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Jumping Rope Fitness Benefits
Even if you’re doing regular cardio workouts, jumping rope is a different way of moving. In addition to working the heart and lungs, it:
- Increases elasticity in the tendons and muscles in the lower leg.
- Improves balance, helps prevent falls, and improves bone density.
- Increases grip and wrist strength, and works the shoulders.
- Helps to stabilize knee muscles and joints.
- Works the upper leg and hips, especially when landing on one foot.
- Is mentally engaging, which helps to reduce stress and may help ward off dementia.
How to Start Jumping Rope
Pete McCall, a leading San Diego-based fitness trainer, educator, and spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise, recommends first jumping without a rope for 20–30 seconds, to make sure weight is distributed correctly. Use the balls of your feet, not the toes, to push off and land, letting your heels come down to the ground between jumps. Keep knees slightly bent and bounce lightly.
Picking a Jump Rope
In your workout shoes, stand with one foot on the middle of the rope and hold the ends straight up in front of you. The ends of the rope (not the handles) should be around armpit height. If you’re in between two lengths, buy an adjustable version of the longer one and customize it.
Got Achy Joints?
If you have arthritis or other joint problems, check with your doctor before starting to jump rope. If your doctor approves, jumping rope may be somewhat uncomfortable at first, but will make joints healthier and more mobile. “If you don’t use the range of motion in the joint,” says McCall, “then there’s a risk of losing that mobility.”