Want to burn about 200–250 calories within 15–20 minutes and feel like a kid while you do it? We all remember the jump rope games we used to play as children, and we’ve seen boxers go through their paces, jumping rope while prepping for rounds in the ring. Rest assured, there is a happy medium.
Jumping rope is a great, portable, cardiovascular workout, but especially when it’s incorporated into an exercise mix combining both aerobic and strength training. The key is to start slowly and not overdo it; you decide on the intensity and frequency between other exercise elements already within your routine (e.g., jump rope for one minute, march in place for two, etc. – and slowly build stamina to work your way up). Any aerobic workout puts more pressure on the ankles, knees, and hips, but if your doctor OKs it, and you pace yourself, it can be less jarring than running.
Here’s how to get started:
Talk to your doctor before you begin. Wear cross-trainer athletic shoes for support. Use the proper surface to avoid injury (ideally, a wood floor or impact mat). Don’t jump on grass or carpet; you’ll likely twist your ankle. Jump in a four-by-six-foot area with 10 inches of clearance above your head. Use a heavier beaded jump rope that keeps its shape and is easier to handle. Hold the handles, then step on the rope to adjust it (the handles should reach your armpits). Practice jumping – without the rope first, then try using it. Pay attention to your target heart rate: 220 – your age = your maximal heart rate. The high end of your “target zone” is 85 percent of that number; the low end is 70 percent.
You’ve got this! Toss a jump rope in your bag and have fun!
By Lisa Miceli Feliciano