Skipping Rope Doesn't Skip Workout (cont.)
For nearly 25 years, Jump Rope for Heart has promoted fitness among elementary school students and raised money for heart research and education. It's sponsored by the American Heart Association, and Crozier is a volunteer who's developed training videos for participating schools. His students raised $11,000 in 2002.
"Jump Rope for Heart fits so well with physical education because we're fighting heart disease, the number one killer, and stroke, the number three killer," he says. "It's a chance to improve their own health while doing something good for someone else."
He teaches rope-jumping to kids in kindergarten through sixth grade. To say Crozier is enthusiastic about rope-jumping would be an understatement. "If you took all my P.E. equipment away except one thing, I can teach more with a jump rope than with any other piece of equipment."
He says besides being a great exercise in its own right, rope-jumping skills transfer to most athletic endeavors. "One of the key things as an educator I didn't realize until I started working with it is how it builds body awareness. With rope-jumping, you have to be aware of what your body is doing, and it's a great skill for connecting the brain's neurons."
While boxers come to mind as macho guys who jump rope, the U.S. Amateur Jump Rope Federation's national competition is televised. Yet there's still something of a gender issue. "The idea of it as a little girls' recess game is fading as the sport of jump rope grows," Crozier says. "Our competitive team is more heavily weighted with girls, but part of that is because boys have more options. In P.E. classes, it appeals to boys and girls equally."
Crozier says some parents become inspired to jump rope after watching their kids. "They're usually amazed at how hard it is," he says.
Published Jan. 20, 2003.
SOURCES: Roger Crozier, physical education teacher, Fox Run Elementary School, San Antonio, Texas, and training video advisor, American Heart Association "Jump Rope for Heart" • Peter Schulman, MD, associate professor, cardiology/pulmonary medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Conn.
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