Skipping rope probably brings to mind grade school recess and movies about professional boxers, but you don’t have to be a kid or a professional athlete to skip for the fun of it. I thought I might give it a try, although my expectations aren’t very high. Not only am I not very well coordinated, but the springs in my feet and legs are not what they used to be.
What other piece of exercise equipment is this inexpensive, will fit into a brief case, and is easy enough for a child to use? Well, that is the question isn’t it? It may very well be easy enough for a child to use, but does that mean that we can do it without hanging ourselves?
Experts say that it is a common misconception that only fit, well-coordinated people can jump rope. They contend that people of all ages, sizes and levels of fitness can learn how to do it. Weight Watcher magazine (July/August 2011) did a series of articles on rope jumping as the perfect exercise form. Jumping rope tones everything (legs, back, abs, arms, chest and shoulders), and it is a good cardio workout. It is also good for coordination and endurance and it is second only to running when it comes to calorie burn. The articles dummied down the instructions to the point that I felt quite encouraged.
They say that if you are new to jumping rope you can practice without a rope at first. Just pretend you are holding a rope in your hands and swivel your wrists as you take your first jumps. After that you will be ready to try the “basic jump.” The instructions say you should hold one end of the rope in each hand with the rope dangling behind your heels. With your feet together, elbows at your sides, swing the rope overhead. As it reaches your toes, jump just high enough to clear. You will probably feel a bit ungainly and awkward at first but go ahead, give it a try. What do you think? Pretty easy isn’t it? Start slowly, make small circles with your arms and hold your elbows close to your sides as you turn the rope.
Once you disavow yourself of the notion that you have to jump high it will seem a little easier. You should be jumping just an inch or two off of the ground. It is actually easier on the knees and hips than running, since you land on the balls of your feet. You can find a high quality rope for $10 or less. To make sure your rope isn’t too long or cumbersome they recommend placing one foot in the center of the rope. Grasp the handles and bring your arms up. The handles shouldn’t extend past your armpits.
Carol Kruchoff (Los Angeles Times: Los Angeles, CA. January 25, 1999) assures us that even a klutz can learn how to jump rope if they are taught properly. With proper instruction and practice, anyone should be able to jump rope. Your goal will be to jump continuously for 15 minutes. If you don’t have time to do anything else, this could be the perfect workout for you.