Using a jump rope to exercise is an increasingly popular method of working out and burning calories. It is relatively simple, straightforward, and inexpensive, and can be done in the privacy of your home or even a hotel room while traveling. Most enthusiasts consider it a fun way to increase your physical fitness.
This first step is to purchase a jump rope that is designed for exercise. Children's jump ropes are often too light to swing well and are too short for taller adults. The handles should fit comfortably in your hands and the length should be proportionate to your height. You can test this by standing in the center of the rope — the handles should reach to your armpits. You should also always wear a good pair of supportive sneakers, and try to avoid jumping on especially hard surfaces, such as concrete.
Jumping rope is an aerobic exercise that burns fat and provides cardiovascular benefits along with improving your strength, balance, endurance, and agility over time. It is also great for your arm and shoulder muscles, along with the rest of your body. The simplicity of the exercise, balanced with the great physical benefits, make it a very popular way to exercise.
Be sure to stretch and warm up before beginning, and always start with your arms at your sides. There are many different exercises you can perform with a jump rope. The first is the most basic jump, in which you swing the rope up and over your head. You can also do this exercise backward, by swinging the rope above the front of your body and jumping when it reaches the back of your legs.
For the best results, divide your workout into sets and repetitions, increasing these as you feel stronger. You might choose to begin with three sets of ten jumps, taking a one-minute break in between sets. As you get stronger, you may do four sets of fifteen reps, and so on.
As you perform the basic jump above, an option to make it more difficult is to twist your legs from side to side with each jump. You can also jog in place with a jump rope, swinging the rope over your head with each jogging step. If jogging is too intense, start with a walking step and increase the speed and difficulty as you feel able.
Another option is to criss-cross your hands as you do the basic jump. Begin the same way, with your arms at your sides, but once you perform the first jump, criss-cross your hands in front of your stomach. Continue alternating in this manner. You can also jump on one foot, alternating feet as you go.
Finally, you can try to speed up the rope and pass it under your feet twice in one jump. As you get better, you may be able to pass the jump rope under your feet three or four times with just one jump. Remember, exercising with a jump rope takes practice and persistence, as with any exercise.