Written by Dr Mickey Mehta
Skipping workouts may not be good but skipping otherwise, as part of your workout, is very good. In fact, it may be under-rated but is the most effective drill for a full body workout. The bounce gives a massage to your lymphatic system and helps your lymph nodes drain. Also, it improves the firing of your neurons and increases synaptic connections.
But make sure to know that your knees are not made of steel. So, you must be gentle, your bounce and your thump should be soft and there has to be a rhythm.
GOOD FOR CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
Skip only as much as your heart and your lungs permit you to. So, set your limits according to your body capacity. Your breath should be in rhythm and so should be the thump of your feet. This is great for blood circulation and if you skip to music, it gets your happy hormones going. A 2021 study actually found that skipping eases anxieties and elevates your mood. Skipping is very good for cardiovascular fitness and improves your lung capacity.
BURNS CALORIE AND AIDS IN WEIGHT LOSS
It maximises calorie-burn, causing you to lose weight. As it strengthens core muscles and tightens the abdominal area, it automatically reduces belly fat. A study in 2013 even found that those who spent 10 minutes of jumping rope daily for six weeks improved their cardiovascular fitness just as much as joggers in the same time period. Jumping rope is believed to burn up to 300 calories in 15 minutes. That is more than some more strenuous cardio exercises.
This is understandable because when you are skipping, you are working almost every major muscle group in the body. Besides, it generates heat and burns up a lot of calories to do so.
FOR BRAIN HEALTH
Skipping is good for your brain functioning, especially if you know how to move your ropes well in various combinations, sharpening your motor ability and coordination. Boxers find a lot of combinations and recreation in skipping. It is a great kind of foot work which keeps you very agile and alert. It brings focus, attention and concentration.
Jumping rope strengthens your bones and cuts the risk of osteoporosis. A study in 2017 found that girls aged 11 to 14, who participated in weekly skipping, had a higher bone density than those who did not jump rope. In 2019, the Korean Society for Bone and Mineral Research suggested skipping for 10 minutes as part of a rehabilitative programme that improves bone strength.
WHAT YOU NEED TO WATCH OUT FOR
But is skipping the be-all and end-all of fitness? Certainly not. With skipping, you need to have a proper nutritional input and food discipline. Couple that with a lot of deep breathing, pranayama, yoga postures, calisthenics and functional training.
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Always skip on a softer, padded surface, which has a great bounce and which provides great soft cushioning for your feet. This way you can be easy and kind to your joints. Pace out your skips and regularly massage your knees and ankles. Soak your ankle in a combination of hot and cold water to release the stress from the ankle joints.
Even the back might get stressed out with skipping, depending on whether you are doing an alternate leg skipping or both leg bounces together. But with checks and balances, this is a good routine to keep your body supple and agile.
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(Dr Mehta has trained Bollywood superstars Akshay Kumar, Preity Zinta, billionaires, politicians, Miss World/Miss Universe candidates and the Maharashtra Police. A best-selling author, he has been appointed FIT India Movement Champion by the Sports Authority of India).
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