope as a nearly full body workout due to the stabilization needed while jumping, bringing in your abs to join the party with the rest of your upper and lower body.
6. Eliminate Excuses
I love the interesting complicated workouts we can now do at many gyms, but there is something to be said about the simplicity of jumping rope. It conjures up images of Rocky 4 where he is jumping rope in the cabin while Drago is doing his high-tech workouts in the city. A quality entry-level jump rope will cost you $15-$20 and is something you can bring with you just about anywhere: to the park, on vacation, in the gym or in your house. It is an excuse eliminator.
7. Have Fun
I saved the best for last. While I am thankful jumping rope will burn fat, increase coordination and enhance your bone density, strengthen your heart, build muscle, and eliminate excuses, at the end of the day, one of the main reasons I jump is it's fun! I love popping in some music and jumping to the beat of the songs. I'll mix in different jumps and basically spend 30 minutes dancing while forgetting about the 6 points above. I actually look forward to jumping rope because it's interesting and doesn't feel like a boring chore. One major factor to any sustainable exercise plan is having at least some level of enjoyment. Jumping rope brings that enjoyment to where I want to do it again. I hope you will try it out so you can experience these same 7 benefits that I have!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.