This month, young and old alike picked up their skipping ropes as school and community groups took part in events designed to highlight the health benefits of skipping.
Last year’s National Skipping Day (21 April) events saw more than 64,000 children take part in school events across the UK and organisers also targeted adults with special workouts.
There are a number of benefits to skipping. Two 10 minute sessions a day can burn more than 200 calories and, according to the British Rope Skipping Association, each 10-minute session can have the same health benefits as a 45-minute run.
The bouncing motion increases bone density, which is a benefit to anyone at risk from osteoporosis. If you are reasonably nimble and not at risk of falling over, aim to build up to a 100-skip session each day, then, if you can, you can build up further from there. The Osteoporosis Society recommends two to five minutes of a physical activity such as skipping every day to help prevent osteoporosis.
For less confident people, both in terms of overall fitness and steadiness, try jumping on the spot without a rope. It has many of the same benefits without the trip risk. Skipping and jumping on the spot builds bone and leg muscles, lowering the risk of a fall and the health, isolation and wellbeing issues that often follow. As always, if you have any existing health or fitness issues, always speak to a health professional before you get started.
For those who do feel confident trying a rope after years out of the playground, skipping aids concentration, coordination and balance, while the cardio workout is good for the heart and the lungs.
Skipping is also beneficial for people who are participating in competitive sports. Athletes, tennis, squash players and footballers can suffer foot and ankle injuries from running and then stopping quickly and turning. Skipping not only improves your foot coordination but also increases the strength in the muscles surrounding your ankle joint and in your foot, decreasing the chance of injury.
According to the Jump Rope Institute: “Jumping rope teaches players to stay on the balls of their feet, as opposed to being flat footed or on their heels. And since you are on your toes the entire time you jump rope, you will find that staying on your toes when playing tennis will become easier and second nature.”
Skipping is not only good for your health but it can also be a social event with a growing number of clubs and leagues around the country. To learn more, visit the British Rope Skipping Association website.
Skipping is also one of the cheapest forms of exercise. Once you have bought a rope it is free and you can take it anywhere. So, come the summer holidays, there is no excuse not to work off those fish and chips!