Thoughtful Thursday…A beneficial exercise for both cardio and meditation…
Welcome to Thoughtful Thursday. This GreenNote Fitness newsletter mindfully gathers and distills useful information that is supportive to our journey. It is my mission to educate, inspire, and propel you into action that moves you towards your goals and life of purpose. Take control of your journey today.
Step into a boxing gym or walk onto a playground (circa 1970’s) and you will see boxers and children jumping rope.
Do you remember jumping rope as a kid? Or perhaps you already incorporate this wonderful exercise into your training tool-kit. In either case, we will look at some benefits and ways that I use this wonderfully effective tool with my training. Let’s jump to it! A quick look at some of the benefits of jumping rope:
It can improve your coordination: jumping rope can be performed at a steady, regular cadence. The cadence and rhythm of jumping rope can help improve the coordination between your eyes, feet, and hands.
It can help improve your cognitive function: it involves learning new motor patterns, which improves nervous system communication between your brain, wrists, and lower leg muscles. This helps to improve your overall cognitive function, which is an important benefit as we age.
It can increase the intensity of strength-training workouts: strength-training workouts that alternate between different muscle groups can increase heart rate and provide a cardiorespiratory benefit. Adding one or more jump-rope stations to a circuit is an easy way to increase the intensity of the overall workout. Add two to three minutes of steady rope jumping at the end of a circuit for an additional calorie-burning opportunity.
Four ways to incorporate jumping rope into your training tool-kit
1.) As a warm-up before your training I love, love, love this as a warm-up. It is pretty easy to go slow and just jump a little, working not only your legs but also the arms. Blood flows to all areas of the body carrying oxygen with it. If I’m going to go for a run, this is the number thing I will do before hitting the pavement. Nothing is worse than hitting the road when the body (and mind) is not warmed up. Jumping rope takes care of that and primes the body and mind before the run. How I do it: Locate a surface that is reasonably soft like a floor mat, wood floor, if possible. Start with both feet together, jump just high enough to clear the rope and the proceed to do a two-count (rotate rope twice) on foot, then switch to the other. Find a comfortable, easy pace and continue for 5 minutes.
2.) As stand alone training Jumping rope is a great exercise in and of itself. In fact, it just may possibly be perfect. Why? Ever watch a boxer train? It can be used as a warm-up as we previously discussed, ramped up for an intense HIIT training, and as a cool-down. All with staying in one place. How I do it: As discussed in 1.) above, begin a nice and easy pace to get the blood flowing and muscles warmed up. Once sufficiently warmed up, turn up the heat! Start rotate the rope faster and faster, you can still incorporate the both feet and then single foot approach which I prefer as I can find a good rhythm doing it that way. For a high-intensity training protocol, go as fast as you can for 20 seconds (if you get tripped up, get your rope re-set and start jumping), then slow down for 10 sec and repeat for 5 to 7 minutes. You could do that cycle for two or three minutes and then do 10 or 20 push-ups and back to the rope again. Whew! Water please!
3.) Take your jump rope with you for travel No need to worry about a makeshift hotel gym that gets mistaken as a big broom closet for maintenance. Take your rope with you in your car or in your carry-on bag. How I do it: I’ve taken my rope with me when visiting friends or family. I will excuse myself to the basement or outside and get a quick, effective training session in without feeling like I’ve “declined”. Let’s face it, as we get older, it’s easier to loose our fitness faster. There’s no need to decline. Keep it pumping! 4.) As a meditative practice Ever gone swimming, jogging, rowing, or walking in nature and noticed how clear your head felt? Not thinking about anything? Able to leave the thought of work and stress behind? The same thing can be accomplished with jumping rope. Much like the pace of the warm-up, just jump high enough to clear the rope, find your rhythm, and just be…listen to the sound of the rope, your feet hitting the floor… How I do it: I find room enough that I won’t be in anyone’s way and begin to warm-up with rope, finding my rhythm. And then I just go, right foot, left foot, both feet, and repeat. Sometimes I’ll start with the other foot, just as long as I keep going. I’ve found that listening to the sound of the rope as moves through the air and then hits the floor helps me find my rhythm and I can clear my thoughts. Where to purchase a jump rope You can of course purchase one on Amazon. Also consider purchasing from a physical location such as a local sports store or big box (you will get to interact with people and pick up some extra steps walking to and from your vehicle). Here is a photo of mine:
What if I can’t jump? Fear not, if you have issues jumping off the ground, you can still get a really great benefit from simulating jumping rope. Place your arms and hands at your sides like you were holding a rope, begin rotating your arms forward with the imaginary rope in your hands and simultaneously come up on toes and back down, like you are doing a quick toe-raise exercise or mini hop. You can even shift your weight to one foot and back to the other, all the while rotating your arms in a jumping rope fashion. You will be surprised how this little movement can get your heart rate elevated. Give jumping rope a whirl as a warm-up, stand-alone exercise, when you are on the road, or as a way to meditate. The benefits are enormous and the space and time needed is small. Enjoy your journey, Lisa Schaffer GreenNote Fitness You wouldn’t happen to know just one person that would benefit from this information? Please forward it to them! Did you miss last week’s newsletter on Celebrate Independence Day in Service to a Veteran. P.S. Check out my Facebook page for inspiration. P.P.S. Discover GreenNote Fitness recommendations for books, podcasts, and more on body, mind, and spirit.