Jumping rope is a high-impact exercise that improves your cardiovascular endurance. Your hand and foot coordination also increases as you time your jumps to match your swings. These jumps need a stable base and that begins with your feet. You can jump with or without a rope, but the American Council on Exercise recommends wearing supportive shoes to reduce your injury risk.
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ACE recommends cross trainers as the optimum shoe when you are jumping rope. Buddy Lee, the author of the book, "Jump Rope Training" agrees. Cross-training shoes offer a firm, supportive surface to protect the small bones in your feet and stabilize your ankles. Your knees and hips require this extra-cushioning to reduce your risk of injury from the repetitive jumping motion.
If you are unable to find a cross-training shoe or this type of shoe is not comfortable, ACE suggests wearing an aerobic shoe. Aerobic shoes are typically lighter in weight than cross-trainers, but still offer support. Check your shoe for a reinforced toe box and one with extra padding in the forefoot. The padding helps absorb impact. Test your shoe in the store before you purchase it. Pretend to jump rope and feel if the shoe has enough padding under the balls of your feet.
The shoes offer protection for your ankles, knees, hips and back. When you combine your shoes with a supportive surface, your joints are further protected. Lee recommends a rubberized surface, a suspended wooden floor or fields made of artificial turf as the best places to practice jumping rope. Also, break in your shoes gradually and begin with lesser amounts of time before you jump for an extended duration.
A Form of Variety
Wear your shoes and use proper form to keep you injury-free. As you jump, keep your knees slightly bent and your back straight. The jumps should be low to the ground and just high enough for the rope to pass under your feet. Vary your jumps to reduce overuse injuries. For example, jump forward and backward, side to side, on one foot, in a jumping jack or cross-country pattern.