Health

Skipping your way to weight loss

BY JO-HANNA TAYLOR

Sunday, May 06, 2018

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THE months are skipping by so quickly! May is here and it has us jumping to new challenges!

If you haven't guessed it yet by all my 'jumping' references, this month's fitness dare for 12 Months 24 Dares — the wellness initiative that uses the support of community to help people create and stick to healthy wellness habits — is to: Buy or blow the dust off your skipping rope and set your timer and skip 10-20 minutes a day.

Skipping or jumping rope is an amazingly affordable aerobic exercise that can help you burn calories and lose some unwanted pounds. A boxer's go-to, it helps with total body strength, increases hand-eye coordination, builds strong bones and burns serious fat.

As a trainer talking to the busy client, I always encourage skipping rope as it is easy and requires little space. No longer is “I'm so busy at work” a viable excuse. Your office or your parking lot is fair game for this quiet exercise!

There are different types of jump ropes — weighted jump ropes and speed ropes. Although they have similar benefits, a weighted jump rope increases strength and promotes weight loss, while the speed rope promotes coordination.

If you are a beginner, a lightweight speed rope is the way to go. The speed rope is the boxer's go-to as it helps with footwork, speed and endurance.

Skipping tips

1. Skipping should be a low-impact, high-intensity cardiovascular endurance exercise; check with your doctor before you start.

2. Always warm up before you start. At least five minutes of walking or jogging.

3. Stand on the middle of the jump rope and pull the handles upward; if the handles are higher than your armpits, you need a shorter jump rope.

4. If you're a beginner, practise without the rope to work on your timing and form. Keep your elbows next to your body and allow your wrists to do the work — not your arms making huge circles.

5. When skipping, softly jump one to two inches off the floor using the balls of your feet. Your heels should not touch the ground and keep knees slightly bent.

6. Avoid hard concrete surfaces as they are a bad for the joints. Hardwood floors are best, but if you can't get that type of surface use a mat.

7. Skipping should be low-impact, so no need to jump high or kick your heels up.

8. Use a timer and break up your 10/20 minutes until you get stronger. This can be throughout the workout or throughout the day. So you could do five minutes, rest, then finish up.

9. Have a number you want to jump to, then beat it. Start at five and go up in increments that you are comfortable with. Practise!

10. Mix it up! If you are used to swinging the rope forward, try a backward motion or one legged if you are more advanced. Use the Internet to find jump rope variations that add a challenge when you're ready.

11. Aim to skip every day for maximum calorie burning (especially for this month), or at least three times per week.

12. It is always important to note good eating habits and consistent exercise promotes healthy weight loss. You can't 'out-skip' a poor diet.

Skipping can be such a fun exercise, but it can be very de-motivating, especially when you're not nailing it. Don't beat yourself up! Take your time. Don't let your foot get in your way!

Use the Internet to tweak your form or you can always join the movement. Email us at 12months24dares@gmail.com or follow us on Instagram and/or Facebook using the handle 12months24dares.

Jo-Hanna is the wellness coordinator of 12 Months 24 Dares. She is an internationally certified America Council of Exercise personal trainer, group fitness instructor and Power Vinyasa 200YT yoga instructor.

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