Feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, and held hostage by late night food cravings, I was caught in a vicious cycle of losing a few pounds and gaining them back again. For the most part I attempt to eat healthy everyday. But when a cheat day turns into a cheat week, or a cheat month it all falls apart. A closet full of clothes and nothing looked right on me any more. Lack of motivation, work, travel, injuries, not sleeping well, heat, rain, one excuse after another for over a year led to gaining back almost half of the weight that I had worked so hard to lose.
Several months ago I went to a Sexual Health Seminar for Women over 50 put on by the National Council on Ageing. The seminar focused on several aspects of health and they gave out great gift bags filled with all sorts of treasures. One of which was a jump rope. A jump rope? At my age? I looked at it, smiled over the memories of double dutch with my cousins, and laid it aside.
I prayed for relief from the ups and downs of trying to get back into a workout routine so I could not only lose the weight but sleep better and feel better. I vowed to run more, eat right, drink more water, and get to bed at a decent hour. I was doing well. I had stopped the weight gain but was still looking for a breakthrough to get back to where I had been.
A few weeks ago a friend sent me a workout video featuring different jump rope techniques. I watched it and laughed. But, something about it kept nagging at me. I got curious and decided to research the benefits of jumping rope. And I was shocked to discover so many reasons to stop laughing and start jumping!
I eagerly but awkwardly picked up my jump rope and tentatively got started. A week later I was again able to pray like the Psalmist, “O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health.”
I couldn’t do much at first. Just a few minutes. I gradually worked up to ten. Then I realized that I could do 50 revolutions with the jump rope followed by 10 push ups. And then I added in squats and chair dips. And a workout routine unfolded. Ten minutes turned into 15, 30, or even 40 minutes. Each day getting more creative and stronger. After the first week I was down 5 lbs and feeling better about myself than I had in a long time.
I’ve discovered a multitude of personal benefits from simply jumping rope but I’ll just share 10 of them here:
1- it blasts calories!
According to Science Daily it’s equivalent to running an 8 minute mile. Jumping rope burns 10-16 calories per minute. Because I’m a slow runner this one made a huge impression on me. It takes me 25 minutes of running to burn the same amount of calories as 20 minutes of jumping rope.
2- it helps improve balance, quickness, and coordination
One of the reasons I quit running for a few months was fear of falling. I had three falls over the past year, the last one in February and I didn’t want to go through that again. Jumping rope took away the fear of falling and allowed me to still get in a high quality workout.
3- one of the best workouts for brain health
Keeping the brain healthy and strong is definitely one of my goals. And the best workouts for the brain involve coordination, rhythm, and strategy.
4- increases bone density
Bone health decreases the risk of injury due to falling and helps maintain a healthy immune system.
You don’t have to join a gym or purchase any expensive equipment. All you need is a jump rope that is the right length for you!
The weather won’t matter and your busy schedule or travel won’t get in the way. You can take it anywhere and use it at anytime of the day.
7- improves muscle tone in legs and lower body
According to Muscle and Fitness jumping rope does more than just give calves a good workout—it also helps to tighten and tone your rear delts, abdominals, quads and hamstrings.
8- helps strengthen lung capacity
As a singer this one is vital to me. I’m always looking for ways to improve my breathing. This exercise encourages your body to use oxygen more efficiently. Resulting in your heart, lungs, and circulatory system being strengthened.
9- lower impact workout with high impact benefits!
According to WebMD if it’s done properly it is less impact on the joints than jogging. The key is to make sure that you are doing it properly by staying on your toes and using your body’s natural shock absorbers.
10- it’s fun!
It’s exciting to know that I can do the same exercise as an elite boxer or a child on the playground and feel challenged to do more and get encouraged by the results.
I no longer feel as if I have to get up by 6 to get outside to run before it gets too hot. If it rains I’m not held hostage inside waiting for the storm to pass. I won’t give up running altogether. I do love to be outside and I love time I spend out there praying and hearing from God. I still run 2-3x’s a week. But, I find myself looking forward to at least 15 minutes each day with the jump rope. And 2-3x’s times a week I add in body weight exercises as well.
Thanks to the National Council on Ageing in Belize and my friend Camilah, I feel better, I’m sleeping better, and my clothes fit better all because of a simple jump rope!