If the last time you jumped rope was in middle school, you're missing out. Because when you're not focusing on the fancy footwork required by Double Dutch, basic jump roping can be a serious calorie-blaster and tone you up all over. If you've ever tried to do it for longer than three minutes, you know it's no joke.
That's why we got Michael Olajide, co-founder of Aerospace High Performance Center and author of Sleekify!: The Supercharged No Weights Workout, to break down the benefits of his Aerojump class — and explain exactly why you should add a jump rope to your regular routine.
It burns major calories.
Jumping rope can zap 10 calories per minute; a vigorous workout like Aerojump can burn 1,200 calories in just 45 minutes! "Jump rope is an incredible calorie burner because of the tenseness of anticipation," explains Olajide. "You use every muscle in your body simultaneously. Put that together with perpetual varying range of motion and speeds you must be going in order to qualify your activity as jump rope, and that's part of what makes it an incredible calorie incinerator."
It tones your muscles at the same time.
Like Olijade explained above, jumping rope is a multi-tasking exercise. That means that while you're getting a killer cardio workout, you're also toning and firming all of your muscles — not just your legs. "You definitely will tone and define muscle," says Olajide, "but you won't build mass; instead, you'll build sleek, fast, coordinated muscle. Intelligent physicality, I like to call it."
It's also a serious fat-blaster.
"Fitness is really very simple," says Olajide. (Well, the idea of it at least — simple is the last thing on our minds when we're sweating through a workout.) "If you are doing fitness because you want visual changes, then, ultimately, it's calories consumed versus calories burned. If you [burn more than you take in], you will burn fat throughout every part of your body… mid-section, arms. butt, wherever fat resides it will be reduced." And since jumping rope burns SO many calories, to put it simply: "Jump rope is more effective than liposuction."
It keeps you on your toes.
Obviously, jumping rope requires you to be quick on your feet, so it helps you build coordination and nimbleness. "Maintaining or building agility is great because that is one of the hallmarks of an athletic body," says Olajide. "That's what you want to be for as long as possible: agile and athletic."
It builds your endurance.
"To me, endurance means stressing your body through frequent physical activity for a prolonged period of time," says Olajide. "Stronger mind and muscles equal increased blood flow, which increases your body's ability to heal from injury and illness. And healthy blood flow also makes daily tasks like laundry, mowing the lawn, racing off to work or school, whatever, much easier."
It's not just for kids.
"Jumping rope is one of the most fat-blasting, metabolism-boosting, endorphin-enhancing, coordination-developing, effective, efficient and convenient exercises you will ever undertake — bar none," says Olajide. "It may not be the cure to all that ails you," but it helps prevent all kinds of deterioration. "I consider jump rope the true 'wonder drug,'" he says. Um, we don't need any more convincing than that.
It you need more reasons to try jumping rope, there's this: "It just feels good," says Olajide, "like you accomplished something for yourself other than just working out." When you first try it, you'll probably end up laughing at yourself and your outdated technique. But that's healthy, too. And while you're laughing, you'll be getting a killer workout.