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An Easy Exercise To Do At Home

It started this time last year after three friends and I celebrated Cinco de Mayo at a Mexican restaurant. Although we enjoyed ourselves, we ate a lot, and as we stared at empty bowls of chips and salsa we agreed we needed more exercise. “Jumping rope is an easy exercise to do at home!” I said. “I read somewhere that jumping rope for ten minutes is equal to jogging for thirty minutes!” Since I don’t like to jog, that sounded like a good deal to me. I told them I would start jumping rope as a quick and easy way to get more exercise.

An empty bowl of chips and salsa

 

“You can’t jump rope for ten minutes,” one friend said. “It’s too hard.” A challenge! After our dinner, I stopped at a big box athletic store and spent thirty bucks on a weighted training rope. I picked it from the two or three jump ropes available because I liked the promises on the package:

“Helps to improve conditioning and core strength.”
“Most need a heavier rope to train.”
“Some folks need a faster rope to PR on their double-unders.”

However, I later realized I didn’t know what a PR was, and couldn’t do double-unders, but…I like buying new gear. More on that later.

Exercise for Stress Relief

Any type of body movement is a good antidote for stress, but jump rope is particularly good for me because it helps me get my heart rate into the zone of low intensity training. In his book Spark The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, John Ratey cites evidence that exercise at this level reverses insulin resistance, a contributor to body fat buildup, and also supports increased production of the calming and pleasurable neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.

An Easy Exercise to Do At Home

Jumping rope is a good exercise to do at home because it doesn’t take up much space, and can be done inside during bad weather and any time of the day. I’m writing this during the COVID-19 pandemic, when business travel seems a quaint relic of the past. However, I traveled for work almost half of each month in my previous life, and found jumping rope a convenient exercise to do in hotel rooms and exercise facilities. 

Brain Health

Exercise in general is good for brain health, because it improves circulation and blood flow that nourishes the brain. Since activities with complex movements require coordination between different parts of the body, they give an extra boost to cognitive function since new nerve connections and pathways are formed when we learn new motor skills. As a result, activities like jumping rope, dancing, and racquet sports enhance brain health.

Finding Time to Exercise

If it is difficult for you to find time to exercise, jumping rope might be a good choice because it doesn’t take a long time to get health benefits.

My friend was right. After I bought that jump rope I discovered I could not jump for ten minutes. At first, I could only do a couple of minutes before I got winded. I planned to gradually work up to ten minutes, but my knee hurt if I jumped that long. A year later, I still haven’t made it to that magical ten minutes that’s supposed to equal jogging for a half hour.

Yet I still jump rope, because it helps me get my heartbeat in the training range. I can walk a brisk mile on a treadmill or path and never get my heart rate above 75. One minute jumping rope gets me into the moderate range. Thus, about three times a week I walk for a mile, jump rope for a minute, and walk another mile. It feels good, but only takes an hour. That’s much easier to fit into my schedule than a longer four or five mile walk. It’s similar to my approach to bicycling that I described in my video review of John Ratey’s book: https://deborahrankinrd.com/spark

How Do You Determine Your Target Heart Rate Zone?

The Penn Medicine Heart and Vascular Blog provides good guidance for target heart rates during exercise. https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/heart-and-vascular-blog/2018/march/exercise-target-heart-rate

They note these are just general standards. If you take medications that affect heart rate, or if you have a heart condition or are in cardiac rehab, you need special consideration and monitoring before starting an exercise regime. They say an exercise physiologist is a good resource to consult to develop the best exercise plan for you. 

Jump Rope Moves

I am not an expert on that, because I just do the basic hopping jump. In my opinion, the American Council on Exercise gives the best information on jumping rope as an exercise. They show different jump rope moves and styles: https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/6395/7-benefits-of-jumping-rope/

Jumping rope is generally considered to be lower impact (i.e. less force on bones and joints) than running or jogging, but it does put stress on the knees, ankles, and hips. Always check with your physician for approval before you begin a new exercise like this, and to reduce the risk of tripping or falling, don’t jump rope on carpet or grass. To reduce the impact on my joints, I like to jump on wooden floors, a smooth dirt surface, or an exercise mat.

Best Jump Rope

I am so happy you asked, since I love to buy gear—outdoor gear, camera gear, kitchen gear. The first jump rope I bought was difficult to use, so I ordered six different kinds from Amazon and tested them all!

This picture shows the different jump ropes I tested

 

What About You?

 

Do you check your heart rate during exercise?

How long has it been since you jumped rope?

If you’re thinking about jumping rope because it’s an easy exercise to do at home, save yourself time and money by referring to my jump rope guide before you buy a rope. On the guide, the different ropes are listed by their brand names, and you can find them by entering “jump ropes” into the search bar on Amazon.

Put your first name and email into the box below to get the jump rope guide.

I hope you find this helpful! I would be grateful for your like or share on social media.

 

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2 thoughts on “An Easy Exercise To Do At Home”

  1. Deb–I tried the jump rope exercise when the kids were doing jumping rope fundraisers for AHA, but, like you, I could only do a couple minutes and it was hard to find time; plus, I think I loved walking SO much that once Paul was old enough to get up and be safe with Jenn sleeping if he really needed help. (Golly gee, what I’d have given for cell phones when my kids were that age, especially after the divorce when I was sometimes as far away as Baytown or West U. and we lived in First Colony.) Anyway, As soon as I’d gotten Bob breakfast and he was gone, at 6:30 a.m. I’d walk 6 miles in 1.5 hours–that was in the months before I finally spoke up and could stand the marriage any more. Oh, but I loved those morning walks; my therapist said I was probably trying to walk far enough to get out of the marriage. Whether she was right or not, I enjoyed them and was sure in good shape without changing my weight but with inches lost! Anyway, I just wanted to chat with you a bit. Are you in Colorado? Where in Colorado? Wow, I would love to be there, but the Des Moines area is not bad; it has merged with what were small towns near Des Moines when I lived about 50 miles away in a not quite so small a town. It seemed huge since we were used to a town of 367 pop. and in Iowa it was 12,000! I’ve loved the true seasons compared to the 2 sort of seasons–green and not quite as green. Les has known life nowhere but Houston so he is making a huge change to put me closer to my kids and brothers. Walking the dog early and in snow sometimes was a challenge! But the dog was his idea, so I didn’t break down and do it. We’d agree on no more dogs, and then he falls for a Schnauzer puppy! If I’d known dogs were an option again, I’d have had a German Shepherd from their Rescue League long before he found the Schnauzer! But Sadie is a cutie but terrier thru and thru! Thankfully, we have two areas on different sides of our townhouse that are perfect for throwing balls for her 3-4 times a day. She gets enough exercise that’s for sure! Send me an email update! I’d love it!

    1. Hi Peggy, so glad to hear from you! I’ll send you an update personally. Glad you’re enjoying Iowa, and I know you’ve always liked snow and weather seasons so you finally made it! xoxo Deb

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