If you’re anything like me, working out can sometimes feel like a bit of a chore—especially cardio.
As I’ve recently discovered, however, there’s a not-so novel way of getting in a great cardiovascular workout without some of the added negatives of, say, running—one of the most popular forms of aerobic exercise.
It’s called jump-rope, and odds are, you’ve done it before.
Often considered one of the more ‘underrated’ forms of cardio, jumping rope activates nearly every muscle group in the body, making it no less effective at improving your conditioning than cycling, running, or rowing. In fact, jump-rope can surpass some of the above-listed exercises in effectiveness depending on the amount of time and intensity you approach it with.
According to a study published in 2013, 10-minutes of jumping rope per day has the same cardiovascular effects as a 30-minute run in college-age males over a six-week period. Some companies like Crossrope—a high-end jump-rope retailer—have even claimed skipping for an hour can burn 400 more calories than running for the same amount of time, but this assertion should be taken with a grain of salt.
All the same, jumping rope offers a wider array of health benefits than just what happens mid-workout. Considered a lower-impact alternative to running, the activity goes easier on your joints in the long term, reducing the risk of injury, improving your bone density, strengthening your coordination, and sharpening cognitive function. Much like any other form of cardio, it’s also great for your heart.
And it’s cheap, too. The jump rope I’ve used for the past two months was $10 on Amazon, and it barely has a scratch.
All of this said, there’s one main reason I’ve taken so much to jumping rope recently — it’s really, really fun.
See, although it’s a workout, it’s also a skill.
‘Getting better’ at jumping rope doesn’t just mean your conditioning has improved—it means you’ve learned how to do new tricks or master old ones. That kind of developmental proficiency doesn’t happen in many other steady-state cardio exercises, if at all.
With jump rope, your workout can have so much variance—it’s just as much an exercise in creativity as it is in physicality. For me, it’s made the act of working out far less dreadful and something genuinely worth looking forward to when I slap on my running shoes.
So, in the spirit of Corbin Bleu, what are you waiting for? Jump in.
Angus is a fifth-year History student and The Journal’s Senior Sports Editor.
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