Top 10 Awesome Skipping Rope Benefits
People are constantly looking for new and better ways to get in top shape. They join gyms, clock up their credit card on Infomercial gadgets and sign up to fitness classes, often to no avail. But, what if the most effective workout tool to burn calories, supercharge your cardio fitness and work the muscles of your body has been at your fingertips the whole time? Well, it has - it’s called the skipping rope.
In this article, I’ll lay out ten indisputable reasons why the humble skipping rope should be the centerpiece of your fitness routine.
It’s a Great Calorie Burner
When it comes to weight loss, it’s all about your caloric balance. If you end the day having used up more calories than you have brought in, your body will have no choice but to make use of your stored fat reserves. The main way to achieve that negative calorie balance is to eat less food. The next best thing is to burn more calories through exercise. So, the more calories an exercise burns, the more efficient it is for weight loss.
Skipping excels in terms of calorie burn in comparison to other forms of exercise. If you were to jump rope for an hour, you would burn somewhere in the neighborhood of 800-1000 calories. That is a greater calorie burn that you’d get from the same amount of time on a treadmill, exercise bike, elliptical or rowing machine.
The amount of calories that you will burn while jumping depends on the following variables:
- Your weight
- Your jumping speed
- The nature of your jumping routine
The heavier you are, the more calories you will burn. A faster jumping speed will also increase your calorie expenditure, as will the complexity of the routine. As an average, however, you will burn one tenth of a calorie with every jump. That may not sound much, but if you can knock out 2000 skips, you will have churned through 200 calories.
Calories burned in 60 minutes
Enhanced Cardiovascular Health
Skipping is an excellent way to improve the health of your cardiovascular system. After a few seconds of skipping, your heart will be forced to pump harder to move the blood and oxygen around your body. This makes the heart stronger so that it is able to push more blood with every contraction.
The stronger your heart is, the greater your VO2 Max will be. This is a measure of your body’s ability to utilize oxygen during exercise. The higher your VO2 Max, the greater your cardiovascular endurance will be.
Skipping will also reduce a person’s cardiovascular health risk. Research shows that a regular exercise program of rope jumping will improve the following cardio health markers …
- Blood Pressure
- Resting Heart Rate
- Body Fat Percentage
Balance and Coordination
Many people who are not used to skipping quickly discover that it requires quite a lot of balance and coordination. While it may be frustrating at first, the body will quickly adapt to the challenge and your eye / foot coordination as well as that between your wrists and feet will improve dramatically.
Once you have mastered the basic jump, there are all manner of variations to continue challenging your coordination. That means that there is no end to the potential benefits in this area. Improved balance and coordination becomes increasingly important as we age. After the age of sixty, falls are a leading cause of injury so the more coordinated you are, the safer you will be.
Coordination is all about the body working in unison. Every skip requires that you reset your body’s coordination. This forces your body to operate more functionally as a whole unit. This is especially important if you do a lot of weight training that works your muscles individually.
Agility is the ability to move freely and easily. An agile person is fit, coordinated, supple, energetic, vibrant and athletic. Skipping will help you to be that person. It will make you light on your feet, so that you are quickly able to make lateral body movements. That’s one reason why skip training is popular among athletes and sports people. It helps them to jump higher, make faster lateral movements and more efficiently change direction on the field.
Skipping will not, in itself, build a substantial amount of muscle. But it will activate the key muscles of your body, especially those of the lower limbs. One area that will show significant size increase is the calves. The repetitive jumping action will place the load of your body weight on your calves, forcing them to respond.
Other muscles that are actively worked through rope jumping are the quadriceps, shoulders, forearms and glutes. You can increase muscle activation by using a heavier weight rope and by wearing ankle weights.
Every time you skip you are engaging the muscle of your core. Those muscles - the transverse and rectus abdominis, intercostals, obliques and erector spinae - work together to brace your body and enhance your coordination and body stability.
Skipping will strengthen your core and, as a result of its calorie burning ability, help you to get rid of stored body fat around your midsection.
Skipping is one of the cheapest, most simple and portable pieces of exercise equipment that exist. The portability means that you can carry it anywhere with you, enabling you to get in a workout wherever you are. That means that there is no barrier to consistency, which is the number one factor that contributes to exercise goal achievement.
The portability of a skipping rope also makes it an ideal travel companion. Often our good exercise habits get stalled when we have to go on a business trip. But not when you’ve got your skipping rope packed in the corner of your suitcase.
You can also take your skipping rope down to the beach with you or to any other favorite outdoor workout venue. That makes your training more enjoyable and versatile.
Great for HIIT & Circuit Training
High Intensity Interval Training has become a popular form of cardio exercise due to its effectiveness in terms of calorie burn and cardio efficiency. It involves performing short sharp exercise at full intensity, followed by even shorter rest periods. Skipping is an ideal exercise to use with HIIT training because it allows you to transition very quickly from fast to slow exercise.
Circuit training involves moving through a circuit that switches from a resistance to a cardio exercise over 10-15 exercises. Rope jumping is perfect for this because it allows you to have your rope right by your resistance exercise equipment so that you can go directly from one move to the next.
Various studies have shown that skipping improves cognitive functioning. The coordination between the brain, wrists and ankles involves adopting new motor pathways, improving the neural pathways between your active levels and the brain. As a result, your overall mental sharpness will be heightened.
Mindfulness is all about being consciously present in the moment so that you are acutely aware of what your body and mind are doing. All exercise promotes that state to a certain extent. But , it’s still possible to zone out when, for instance, you are walking on a treadmill.
When you’re skipping, however, you need to be plugged in the whole time. The second that you start thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner, you are going to trip up. As a result, you are forced to stay present in the moment for the entire time that you’re jumping rope - that’s good for you!
For the cost of the equipment and the time investment, skipping is one of the most beneficial forms of cardiovascular exercise you can do. If you’re not a confident rope jumper, take it slowly, be patient with yourself and set your time targets. Start with 30 seconds of jumping without a break, then go for 45 seconds. Pretty soon you’ll be skipping like a pro.