Rope Jumping: An Effective Way to Keep Fit
by Olamide Mabel
August 1, 2019
Rope Jumping or skipping is my major way of keeping fit. Apart from normal routine activities like walking or dancing, skipping is what I do to stay fit. I learnt this sport from my elder sister as a little girl. I used to watch my elder sister jump rope a lot because it helped her to lose weight so I did it for fun as a little girl. As a 25 year old who was overweight for over ten years, I picked up this sport seriously four years ago.
I have always been bothered by my weight even as a young girl but never thought to do anything about it because it felt like too much work. I started dieting but I could not keep up because I am also a foodie. I am not a very active person in my day to day activity. Most of my daily activity involves me sitting down at a desk either reading or working online. With encouragement from my family members, I decided to take my weight loss journey serious four years ago.
I am a shy person and feel embarrassed at the thought of running while people looked at me. Because of this, I decided to choose rope jumping over jogging or going to the gym. Since, I have enough space in my compound and it would not require me embarrassing myself in front of other people. When I started four years ago, I jumped rope every day. I started with 400 skips everyday till I achieved 2500 skips daily. I went from 85kg to 75kg with no major change in diet in a matter of months. Now, I jump rope at least two times a week.Â One major benefit I enjoyed from regular skipping is my toned arms.
How to Jump Rope
Anybody can jump rope. It is a common sport among people of all ages. It does not require complex technique that is why it is easy to do. All you need for jump rope is a comfortable pair of sneakers, a rope and a small space. As a beginner, it is better you do not start with a light plastic rope. This is because it is too light and you wonâ€™t feel the rope. However, with a weighted rope, you can feel the rope turning and it will prevent frequent tripping and frustration. You can start with the least weight and then work your way up. You do not need a special kind of clothing to jump rope, all you need to do is put on comfortable clothes. For ladies, a sports bra is a perfect underwear choice.
Before you start to jump rope, it is important that you get the ideal size of jump. Using a jump rope that is either too long or too short for you will leave you easily frustrated. To determine if a rope is the perfect length for you
- Stand in the middle of the rope with one foot
- Pull up the handles till the rope is straight and equal,
- As a beginner, the top of the rope should be close to your shoulder. If it is far above your shoulder, the rope needs to be shortened and if it is below your shoulder, you need to get a longer rope.
- For experienced jumpers, the top of the rope can be above or at the armpit level.
Jumping Rope Technique
Body positioning is very important when jumping rope. When you are properly positioned, it makes it easy and prevents frequent tripping. Your hand positioning is equally important, when positioning your hand, you should focus on the symmetry and movement of your hand. You have to ensure both hands are roughly at the same distance away from your body and you also have to make sure there is less movement at the shoulders and elbows.
To jump rope, bend your elbow at 90 degrees, position your elbow at your waist. Ensure your elbow is not too far or too close to your waist. Stand in front of the rope and swing it forward, then jump when the rope is above your head. When swinging the rope, ensure your elbow and shoulders are stable.
There are two basic jump rope techniques- The bounce step and the alternate-foot step. The bounce step is easy and very effective. To do it, you jump off both feet at the same time while maintaining a height tall enough to clear the rope. Land lightly on the ball of your feet and stay on it before repeating the jump again. Try not to double-bounce. You should only bounce once per swing.
The alternate-foot step is almost similar to the bounce step, however, instead of jumping at the same time, you will jump with one foot at a time like you are running in place.
- Jumping rope improves balance and coordination. Jumping rope requires steady pace and rhythm and this can help to improve coordination between your eyes, hands and feet.
- It helps to lose weight fast. If you are looking for an easy and effective way to burn calories then jumping rope is a perfect answer.
- You can do it anywhere. One good thing about rope jumping is the flexibility and the portability.
- It improves the strength of your lower limb and tone your muscles.
- It can improve overall mental function.
- If not done properly, it can put a lot of stress on your knee and feet.
- For people with serious pre-existing health related conditions, it can put a lot of stress on the cardiovascular system.
Skipping is not just a way to lose weight for me, it is a gift to me. It is my way of encouraging myself and telling myself, I can do anything I want to do. It has become more than a sport to me, it is now a hobby. After I got used to it, it did not seem like tedious work to me anymore, it is now a part of my daily routine. It has improved my balance and made me feel really light and confident.