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How Jump Roping Surprised Me

Jump Roping has recently surprised me in the best possible way.

Jump Roping and the Pandemic

One night at the beginning of March, as things were getting serious with the Pandemic, I was playing around on the internet. And I ran across a couple of guys called the Jump Rope Dudes who have a whole business and program centered around jump roping. I found them on Instagram and began watching their videos and reading about their program.

I was so struck by their enthusiasm and excitement about jump roping that I decided to start jump roping on my back porch the next day.

jump roping

I Haven’t Jump Roped for a Long Time

I’m not gonna lie. It was hard, and I was really bad at it.

I have not jumped rope for years—probably in the last ten years, I have jump roped three times. Also in the same ten years, I have suffered a couple of ankle injuries. I also tore my calf muscle, and I was in graduate school for six of those years. I had to sit a lot to read and write.

All of that is to say: My cardiovascular fitness is uneven. Two summers ago, I did a long-distance walking adventure, which was awesome. And that helped me regain some of my heart strength. But in the last year, I have often felt weak in terms of cardiovascular fitness.

When I started jump roping, I was shocked at how hard it was and how uncoordinated I was.

At the beginning of my jump rope adventures, I couldn’t even do ten jumps in a row without missing the rope, and even after a few jumps, my heart started beating really fast.

But I also noticed something else: I really enjoyed jump roping, and when I finished my first jump roping session, as uncoordinated and unskillful as I was in it, my head felt really clear, and my heart felt extraordinarily happy and stronger—like happier and stronger than it had in a really long time.

I remembered in grade school in which we would have jump rope-a-thons to raise money, and the slogan was, “Jump for Your Heart”. No kidding. Jump roping definitely seemed like a gift to my heart.

I Keep Jumping

So even though I was pretty bad at jump roping, I kept at it. And I have been jump roping almost every day since early March.

To be honest, I am still not that great at it. I can now jump thirty times in a row, although I aim more to jump about 15-20 times because I am taking it slow to build a strong based.

So, I jump 15-20 times and take a break swinging the rope in figure eights in front of me. Then I jump another 15-20 times and take another break swinging the rope in figure eights in front of me. I repeat this anywhere from five to eight times right now—however much I feel like doing.

And recently, I have started incorporating some weight lifting and yoga at the end of my jump rope session. I do this all in my back yard, looking at the beautiful trees and listening to the birds. It’s really peaceful.

My Jump Roping Has Payed Off

I knew that jump roping was good for my heart, but I didn’t realize how good it was until I went hiking with my husband the other day. I really like to hike. But after grad school (and the sedentary years), I found that I easily got winded while hiking, especially while hiking up inclines.

Frequently on our hikes in the past, I would start gasping sometimes while going up large hills. And I would have to stop several times to catch my breath.

Much to my surprise, on our last hike, I found myself hiking faster than I had for many years—like before graduate school. And I even found myself ascending hills with confidence and getting much less winded.

I only stopped once to catch my breath. And I realize in retrospect that my stop was more out of habit than true necessity.

I finished the hike with confidence, joy, and excitement. And I definitely credit my new endurance and confidence to jump roping.

In fact, I had so much fun hiking with John that I went again by myself this morning.

It is not surprising that I have experienced these positive benefits from jump roping. Jump roping is actually as intense as running. But it has much less impact on your joints and can actually prevent you from suffering ankle and lower leg injuries.

Jump roping also has other excellent benefits like improving your posture, sharpening your cognitive function, improving coordination, and increasing your bone density. (You can read about these benefits here.)

Why I love Jump Roping

I am so excited about my new jump roping hobby. It is extremely easy to do. And I can do it outside in fresh air with the trees and the birds or inside if it is raining. It is also portable, and so I know I will be able to take it with me whenever I travel. And it will be a fun and easy way to play.

And jump roping is definitely a playful activity.

As I have researched more about it, I have discovered that there are weighted jump ropes that jumpers can use to challenge themselves. There are also a lot of different kinds of jump rope moves.

I plan to keep jump roping for a long time. And I am excited to see the new skills and areas of confidence I develop.

In my opinion, one of the most important ways we develop Basic Body Confidence is by realizing that our body is a miracle and capable of so many incredible things. Our goal is never to be smaller or larger or skinnier or more jacked or curvy or uncurvy. Our goal is to be us in all our uniqueness and complexity.

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Playful movement like the jump roping is one of the things that helps us explore the capability and complexity of our body.

So maybe take up jump roping if it interests you. Or find some other way to play. There are so many.

Just know that you and your body are worthy right now. And you deserve to feel strong, confident, and peaceful in your body.


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You might like this post:
Playfulness and Performance: Two Modes of Living

Recently I have been enjoying Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home videos, which have a playful and joyful approach to exercise.


18 thoughts on “How Jump Roping Surprised Me”

  1. How delightful! I’ve just started picking up my jump rope again too -also fueled by quarantine and exercises I can do at home, since hiking and tennis are off limits 🙁

  2. I got a rope just after our lockdown started. I’ve just started doing sets (using my plank tabata). Husband says I start off crazy fast & by the last set I’m more controlled. It’s my breathing that lets me down. Still I know I’ll be making progress. Thanks for the idea 🙂

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