In recent years, skipping has grown in popularity, becoming an essential addition to a workout lover's repertoire. So in the name of work, I skipped for five minutes every day for three weeks, just to see what happened.
Because after all, this simple act of jumping over a rope is actually a great full-body workout, requiring just one piece of equipment.
I’ll be honest, I’m actually a big skipping fan, and I love practicing tricks, cross overs, double unders (where the rope passes underneath the feet twice in one jump) however, I don’t skip every day, and recently took a substantial amount of time off skipping due to a long stint overseas.
So I figured skipping for five minutes every day would be a brilliant way to get back into my jump rope obsession. Some of the world’s most elite athletes turn to skipping and it’s renowned in the boxing world as a tool for maintaining fitness and coordination.
But what are the benefits of skipping? Well, it works not only the heart and lungs, but it activates several muscles in the upper and lower body, as well as the core. It’s also super versatile; you can pack a rope and skip anywhere you like! And then there’s the fact that you can progress and continually improve your skipping technique by learning various tricks which make your body and brain work hard.
A 2013 study actually found that 10 minutes of daily skipping over a period of six weeks improved cardiovascular function as much as 30 minutes of jogging every day for six weeks.
Plus, research has suggested how skipping can improve balance and motor coordination skills and the Journal Plos One adds that using a jump rope can improve bone density, helping to lower the risk of fractures and breaks; particularly beneficial for women.
But now you know the benefits, here’s what actually happened when I skipped every day for three weeks.
1. My mind was super focused
You can go for a run, lift weights, hop on a bike for a cycle, yet your mind is still able to wander. Perhaps there’s an email you need to reply to or a relationship issue to deal with.
But when you skip, the need for coordination and total concentration to ensure that feet are jumping over the rope at the correct time is essential and it’s unlikely you can think about much else.
When I’m on a mission to master some backward skipping, my mind is even more focused.
Can’t stop thinking about work/ friends/ family/ love life/ the outfit you need to buy for the wedding this weekend…? Then get skipping.
2. My arms felt it
The thing with skipping is that you need to keep your arms fairly close to your body. See below for a little more on skip form.
So in order to ensure the upper arms are relatively close to the torso, muscles need to be engaged. Plus, the act of rotating the rope over the body, again and again, requires muscles to be fired up. On several occasions, I skipped for about 30 minutes in one go, and by the end of this half-hour, my biceps were feeling it big time. So, a skipping session wouldn’t go amiss as a finisher to an upper-body weighted workout.
3. It’ll work your core
When you skip, you’re forced into an upright position with a strong posture, engaging the core as your feet come off the ground. This means that your core is kept under tension for a prolonged period of time, working the muscles and making them stronger.
If you fancy working your core even more so, try a weighted rope. These add an extra level of resistance.
However, as I always say, do keep in mind that for abs to truly be revealed, you need to burn off the layer of fat that sits above them first. But, skipping is certainly a handy calorie burner so it can contribute to fat burning.
4. My mood was lifted
I’m sure we’re all familiar with the endorphin rush that emerges after a workout; it’s that ‘on top of the world’ feeling, and for many of us, the main reason why we exercise in the first place. Yet, in just five minutes of skipping, I was feeling pretty perky and if my mood was a little flat that day, it was instantly transformed thanks to a jumping session. You really can jump for joy!
Skipping for 5 minutes every day for three weeks challenge: My verdict
The beauty of this challenge was that I didn’t need to wait around for equipment in the gym, and I could literally pick up my rope, head out to the garden, and get jumping.
I love the fact that skipping forces my mind to focus and it offers a lovely break from my mental to-do list which is constantly whirring around my brain. In fact, it’s a bit like meditation, but a slightly more vigorous version!
Despite all the health benefits of skipping I mentioned earlier, if you need one key reason to practice skipping, it’s simply to help switch off.
Skipping is also a fantastic form of high intensity training that can easily be slotted into a workout routine without too much hassle. There’s always more to learn with the rope, plus with the vast array of skipping ropes on the market, you’re never short of a new rope to experiment with, including weighted ropes for a little more resistance in the arms.
All in all, a fun, fulfilling challenge that left me sweaty (but not too sweaty), put me in a great mood and challenged my mind and body thanks to the need for balance and coordination.
Grab your rope and give it a try!
Interested in trying something new? Find out what happened when we drank apple cider vinegar for 30 days.
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Lucy is a freelance journalist specializing in health, fitness and lifestyle. She was previously the Health and Fitness Editor across various women's magazines, including Woman&Home, Woman and Woman’s Own as well as Editor of Feel Good You. She has also previously written for titles including Now, Look, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Red and The Sun.
She lives and breathes all things fitness; working out every morning with a mix of running, weights, boxing and long walks. Lucy is a Level 3 personal trainer and teaches classes at various London studios. Plus, she's pre- and post-natal trained and helps new mums get back into fitness after the birth of their baby. Lucy claims that good sleep, plenty of food and a healthy gut (seriously, it's an obsession) are the key to maintaining energy and exercising efficiently. Saying this, she's partial to many classes of champagne and tequila on the rocks whilst out with her friends.
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