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The ropes of fitness

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Jump rope Skipping is a cost-effective workout
Jump rope Skipping is a cost-effective workout

Fitness is only a hop, skip and a jump away with the skipping rope finds R. Reghuram

Skipping rope is meant for children, right?

Well apparently not as some of the more well known advertisers of skipping include Bruce Lee, Muhammad Ali and Martina Hingis.

Skipping is an excellent form of exercise provided that you do it properly.

Soft surface

A soft surface is ideal as it lessens the impact on landing. But even if you can’t get a soft surface you can make up for it by using good quality running or cross training shoes.

Never land on your toe and always remember to bend your knee on landing, to soften the impact.

So after a proper warm-up followed by stretching of the hamstrings and calf muscles I was ready for to skip rope. The very first swing caught the nearby chair. Lesson learned. I moved to more spacious surroundings.

The second try was more successful as I managed to skip over the rope.

But in the following attempt, the rope and my feet got entangled.

Second lesson learned - I had to tighten the rope a little more. On the third go I managed a string of jumps together before getting entangled again.

Another important aspect to keep in mind is to tuck the elbow close to the body and learn to swing using the forearms and wrists without using the shoulders.

Fifteen minutes on to it and I was making steady progress.

The key to skipping

The key to skipping is not to jump too high or swing too hard but to time your jump and swing. Once you do that you will break out into a steady rhythm and start enjoying the process.

After mastering the basic technique you can try out different combination jumps such as the ‘Double Unders’ where the rope passes under your feet twice on every jump; ‘Bell jump,’ jumping forward and backwards; jump using alternate feet and so on. The website of the International Rope Skipping Federation, www.irfsa.ca/new, provides comprehensive information on skipping techniques and skills.

Thirty minutes of intense skipping is akin to jogging but easier on the joints and ensures a good cardio vascular workout.

In fact it is said that 10 minutes of skipping is equal to 30 minutes of running. It also helps to tone your upper and lower body muscles.

Bottom line: Skipping is an economical workout as all you need is a skipping rope and a little space.

The variety of movement combinations is unlimited offering opportunities to express creativity and individuality.

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