Skip Your Workout? No, Just Skip Rope

As millions of uninspired, would-be exercisers know all too well, the reasons to avoid working out are endless.

"I can't fit it into my schedule" ... "it takes too long" ... "I don't go enough to make a gym membership worthwhile" ... and "I don't see enough results from going" are just a few of the tried-and-true, go-to excuses. 

If this is beginning to sound a little like your way of thinking, here are two words to strongly consider: jumping rope.

Often overlooked and easily dismissed as too juvenile or childlike an activity, when you break it down jumping rope offers a wide range of health benefits. It can be great exercise that can be done practically anywhere – and after buying an inexpensive rope it doesn't cost a dime. Two other advantages: significant aerobic benefits, and anyone can pick it up regardless of an individual's athletic ability, or agility.

“If you’ve done it lately, you know how much it can get your heart pumping,” states Professor Tim Church, from Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, speaking recently to Time “But one of the nice things about it is the intensity can really be as high as you want it to be.” 

Yes, you can start slowly, getting used to the activity again, before becoming increasingly coordinated as you get better – which will allow you to go for longer periods. And you can adjust the intensity of the workout, whether it's setting a slower, easier pace or speeding up as your proficiency increases.

Jumping rope works out many muscle groups, and it has a lower impact on the body than jogging. Below the waist, it impacts your thighs, shins and ankles; meanwhile above, your arms, wrist, back muscles and shoulders are also involved. And why do you think boxers make skipping rope an integral part of their workout regimen? Because it's one of the best full-body workouts there is.

Since the activity engages the respiratory system, it's estimated that 10 minutes of activity will burn 135 calories. And of course, you can stop, and then resume as your conditioning improves.

Even if you haven't skipped rope in decades, a little practice can get you hopping again, and here's a video primer that goes over the basics. The activity also helps improve an individual's overall coordination.

And you have to admit, the price is right. The cost of a rope? Practically negligible, between $5 and $20 for a long-lasting, high-quality piece of equipment that you can take anywhere. Which of course means you can jump rope anywhere – inside, outside, in a parking lot, wherever – whenever you have time.