Health

Can a fun workout also be effective?

Last week the greatest jumpers — freestylers, double-dutchers, all-arounders and speedsters — gathered in Washington, D.C. for the World Jump Rope Championships. I watched the coverage while jumping in my living room. The gifts of coordination and timing are truly awesome to behold in a competition like this one. But it’s the smiles that stand out the most.

jumpsnap-rope

JumpSnap

Last week the greatest jumpers — freestylers, double-dutchers, all-arounders and speedsters — gathered in Washington, D.C. for the World Jump Rope Championships. I watched the coverage while jumping in my living room. The gifts of coordination and timing are truly awesome to behold in a competition like this one. But it’s the smiles that stand out the most. There’s focus and determination in the jumper’s eyes, but also lot of happiness across the gym room floor.

Fun workouts can help us break out of exercise ruts. The novelty pulls us in, but it’s the fun factor that creates a healthy new habit.

Jumping rope is an amusing and highly effective workout, provided you manage to stay in time and avoid tripping on the rope. If you’re a jump enthusiast who gave up dreams of skipping because of poor coordination or timing, JumpSnap, a ropeless jump rope, could bring back your bounce.

The idea sounds ridiculous at first, but once I started swinging the handles, I didn’t want to stop. The freedom to jump from side to side like slalom skier, or skip quickly into lunges and squats, made me wonder why I ever thought I needed a rope.

The device has a small computer in one of the handles that tracks workout time, number of jumps, and calories burned. A series of three different weights, which easily screw into the handles, allows you to increase the heaviness of each handgrip for a great arm workout.

My favourite part is the rhythmic “swish” sound that JumpSnap makes to set a steady tempo, just like a traditional jump rope.

JumpSnap’s website says the gizmo burns three times more calories than walking on a treadmill, but I haven’t seen the data to back up the claim. Regardless of the exact number of calories, I like how the gadget helps get my heart rate up, and keeps it up, for a sustained period of time.

It’s also very, very fun. I wake up in the morning, get the coffee brewing, and jump as fast as I can for 20 minutes. It’s a quick burst of convenient exercise that instantly energizes me. I feel like a kid again, when Sunday afternoons presented a world of endless opportunities to have fun and my sister and I would alternate jumping rope and swinging a Skip-It until the sun went down.

Adding a fun workout like jumping rope is a great way to put some spring back into your step. Maybe I’ll petition the World Jump Rope Championships for a new ropeless category.

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