If you're looking for an exercise option that only requires one affordable piece of equipment, a little bit of space, and a good pair of shoes, consider a fitness jump rope workout.
For many people, jump roping is an ideal aerobic exercise option. It's fun, almost anyone can do it, and it doesn't require a gym membership.
Ease Into It
When starting an exercise program, it's important that you work your way into it. If you have been doing aerobic exercise for some time, you'll be able to "jump" into a fitness jump rope workout easily. Once you're comfortable with the motion, you can increase your speed and incorporate different jumps.
For those new to aerobic exercise or for those resuming an exercise program after some time off, it's very important to take it slow as your body adjusts. In addition, because jump roping is a high impact exercise, meaning that both feet leave the ground simultaneously, there is a greater risk of injury.
Even if you were a star jump roper as a child, chances are you may need to practice jumping as an adult. Go easy on yourself as you become accustomed to the movement. Even basic jumping requires a high level of coordination.
As you become accustomed to the movement, you can increase the length of time you exercise, the speed at which you jump, and the types of moves you incorporate into your routine.
For both experienced and new exercisers, it is vital to warm up before beginning a fitness jump rope workout. Warming up slowly raises your heart rate gradually, allowing your muscles time to adjust to the increased workload placed on them.
A good warm up for jump roping could be walking briskly for a few minutes, stepping in place, light bouncing on one's feet, and eventually slow jumping as you start your workout.
Once your muscles are warm and loose, consider stretching the primary muscles involved. This includes your legs, calves, shoulders, wrists, and ankles. Ease into jumping slowly.
As you become used to the movement and to exercise, your fitness jump rope workout will become easier. This is a signal that it is time to make some changes. Just as your mind needs variety to stay engaged, so too does your body. When an exercise program becomes too routine, your body adjusts and the workout is no longer as effective.
There are a number of ways that you can change a jump rope fitness workout to ensure that you continue to challenge yourself and improve your cardiovascular health.
One way is to learn new jumping styles. Crossing your arms in front, or spinning the rope to alternating sides of your body are just two ways you can mix up the style. Consult a jump-rope book for new techniques.
Alternately, see if there's a jump rope club in your area. You can learn new techniques and meet people with similar interests, which is also a great motivator.
Vary your speed. As your cardiovascular health improves, you'll be able to jump faster for longer periods. Keep in mind that this can also increase your chances of injury. One method to help offset this risk is to incorporate interval training.
With interval training, you alternate between easy, moderate, or difficult levels of jumping. You can do this by changing your speed from slower to faster. Interval training has shown to be very effective, and because you're not going full-steam throughout the entire workout, your chances of injury are less.
Lynn VanDyke is a master trainer and fitness nutritionist. She has authored the wildly popular ebook called Melt the Fat, and she offers personalized online personal training.
Lynn VanDyke may be contacted at http://www.strength-training-woman.com