Every fitness enthusiast has heard about the many wonderful ways in which cycling and running are great for one’s health. Yet in some ways, skipping rope (aka jump rope) may actually be better for you! This is certainly true when you consider how skipping rope can help you achieve weight loss.
The Weight Loss Advantages of Skipping Rope
When you jump rope, you involve all your joints and muscles. Skipping rope can burn calories more efficiently than running. Studies show that the number of calories you burn when you jump rope for 10 minutes is the same number of calories you burn when you run for half an hour. Imagine cutting down the time you spend on exercises by two-thirds! In a year, the time you save can be substantial indeed.
Skipping rope is also more effective in suppressing your cravings than cycling. In one Japanese study, it was demonstrated that three sets of jump rope exercises resulted in more effective appetite suppression than cycling and burning an equivalent number of calories. One hypothesis for this finding is that the greater muscle discomfort and fatigue caused by jumping leads to less craving for food.
A jump rope doesn’t really cost all that much and you don’t need special equipment and gear. With running and cycling, you need fancy and expensive equipment to do it indoors, and for outdoors you’ll need pricey footwear for running and an expensive bike for cycling.
How to Skip Rope Properly
Skipping rope is an acquired skill, and you need some practice to learn it. Still, learning to skip rope will probably take you less time (and fewer injuries, if at all) compared to learning how to ride a bike.
- Start by maintaining the right balance. Your knees should be bent slightly, and the balls of your feet should carry your weight. Keep your eyes to the front, your elbows close to your body, and your body straight. Make small circles with your wrist when you use the jump rope.
- Jumping should be relaxed. The height of your jump should be no more than an inch from the ground. Use the balls of your feet to push from the floor and keep your toes pointing down as you jump. The force should come from your hips, knees, calves, and ankles.
- When you land keep your contact with the ground brief. Don’t let your heels touch the ground. The impact should be spread through your hips, knees and ankles so that your landing is soft.
- Learn to alternate. Jump with one foot, and then switch foot on the next turn of the jump rope. It’s like jogging in place, and you should continue slowly until you arrive at a comfortable pace. Avoid catching on the rope with your feet by lifting your knees forward while not kicking backward.
- One recommended jump rope program is to start with ten sets of ten jumps each. Add another ten jumps per set, until you get to a hundred continuous jumps. Now gradually improve until you can jump uninterrupted for five or even ten minutes straight.