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Get the Maximum Workout out of the Most Underrated Piece of Exercise Equipment

Do you know what the best cardio workouts are? You'd be wrong if you guessed the treadmill, the elliptical machine, or even a bicycle! Swimming and rowing are the two best forms of cardio, as they engage upper, lower, and core body muscles for maximum efficiency. However, coming in at a close third is a workout most people tend to forget: jumping rope.

Jumping rope is one of the best cardio workouts for a number of reasons:

  • It improves your coordination and rhythm.
  • It helps to calm you down in face of fast-flying objects, such as balls and your opponent's fists.
  • It strengthens your feet, ankles, and calf muscles, reducing your risk of foot and ankle injuries.
  • It increases your leg bone density, reducing the risk of fractured or broken bones.
  • It burns 1 calorie per 10 jumps--as many as 1,300 calories per hour!
  • It enhances your breathing capacity, boosts your metabolism, and improves circulation.
  • It increases your spatial awareness, improves your memory, enhances reading and recognition skills, and gives you more alertness.

As you can see, jumping rope is a brilliant way to get a workout! It's fun and easy, and best of all, it's incredibly portable. You can carry a jump rope to work in your briefcase, on holiday in your suitcase, or anywhere you go in your car.

At the beginning, it's going to be tiring. Jumping rope can take a toll on your feet, ankles, knees, and lower back, so you have to start out slow. Here are a few tips to help you do it right:

  • Never let your heels touch the ground. This forces the balls of your feet to do the work, and will protect your feet from injury.
  • Use your wrists. Unless the rope is too short, try to avoid using your arms and shoulders. Let your wrists do the work.
  • Make your jumps small. Jumping too high will only tire you out more quickly, so keep your jumps as small as possible.
  • Get into a rhythm. Set a goal to do 100 jumps in 60 seconds, and work until you reach it. As you get faster, increase the speed of the jump rope workout.

Here is a very simple 10-minute jump rope workout to get you started:

Jump rope for 60 seconds. A simple, steady rhythm will do the trick.

Jump rope for 30 seconds, switching feet between jumps. Switch feet every one or two jumps.

Rest for 30 seconds.

Jump rope for 60 seconds. Steady and simple again.

Jump rope on one foot for 30 seconds, switching feet every 10 jumps.

Rest for 30 seconds.

Jump rope for 60 seconds. Keep that rhythm consistent.

Jump rope for 60 seconds, with a double jump every 10 jumps.

Rest for 30 seconds.

Jump rope for 60 seconds. Nice and steady.

Jump rope for 30 seconds, switching feet every jump.

Rest for 30 seconds.

Jump rope for 90 seconds. Finish at a steady pace.

By the end of this 10-minute workout, you'll be feeling the burn in your calves and your cardiovascular system will be working at top speed.

[Image via Getty]

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