Jumping rope is a really fun and effective way to get your heart pumping

If you haven’t grown up jumping rope, it’s time to give it another go, especially if you lack the motivation to exercise. Fitness professionals often recommend considering activities you enjoyed as a child and recommitting to them as an adult to increase your enjoyment of exercise. But even if you’ve never jumped rope before, there are plenty of reasons to give it a try now.

Health Benefits of Jumping Rope
For starters, jumping rope is an excellent cardiovascular activity that gets your blood pumping, your body sweating, and your muscles working in a short amount of time. For the average person, just 15 minutes of jumping rope can burn 200 to 300 calories, which means you can look forward to a really good workout no matter your personal fitness level. And because it’s a lower-impact workout, it’s less stressful on your joints than activities like running. Plus, the simple act of jumping rope surprisingly targets several parts of the body — calves, core, arms, shoulders, upper back, and more — so, sort of like a plank, it’s a very versatile and efficient form of exercise.

Jumping rope is also an activity that anyone of any fitness level can do. The key is to start slowly and then build up to a more intense routine. The only caveat, of course, is if you’re dealing with an injury — such as ankle, foot, or knee problems — or a medical problem, in which case you’ll need to consult your doctor.

Jump Rope Basics

1. The right rope
When choosing the right rope for your jump rope, aim for one that is lightweight and has a comfortable handle. But there are dozens of jump ropes on the market. Take some time to find the best rope for you.

2. Where to jump
Once you have your rope, choose your surface wisely. As you might have guessed, the flatter the better, a hard surface is also key. In boxing gyms, for example, you’ll often find a hardwood surface area in front of a mirror—if you can find it, it’s a great setup. But you can also jump anywhere that is flat and open: for example, on a patio in the backyard, in a home gym area or in a park.

3. Correct skipping form
What is the correct form for jumping rope? Keep your arms comfortably by your sides, elbows soft, and wrists moving with the rope over your head. Avoid putting stress on your back or shoulders, and do most of the rope work with your wrists and forearms. Your shoulders will fatigue over time, but if you can keep as much tension in your shoulders as possible, you’ll be able to conserve your energy for longer and avoid unnecessary soreness.

4. Start jumping
Then, just start practicing. If you’re new to it or have never done it, know that it takes some practice to get it right. The rope will hit your legs and you may not look as fluid as you would like, but consistency is important.

When you’re practicing jumping, think about jumping as low as possible, so going higher is actually not good. Instead of focusing on your vertical direction when jumping, focus on timing and rhythm, and maintain a steady rhythm. You want the jump on the rope to be as smooth as possible. Once you get used to the movement, you can start to increase the speed of the rope and the speed of the jump.

5. Jump rope workout
Once you get the hang of jumping rope, there are a number of ways you can add it to your fitness routine. It can be great exercise, and it can be your own exercise. Jump for 10 to 20 minutes for a steady-state cardio workout. You can also use it as a warm-up before a hard workout, jumping for three to five minutes; or use it as a cool-down, perhaps at the end of a long workout. You can also weave a jump rope into your workout circuit to keep things fun. Try jumping hard for a minute, doing a plank for a minute, doing squats for a minute, resting for a minute, then repeating the cycle three to five more times.