Skip Rope: Jumping Rope is Good Exercise (cont.)

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If you have not jumped rope for years, the following steps may help you get into the swing of things:

  • Jump on the balls of your feet (practice a few times without the rope).
  • Don't jump high. Practice trying to jump only about an inch.
  • Use a rope length (described above) that fits you.
  • Position your hands slightly above your waist and about 12 inches from your body.
  • Use your wrists to twirl the rope. Don't swing your arms and shoulders very much.
  • Get into a rhythm (hum a tune or listen to music with a good beat).
  • Practice. Beginners should first practice without the rope and then with the rope but swinging it with both handles in one hand and not jumping through it. This helps the beginner develop some basic coordination and confidence in handling the rope.

Some experts suggest beginners also start by jumping the rope first only once, then pausing. After a few cycles of a single jump, then try to jump the rope two times and pause and so on until you can eventually constantly do one jump for each cycle that the rope makes around your body.

Danger! Do not overdo this exercise. Check with your doctor to be sure you are fit enough to start this exercise program. Although it is lower impact on your knees and feet than jogging, it is a high intensity cardiovascular workout. The workout usually challenges your heart to pump fast. Most fitness experts (and many doctors, including cardiologists) suggest that a high-intensity workout or exercise should sustain about 85% of your personal maximal heart rate for an excellent cardiovascular challenge. So what is your personal maximal heart rate? It's calculated as follows: 220 minus your age. For example, a 30-year-old maximal heart rate is calculated by 220 – 30 = 190 while a 60 year old is 220 – 60 = 160. To calculate the high end workout heart rate (85% of maximal heart rate), multiply your calculated maximal heart rate by 0.85 (for example, 190 X 0.85 = 162.5 for 30 year old and 160 X 0.85 = 136 for 60- year-old). For a less intense cardiovascular workout, multiply the maximal heart rate by 0.70 or 70%.

Remember to check with your doctor(s) and/or orthopedist or cardiologist before beginning any high-intensity exercises, but if it's OK with your physicians, you can get a jump start on calorie burning by jumping rope!

Last Editorial Review: 8/20/2013