Maybe your vision of jumping rope is tripping about PE class with a beaded rope and a bunch of 12 year olds. We get it. We were there too. But if you haven’t picked up a jump rope since, or you’re just afraid of looking silly at the gym, here are a few reasons why jumping rope is one of the very best exercises out there (and a lot cooler than you think).
#1 - Calorie Cooker
Very few exercises burn calories like jump rope. Even jumping at a very moderate rate burns 10 to 16 calories a minute. Work your jump rope exercise into three 10-minute rounds and you're looking at 480 calories in half an hour. According to Science Daily, 10 minutes of skipping rope is about equivalent to running an 8-minute-mile. There’s a reason the American Heart Association created an entire movement around jumping rope (ever heard of Jump Rope for Heart?).
#2 - Build Agility & Quickness
Want to get "lighter on your feet?" Skip rope every day for a few minutes. When you jump rope on the balls of your feet, body connects with mind to make "neural muscular adjustments" to keep you balanced. Essentially, skipping rope improves your balance and quickness/coordination by making your mind focus on your feet for sustained periods of time, even if you're not conscious of it. Boxers know this. Why do you think jumping rope is a favorite exercise for the best boxers in the world?
#3 - Increase Bone Density
The medium impact of jumping rope increases bone density, but isn’t as hard on your joints as running because the impact of each jump is absorbed by both legs. In fact, according to Dr. Daniel W. Barry, a researcher who has studied the bones of the elderly and of athletes, the latest studies show simply jumping is one of the very best exercises for improving bone density.
#4 - It's Good for Your Brain
We know that exercise (even as little as 20 minutes) is good for the brain. But did you know that activities with BOTH physical and mental demands (like slacklining, ballroom dancing or jumping rope) have higher impacts on cognitive functioning than exercise tasks alone (like the treadmill or stationary bike). Turns out the very best workouts for brain health involve coordination, rhythm, and strategy. So the next time you're jumping rope, challenge yourself to try some jump rope tricks. Turns out they're really good for your brain.
#5 - Jump Rope Tech
We’ve come a long way from the beaded ropes from PE class. Modern fitness ropes come with ball-bearing handles, ultra-fast cables and easy sizing systems (and the color customization options are endless). New "smart" jump ropes will count your jumps. Even the new beaded ropes can be customized with your favorite color of ultra-light, unbreakable beads.
#6 - Affordability
Of all the fitness options out there, rope jumping is still one of the most affordable. Shoot, even runners need to fork it over for high end shoes. But jump ropes? Even a top-of-the-line fitness jump rope is only $20. Very simple (but good) ropes can be purchased for as low as $3. And, depending on the surface you jump on, a rope should last you a while.
#7 - Pick a Style, and Own it
Speed jumping. Chinese wheel jumping. Double dutch. Jumping rope while juggling a soccer ball. Or crazy freestyle jumping (see above). There’s seemingly no end of ways to have fun with a jump rope.
#8 - Portable
How else to explain this… You. Can. Jump. Rope. Anywhere. We’ve seen videos of people jump roping on the beach, on top of mountains, on boats … even in the dark. Unless you live in a hobbit hole, you can find space to jump rope.
Need a jump rope refresher? Jump rope is a skill that can be picked up quick with even just a little perseverance. If you have never jumped before or it's been a long time, here are a few tips for learning to jump like a pro.
About the Author
Matt Hopkins is a former competitive speed jumper and jump rope coach. Matt has won numerous national championships in speed jumping, and his athletes have won several national speed and freestyle titles and have broken world and national speed records. He also taught middle and elementary school PE in Leavenworth WA for 23 years.