Cavan Images/Getty Images
Jumping rope is one of the most underrated types of exercise — and it may even be more effective than other forms of cardio.
In fact, a 2013 study published in Research Quarterly: American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation found that college men who spent 10 minutes of jumping rope daily for six weeks improved their cardiovascular fitness just as much as college men who spent 30 minutes of jogging for the same time period.
Plus, jumping rope burns lots of calories, strengthens coordination and bone density, and can reduce your risk of injuries and heart disease. Here are 5 science-backed benefits of jumping rope:
1. Burns calories
Jumping rope can burn 200 to 300 calories in 15 minutes. That may be more than other continuous cardio exercises, like running or bike riding.
“It burns more calories than any steady state cardio — from rowing or jogging to cycling and swimming,” says celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels, creator of The Jillian Michaels Fitness App.
Since most of your major muscle groups are working when you jump rope, the exercise is considered thermogenic — it creates a lot of heat in the body. Your body needs to burn more fuel to produce this energy, so it burns lots of calories.
“You will notice quickly that if you jump rope for two minutes straight as a beginner, it will heavily challenge your cardiovascular capabilities,” says personal trainer Morgan Rees. “Your heart rate will rise immediately and have to maintain the amount of energy produced for the muscles. This increases caloric burn as well as challenges the body’s different energy systems.”
2. Improves coordination
Jumping rope requires top-notch coordination, especially as you advance to more skilled moves, such as quickly swinging the rope twice within each jump.
“Jump rope improves coordination by requiring several body parts to communicate in order to complete one movement,” Rees says. “The feet must jump in time with the wrists rotating in order to create a continuous jumping motion.”
For example, a 2017 study published in the Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology found that jumping rope helped improve motor coordination among autistic children, who often struggle with balance and coordination.
Another 2015 study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine found that pre-teen soccer players who jumped rope exhibited better motor skills after 8 weeks than those who just did soccer drills.
3. Reduces injury risk
With your improved coordination from jumping rope, you’ll be less likely to get hurt either during exercise or in day-to-day activities, Michaels says.
“Jumping rope forces you to coordinate your upper and lower body movements so you are more agile and your body awareness is improved tremendously,” she says. “This makes you less injury prone.”
4. Improves heart health
Since jumping rope gets your heart pumping, it’s great for your cardiovascular system and heart health. For example, jump roping can increase your V02 Max, the measure of the maximum amount of oxygen a person can utilize during exercise. The higher someone’s VO2 max, the more cardiovascular endurance they have.
A 2019 study of college-aged men published in the Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology found that those who did two daily sessions of jump rope per day for 12 weeks improved their V02 max and functional movement compared with those who did their fitness routines as usual.
Jumping rope is also beneficial for people who are already at risk for cardiovascular disease. A 2018 study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that a 12-week jump rope regimen reduced cardiovascular disease risk factors in teen girls who had prehypertension, or borderline high blood pressure. At the end of the study, the girls who jumped rope had lower overall body fat, less body fat on the abdomen, and a better pulse rate — all of which can contribute to heart health.
5. Strengthens bone density
Jumping rope can make your bones stronger. Bone density measures the strength of your bones — if you have more minerals, like calcium, in your bones, they are less fragile and less likely to break. A higher bone density can also reduce risk for osteoporosis later in life, particularly for girls and women.
A 2017 study published in the Public Library of Science found that girls aged 11 to 14 who participated in weekly jump roping had higher bone density than those who did not jump rope. In 2019, the Korean Society for Bone and Mineral Research also recommended that people jump rope for 10 minutes a day to improve bone strength.
“Jumping rope builds bone density through impact training,” Michaels says. “When we train with impact we are stressing the bone more aggressively than most forms of training. The body responds to this stress by remodeling the bone to become stronger and more dense.”
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, jumping rope can be beneficial for people with weak bones, but you should talk to your doctor before starting this exercise.
How to incorporate jumping rope into your workout routine
Another major benefit of jumping rope is that it can be done almost anywhere, as long as you have a jump rope, which is relatively inexpensive. So if you’re in the market, check out Insider Reviews’ guide on the best jump ropes.
Michaels recommends the following to integrate jump rope into your life:
Jump rope for 10 minutes to warm up before any exercise
Complete three minutes of jump rope between rounds of resistance training
Do 60 seconds of speed jump roping between exercises like push-ups or sit-ups
Read the original article on Insider