Most people have a skipping rope at home, and you can build this into either a workout or a part of play with your children
Skipping ropes are inexpensive, portable, and easy to store, with zero maintenance and a lifetime warranty. Skipping as a cardio workout is an excellent way to stay fit: lose or maintain weight; strengthen lower body muscles; improve bone density, agility, and balance; increase stamina and endurance; and boost metabolism. Skipping can be done as a workout by itself or can be incorporated into a cardio session or a cardio and strength session. A wooden floor or packed mud is the best option.
The workout formula
Total time: Approx 45 minutes
This is a high intensity interval training programme.
Warm up and mobility, 10 minutes.
Skip, one minute.
Squats with rope held taut in both hands and arms raised overhead, one minute.
Forward lunge hold with figure of eight, one minute on each leg.
Repeat six cycles of this pattern, quickly, without a break.
Stretch all the lower body muscles, especially the calves, post workout, 10 minutes.
Place both hands on the wall. Take the left leg back, making sure your heel touches the ground. You will feel an intense stretch in the calf region. Hold for at least 20 seconds on each leg.
Do it right
Wear shock absorbing shoes
Dress in light-weight clothes and for women, supportive sports bra
Keep water handy as it is a hot, sweaty workout
Choose a rope that feels comfortable
Warm up by walking for 10 minutes and doing ankle, wrist, and shoulder rotations (this helps you swing the rope)
Land on the balls of your feet
If you have injuries, heart or lung ailments, or any other chronic issues
Doing too much too soon, if you are new to skipping. Include a one minute interval in your regular cardio session, no more. Give yourself at least a 5 to 6 weeks of practice before skipping continuously for longer periods
Landing on your heels
Variations (single leg, jumping Jack, backward skipping) until you are comfortable with the form of regular skipping.
Nisha Varma is an ACSM-certified exercise physiologist. A monthly column with exercises for a home workout