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    Is jump rope good cardio? It can help with weight loss and more

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    As one of the least expensive and most accessible fitness options available, jump ropes sales continue to skyrocket. Hitting a global market size of a staggering 1.9 billion in 2021, year-over-year data and projections show that demand for this simple piece of exercise equipment is only increasing. 

    That’s especially impressive when you realize the sport has been traced as far back as the 1600s and that it’s still as good for people to do today as it was at that time. “Jumping rope has many benefits that impact our heart, tendons, muscles and bones,” says Meghan Wieser, a doctor of physical therapy and a strength coach based in Maryland. 

    What are the health benefits of jumping rope? 

    Indeed, the health benefits of jumping rope are many and affect multiple systems throughout the body. Jump roping has been shown to improve balance and coordination, offer a diversified workout routine, and is considered a full body workout. Regular practice of the sport strengthens upper body muscles in your biceps, core, back, forearms and shoulders along with lower body muscles like your calves, hamstrings, glutes and quads. “It even provides cognitive performance and mental health benefits,” says Michele Olson, an adjunct professor of sports science at Huntingdon College in Alabama.

    The exercise is also great for getting the heart pumping. “Jump roping taxes the cardiovascular system quite a bit so we see improvements in cardiovascular capacity, blood pressure and heart rate,” says Wieser.

    And it’s a lower-impact exercise than you might think – so long as you stretch properly beforehand and practice proper technique. “Research shows that jumping rope can be a good way to increase bone mineral density in your feet and heel bones,” says Olson. This is especially advantageous to people as they get older as some “may have lost or be losing muscle strength and power at a relatively high rate,” says Jason Moran, PhD, a sport and exercise scientist at the University of Essex in England. 

    Is jumping rope good cardio? 

    Another benefit of jumping rope is that it’s a good workout. “Jump roping is great cardio,” says Weiser. Indeed, some reports show that you can burn as many as 500 calories in only 30 minutes of the activity when practicing the most vigorous techniques. 

    Jumping rope can also help people shed unwanted pounds. “Six weeks of rope jumping has been found to decrease BMI,” says Olson. “When coupled with a calorie-reduced diet, reported changes in body weight and body fat range from approximately 3 pounds to as high as 7 pounds in eight weeks,” she explains.  

    Jumping rope can also improve your results in other cardiovascular activities. “Non-running exercises that incorporate jump rope training can be very beneficial for those who also run or who generally want to keep fit because it can target enhanced performance at the level of each muscle,” says Moran. 

    How to jump rope for beginners

    Because of such benefits, many want to participate in the activity, though some don’t know where to begin. While there are many techniques to choose from, Olson says some good tips for beginners include jumping softly and low to the ground, maintaining slightly flexed knees, keeping your hands low and close to your body, and twirling the rope with your wrists without employing your elbows or your shoulders.

    It’s also important to get the right rope length to begin with – approximately 3 feet longer than your total height. “As you advance, you may find that a shorter rope is more to your liking because it will aid you in increasing your skipping rate,” says Olson. 

    Moran says the most important thing is to “start slow “and refine your technique in brief bouts of training before extended attempts at the exercise. As you improve, “a good rule of thumb is to add no more than 10% additional volume per week,” he suggests. 

    It’s also important to stretch properly and warm up your calf muscles to prevent injuries such as stress fractures, shin splints or joint pain. “See if your calves can handle 20-30 calf raises consecutively on each leg,” Weiser advises. She also suggests getting your body used to the motion of jumping up and down before involving the coordination required of using a rope. Once you incorporate both together, she says, “just have fun with it.” 

    Cardio for weight loss: What experts say you should do to shed pounds.

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