You may think that jumping rope or skipping rope is just a children's pastime, but it can act as an entertaining, grueling workout. The health and fitness benefits include not just burning off calories, but also strengthening your bones and improving your balance. Jumping rope requires no fancy equipment and very little space, so you can exercise with a jump rope almost anytime, anywhere.
Calculate the Burn
In just 20 minutes of fast-paced jumping rope, the average 200-pound adult burns approximately 182 calories. At a slow pace, this caloric expenditure drops to 120 calories. That's an average of 9 calories a minute when you're jumping quickly, and 6 calories a minute if you slow down. People sometimes like to track their jump rope workout not by how long they've been jumping, but by how many individual jumps they've completed. If you complete 600 jumps using a jump rope at a fast pace, you'll knock off 42 calories. At a slow pace, you'll burn 36 calories.
Factors That Affect the Burn
The number of calories you burn when you exercise isn't a static number that automatically applies to everyone evenly across the board. Individual factors can raise or lower your body's response to jumping rope. For example, the older you get, the fewer calories you burn. Additionally, men tend to burn calories more quickly than women. When it comes to jumping rope, the heavier you weigh, the more calories you burn, partially because your body must burn more energy to propel you into the air.
Use the Proper Form
Maintaining the proper form when you use your jump rope isn't just important for maximizing your calorie-burning efficiency, but it's also crucial for protecting yourself from injuries and exercise accidents. To start, stand straight and keep your arms close to your body while holding the handles of your jump rope. Move your wrists, but don't fling your arms wildly, to move the rope forward or backward. Jump over the rope as it comes toward your feet. When you land, keep your knees slightly bent to protect the joints in your ankles and knees. Throughout the jumping motion, avoid hunching your back, and keep your head up and looking forward.
Increasing the Burn
As your body gets stronger and more efficient, you may wish to experiment with ways to increase the difficulty of jumping rope and boost how many calories you burn. Use a weighted jump rope, which increases the difficulty of each jump. Experiment with different ways of jumping, such as jumping on one foot or alternating between each foot to mimic the motion of running in place. Finally, consider incorporating the jump rope into your standard exercise routine. For example, do 50 to 200 jumps between sets of lifting weights. This keeps your heart rate high and reduces your resting time so your body is in a constant state of movement.
- University of Rochester Medical Center: Jumping Rope -- A Kid Favorite With Grownup Benefits
- American Council on Exercise: Calculate Your Calories Burned
- American Council on Exercise: Do You Really Need to Run?
- American Council on Exercise: Jumping Rope -- Not Just For Kids Anymore
- American Council on Exercise: Caloric Cost of Physical Activity
- WebMD: Skipping Rope Doesn't Skip Workout
- Photo Credit gpointstudio/iStock/Getty Images
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