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Why skipping rope is a great way to get fit

Skipping or jumping ropes is an easy and fun way to maintain your fitness without you needing to invest in expensive equipment

Start skipping today.
Start skipping today. (Istockphoto)

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Like many of us, the 2020 lockdown was a wake-up call for Pratul Maheshwari. Mumbai-based Maheshwari, 31, weighing in at 106kgs, had a packed schedule that involved plenty of travel, before everything shut down because of covid-19. The pandemic further increased his anxiety, and his doctor had strictly asked him to lose weight to get his life in control. Going to a gym wasn’t an option. And running made his knees hurt. A random YouTube scrolling session led him to a video promising weight loss in a month. Only thing to do was get a jump rope.

“I obviously did not know much about it. But my elder brother gave me a cross-rope and I started my jump rope journey through that. I kept a target of 1,000 jumps every day and I stuck to it—broken into sets—for seven months. At the end I had managed to shed over 20 kgs. But more than that I was hooked,” Maheshwari says. 

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Skipping or jump rope has been one of the most basic exercises taught in our childhood. Most children do it as part of their sports curriculum or just to play with friends (remember all those music videos showing two children turning the rope while a third jumped over it, all of them seemingly very happy?) Unfortunately, most of us soon forget about it. Or pick it up only once in a blue moon. But here are a few reasons why skipping would be a fabulous workout for you. 

It is a great cardio workout which can get your heart rate high. While the amount of calories burnt depends on the intensity of the exercise (slow skips vs fast double unders for example), duration and the person’s weight, skipping can burn over 350 calories in only 20 minutes for a man weighing 90kg. 

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While skipping can be an easy way to lose weight, it also helps to build your heart health. Moderate intensity jumping helps to build cardiovascular endurance that can help you in any other sport you might choose. Research has shown that skipping also helps in improving bone density. Higher bone mineral density makes you less likely to develop osteoporosis later in life.. It is actually less strenuous on the knees and ankles than many other exercises. However, to get the desired results, you need to have correct form. 

Jumping rope is a plyometric exercise that requires you to be fast on your feet. Here, the muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power. It requires you to jump at the same time as when the rope goes under your feet and therefore also works on your coordination. Better coordination is obviously very helpful in almost every other sport, and in your daily life as well. 

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And if nothing else, this is one exercise you can do anywhere, anytime. You don’t need super expensive equipment (a basic rope can come as cheap as  100) nor do you need a lot of space—just enough for the skipping rope to go around you. Going for a trip? Pack it in the bag and it takes less space than your shoes. Can’t find time to go to the gym? Skip for 10 minutes. The simplest of exercise should probably come back to our workout routine now. 

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