Skipping: the exercise alternative worth a second look

Is running running you into the ground? Is the thought of lifting weights weighing on you? Perhaps it’s time you jumped back into a classic exercise alternative.

Contrary to what you might think, skipping is not just a primary school activity meant only for little children. (Look up “Jump Rope Girl” on YouTube and be amazed.) Some of the world’s best athletes incorporate skipping into their training regime, as it has been shown to have a myriad of fitness and health benefits.

Here are a few reasons why skipping is worth a second look.

It’s fast

Ten minutes. That’s all the time you’ll need to spend skipping in order to get the same results as a 30 to 45-minute jog (depending on the intensity of the workout). The Jump Rope Institute in America says 10 minutes of skipping also provides the same health benefits as six sets of tennis, 12 minutes of swimming or 18 holes of golf.1

It’s fun

Did you watch the Jump Rope Girl video? Skipping as an activity leaves a lot of room for creativity and experimentation. It’s also a great way to socialise. Charissa Fong, an office worker in Wahroonga, New South Wales, recently began skipping with her work colleagues during their mid-morning and afternoon breaks.

“We love it!” she says. “I never would have imagined skipping could be so social. As we skip, we chat and have a great time. We skip for five minutes straight when we do it. It mightn’t look like much, but when you actually do it, it’s a good workout.”

It’s a full-body workout

From your toes to the tip of your hair (well, close to it), skipping is a full-body workout that uses your legs for jumping, abdominals for balance and stability, and shoulders and arms for turning the rope. The combination of movements builds body awareness, which has been shown to transfer over to other physical activities.2 Skipping also has a positive effect on heart and lung health.3

It burns fat

Getting hit with a skipping rope isn’t pleasant. It burns. On the plus side, skipping also burns fat.4 According to Science Daily, skipping can have a “burn rate” of up to 5400 kilojoules (1300 calories) per hour.5 As stated earlier, that’s the equivalent of a decent run or jog.

It’s friendly on the body . . .

Skipping, when done properly, is a low impact activity compared to other forms of cardiovascular exercise.6 Unlike running or jogging, each jump and landing is absorbed by both legs instead of one, resulting in less strain on the knees. Skipping also teaches athletes to stay on their toes, which encourages the use of the foot’s “natural shock absorbers”.7

. . . and friendly on the bank account

10/10. Ten minutes of quality exercise using $10 worth of equipment (some skipping ropes cost even less). There are also no membership fees or travel costs associated with skipping. It’s an anywhere, anytime activity.

We all need to move in order to stay healthy. If running or going to the gym isn’t your thing, don’t be discouraged. A fast, fun and effective alternative is just a hop, skip and a jump away.

—Linden Chuang

  1. http://www.jumpropeinstitute.com/weight_loss.htm
  2. http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/skip-rope-not-your-workout
  3. Michiels Hernandez, B. L., Gober, D., Boatwright, D., & Strickland, G. (2009). Jump rope skills for fun and fitness in grades K-12. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 80(7), 15.
  4. Hassan, D. K. M., Bahram, P., Amin, N., Mohsen, N., Reza, E. H., & Ali, M. (2014). Effect of skipping rope on body compositions and heart beat of inactive college students. Advances in Environmental Biology, 193.
  5. https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/jump_rope.htm
  6. http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/skip-rope-not-your-workout
  7. Ibid.

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