Short on space, strapped for time or looking for an aerobic exercise that’s anything but running? A jump rope workout has you covered on all those counts, and more. Beloved by professional athletes and grade-schoolers alike, skipping is accessible (all you need is a rope and a pair of sneakers), effective (it combines upper-body coordination with a lower-body workout) and can be adapted to almost any fitness level. It’s also deceptively challenging: “There’s a big mind-body connection to be able to do it,” says Lara Marquez, a Toronto-based fitness trainer and founder of Drop Boxing Studio. “When I give adults a rope, many have to remember how to do it again.” Once you get into the rhythm, start with just five minutes per session. “Even just a single-foot hop at a time,” says Marquez. She recommends intervals, skipping for 30 seconds and resting for 30 more, and building up to 10 minutes or longer, ideally continuously. From there, intermediate to advanced modifications are endless. High knees? Criss-cross? Double-unders? Show off that fancy footwork.
Looking to jump into this workout, but haven’t bought a jump rope in years? Here’s two made-in-Canada picks:
Kanga Rope: This Dundas, Ont.-based manufacturer has been supplying schools, competitors and individuals with vinyl ropes since 1983. 7-ft Licorice Rope, $4, kangarope.com
For serious skippers
Gorila Fitness: Loaded with ball bearings and swivel handles for faster skipping, this speed rope is made in Quebec and sold worldwide. Competitors Speed Rope, $40, gorilafitness.ca