Well, call me crazy. I bought a jump rope. You might recall from an earlier post that jump ropes kick my butt. I have never been a fan, not even as a young girl on the playground. But as a personal trainer, I feel as though it's high time I give this form of cardio a go because the benefits are ridiculously good.
First off, it's cheap. I bought my jump rope for $2.95 at Target. Made of vinyl and plastic, it's very lightweight which is a key characteristic. It also folds up to oblivion to go anywhere you do. And as previously mentioned, jumping rope is good for the ticker. (Obvious, I know. But anything good for the ticker is worth calling out.) Like most forms of cardio, jumping rope sends additional blood to your arms and legs which helps strengthen muscular endurance. It also sends blood to the brain, and the American Heart Association says that may help us in the learning department.
Another important bonus for jumping rope is that it can be relatively low impact—but only when done correctly. Jump flat-footed and your knees will scream. Jump on the balls of your feet with your knees slightly bent, get about an inch of the ground and you should be fine. Just keep your elbows in and head up, and flip the rope from your wrist. However long you go is entirely up to you. I prefer intervals (anywhere from 50 to150 reps) because it keeps my heart rate up while I strength train.
If you're a beginner, you may want to twirl a little slower to give yourself enough time for two jumps in every rotation. Need variation? Try jumping on one leg, or switching back and forth between the two. Who knows, maybe someday you'll be ready for something like this: