Skipping offers a host of health benefits including improved muscle tone, coordination, balance and flexibility. It is kinder to your joints than running and can be done almost anywhere, anytime. While it's a fun way to work your legs and thighs, the results are serious business. In addition to lower body toning, skipping free-style or with a jump rope burns calories, engages the hip flexor muscles and abdominals to stabilize your body, and improves heart health and blood pressure.
Heart Pumping Fun
Skipping is a high intensity cardiovascular workout that will really get your heart pumping. A good workout should have you working at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. This is calculated as 220 minus your age. A 30-year-old will have a maximum rate of 190 and a 60-year-old will have a maximum rate of 160. Multiply this by .85 for an intense workout or by 0.70 for a less intense workout.
Burn, Calories, Burn
The amount of calories you burn while skipping depends on your weight. If you are jumping rope, the skipping action burns around 563 calories an hour jumping rope slowly, and 849 calories jumping at a fast rate for a person weighing 155 pounds. Skipping will burn less than this, as you are not engaging your arms and shoulders, but it is still an effective and fun way to burn calories.
Skipping only requires a bit of space. You can skip indoors or outdoors, so you have no excuse for missing exercise when you travel. Skip the pathways in a park or take to the wet sand on the beach. If you're worried about looking a bit childish, skip around a room or down corridors in privacy. If you want to give your upper body a workout, take a skip rope with you -- it will easily fit into a briefcase or handbag.
Don't Skip Safety
Skipping gets your heart rate up very quickly, so if you have been leading a sedentary lifestyle you should check with your doctor that you are fit enough to start an exercise program. Begin by skipping for 20 to 30 seconds then march in place for 30 seconds. Repeat for 10 minutes. As your fitness level improves, increase the length of time skipping. Don't jump high as this will stress your joints. Choose a flat level surface to avoid twisting your ankles. Wear a pair of athletic shoes to protect your feet and cushion your joints.