You must be amazed at the title of this article and wondering how this “thing” with a “rope and handle” which most of us probably used and dumped in our closet or even threw away years ago can be of benefit to one’s mental health. It’s crazy right? Read on to see the possibilities.
What is jumping rope/skipping.
Jumping rope or skipping is a cardio exercise that can burn up to 1300+ calories in an hour. It is done by holding the handles, jumping and whipping the rope to pass beneath your feet. Jump rope is very cheap and portable which means you can carry it with you anywhere and you just need a little space for your exercises or workout. Jump rope is a simple “no-cost” workout and requires little to no preparation. It isn’t restricted to a particular age-group or athletic background and can even be done by children.
Major benefits of jump rope /skipping.
- Brain Development: Jump rope is a cardiovascular exercise ,and it’s well known that a stable and well-balanced cardiovascular system helps increase and improve brain functions and activities. The brain has two hemispheres; right which is responsible for visualization, creativity, intuition and the left which handles calculations, reasoning, logic, language etc. Learning and practicing jump rope tricks engages both hemispheres which helps with the development of the left and right hemispheres of your brain, which in turn will improve memory.
- Improves Coordination and focus : Coordination involves movement with appropriate speed, balance, direction, timing and muscular tension. The cerebellum which controls balance, movement, and coordination is being stimulated with each session of jump rope which is a coordination exercise as it involves hand and foot movement. As a beginner, jumping rope will be very difficult and you might feel like throwing your jump rope across the wall in frustration because it’s going to seem so damn hard, but it gets easier and more fun with more practice. Initially even the basic bounce jump rope trick will be challenging but, as you progress it becomes easier and helps improve coordination between one’s legs, hands and eyes.
- Nourishes your brain: Jumping rope is a cardio exercise hence it leads to an increase in the the heart rate. This increase in heart rate increases perfusion pressure to the brain delivering more oxygen and glucose to the brain. If you want a more active brain for you daily activities, consider adding a dose of jump rope exercise.
- Makes You Smarter: Jumping rope at a normal speed is an aerobic exercise & the hippocampus which is the part of the brain handling most of learning and memory systems responds most to aerobic exercises. According to the Jump Rope Institute, “jumping aids in the development of the left and right hemispheres of your brain, which further enhances spacial awareness, improves reading skills, increases memory and makes you more mentally alert”. It also helps one to be more alert as well as to think faster.
- Losing weight : An hour of jump rope burns up to 1,600calories,this is paired along with a healthy diet plan and other forms of exercise as jumping rope alone isn’t sufficient enough.You don’t even need to be a professional athlete or rope-skipper to enjoy this benefit.
- Increases muscle tone and bone density: jumping rope helps to increase muscle tone in the body. As it’s also a weight bearing exercise it plays a role in building and maintaining bone density by forcing you to work against gravity – hence preventing osteoporosis.
Source: Fix.com Blog
Jump rope and mental health.
- Fights depression : 30 minutes of exercise is recommended for mental fitness. Studies show that low levels of glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), often lead to depression. Jumping rope is a form of exercise that can increase the levels of these neurotransmitters to reduce depression/depressive episodes.According to a study in The Journal of Neuroscience (https://www.jneurosci.org/content/36/8/2449), exercise causes a significant increase in the levels of glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)
- Relieves stress: Besides cortisol and adrenaline which are the hormones that help the body manage stress. Aerobic exercise like jumping rope produces endorphins, the chemicals in our brain that act as natural painkillers, stress fighters and booster of happiness. It elevates mood, improves sleep, increases mental energy and decreases tension. Just few minutes of jump rope will get you a relatively awesome mood.
- Psychological effects and endurance : Jumping rope involves lots tricks which makes the act more fun. These tricks are not so easy to learn and some takes series of practices to nail it right. One needs timing, flexibility, rhythm, mind conditioning, patience, coordination and endurance to absorb all this. You are actually working your brain and your body at the same time, so no one expects you to learn evy just by just a snap of your finger, it takes time! Your ability to come back, control the anger and overcome the frustrations at the beginning to go through these jump rope training process successfully, entails that you can be calm and alert in other similar life situation and also boost your self confidence.
- Source of Fun: The next time you feel bored pick up a jump rope. It is fun to jump rope with friends and family when the right tricks are used. Fun makes you feel young and energetic, helps you develop and improve social skills, makes you smile and also triggers our memories to reminisce about our childhood for those who skipped when they were little. You can have fun by jumping to the rhythm of music, creating time or count based challenges, simple drills based off tricks like running in place, hops, crossovers, side leg tap, feet crossovers, butt kicks and lots more. You can also do group variations like the double Dutch and Chinese wheel.
What to know if you are considering jumping rope.
- Get a good training jump-rope: Depending on the type of exercise, the cables of your jump rope could either be heavy or light. It could as well be short or long. This applies to the handles as well. It’s best to get a jump-rope that fits your purpose.
- Avoid injuries : Don’t try to do too much too quickly. Take your time and keep things simple! Injuries most usually occurs at the knee, ankle or the hands as they are all involved in jumping rope. If you’ve had issues before that are likely to crop up again when unduly strained, then it is best to consult with your doctor to confirm if it’ll be safe for you to start your jump rope plan.
- Warm-up: Jump rope should be part of your workout plan not your entire workout plan. Jump rope can serve as a warm-up to your actual work-out session,as this helps improve stamina.
Source: Fix.com Blog
Exercise as we may know is good for the brain. But activities with both physical and mental demands like jumping rope have more impact on cognitive function. The best workouts for a healthy brain involves coordination, rhythm, and strategy. So the next time you workout grab a jump rope, challenge yourself with some jump rope tricks and be amazed by the different ways you will transform physically and mentally.
Get a rope and start jumping to fitness
About the guest blogger :
Onojah Lawrence is a jump rope lover and tutor who creates new and inspiring YouTube and work-out tutorial videos to help beginners jump their way back to better physical and mental health and fitness. He creates work-out plans and tutorials that are tailored to each and every one’s individual needs and strengths while teaching you to be better at jumping rope.
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