There is something nostalgic about skipping, with playground memories of ‘I like coffee, I like tea, I like whoever is not going to jump on my toes and can skip to the beat in with me. It hadn’t the intensity of a Mohammad Ali warm up and we never managed to get our double dutch on, despite our best tangled rope efforts, but it was good fun and good exercise. Who could forget the excitement of the Skipathon?! That reminds me I must give me sponsorship money in.
Your Own Pace
I use skipping with my personal training clients and quite often after a tentative first time, or at least first time in a very long time, they find their rhythm and really start to enjoy it. There’s something almost meditative once you find the right tempo.
The trick is not to jump more than one inch from the floor thereby keeping the impact moderate. Think about keeping it on the balls of the feet, quiet so you’re never pounding. Go you silent skipper!
It’s a simple, convenient and a cheap way of exercising. You don’t have to leave home and don’t need loads of time, just your rope and a little bit of space.
The benefits include improved cardiovascular fitness, stronger and more toned legs, arms and shoulders and it’s not just physical. According to the Jump Rope Institute (yep, there’s a jump rope institute), skipping helps to develop the left and right hemispheres of the brain, improving spacial awareness and reading skills, and can enhance memory and mental alertness. That’s mad Ted. Further to that, jumping on the balls of the feet can lead to improved dynamic balance, coordination, reflexes, bone density and muscular endurance. Who knew?!
A ten minute skipping session can burn around 125 calories depending on the intensity and the person, but clearly if you’re aiming for weight loss two 10 minute skipping sessions per day will give you approximately an extra 1500 calorie burn per week (notice how I’ve given you one day off - you're welcome). If that feels like too much to start with, you can build up to it. If something is hurting - stop! As with all exercise if you’re new to it or have any concerns do check in with your doctor before getting stuck in.
I realise skipping can be right up there (or down there) with trampolining for many of us – Pilates is a great cure for pelvic floor issues, but this deserves a whole blog to itself - watch out out for it next month…now back to the rope.
Before you start cutting up the washing line, make sure your skipping rope measures up! Stand in the middle of the rope with one foot, pull the handles straight up making sure the rope is taut. For beginners, top of the handles should reach close to the shoulder. For more experienced jumpers, the top of the handles should reach the armpit or a little below.
I’m thinking move over fidget spinners and let’s get those kids skipping!
Next stop Skipathon!