Skipping is the new black. Forget about running. People are dropping dead while running. Running does not need much skill. Put one leg in front of the other and go faster. It’s so one dimensional.
If you are like me and don’t like to run, you should try skipping. Ever since I got kicked off my secondary school’s track team, I stopped running. Perhaps it’s the bad memories that have kept me unmotivated to run again… I digress… Anyway, running is also high impact, and I already put my body through a lot of impact from wakeboarding.
But we all need some sort of cardio exercise in our regimen. Our heart is a muscle too and don’t you want strong muscles? Like the muscles we can see, our heart needs the right kind of exercise to be strong and efficient. I’d say it is the most important muscle in our body, pumping vital blood around our body.
So, if running is not an option? What is?
There are many types of cardio exercises. The boyfriend, being a boxer, always encouraged me to skip. Besides being a great cardio workout, it strengthens the legs and glutes too… plus many, many other benefits. But truth be told, I didn’t have the discipline. I tried it once or twice but stopped after realizing how much work it was. He told me that I should start with 15 mins, broken into 5 sets of 3 mins. I said I wanted to do 5 mins in 3 sets. He smirked as he told me to go ahead and try.
He bought me a skipping rope and I started. The first time I skipped was truly unforgettable…
I put the timer on for 5 minutes and started skipping. As I skipped and skipped, I wondered how far into the 5 minutes I had gone. The tiredness was starting to kick in, sweat was dripping and I began panting… ‘How long has it been? When is the timer going to go off? Oh my god, I’m so tired!’ When I stopped to check the time, it wasn’t even close to a minute! I was so humbled and decided to try to make it to one minute first. There was one other occasion I skipped, then I put the skipping rope aside until I dislocated my hip.
Dislocating my hip was a game changer for me. I’ve busted my knees before and it was nothing compared to busting my hip. The right glute, the biggest muscle in the body, became useless, and there was a total loss of stability. To rebuild my glute, the boyfriend had to help me do the exercises in the beginning. It was not possible to move my leg on my own. That gave him the opportunity to talk me into skipping once again.
If I wanted to wakeboard at a high level, there was much to do. In all honesty, I did not train out of wakeboarding as much as I should have. My coach had pointed out before that my legs weren’t strong enough. Sure I did some cycling and long boarding. I went for yoga. But I did them without any awareness or consistency. I guess it was time to put in more effort into strengthening my body. My legs in particular.
After spending extra time with the boyfriend, I decided that I should give skipping a proper try. I decided that I would do it at least once a week. Did that happen? No. Not in the beginning at least. Like any new habit, it always takes time to get it ingrained into the lifestyle. One year later, I am finally skipping regularly. As a result, my wakeboarding has improved.
So that’s my story. But what does it matter to you? Well, here are 7 reasons why skipping is the new running.
7 Reasons to Add Skipping to Your Lifestyle
1. It Improves Cardiovascular Health
Sure, jumping up and down doesn’t really get you anywhere… or does it? A skipping session is an excellent cardio workout that not only improves blood circulation but helps build your endurance while strengthening your heart, lungs, and arteries. This is why several competitive athletes like boxers skip more vigorously while training.
2. It Improves Coordination & Stability
Granted, it isn’t easy to jump up and down for extended periods of time without missing a beat or tripping over the rope, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll soon find yourself varying the pace and rhythm. Jump on one foot, cross your arms on alternate rotations, or rotate the rope twice under your feet while you jump higher to give yourself a more challenging workout.Because of the nature of skipping, you will train your brain and body to focus on your feet. The more tricks you do, the more conscious and coordinated you’ll get.
3. It Increases Agility & Strength
Once you’ve nailed that balance, increasing your speed will help you improve your agility and reaction time. Skipping also mimics the pounding you take in many athletic activities, allowing you to increase feet and ankle strength. To build even more strength, create more resistance by skipping barefoot on grass or on a rubberized surface.
4. It is Good Rehab
Rehab regimes often use skipping, however, when you first start rehabbing a foot, ankle or knee injury, you’ll want to begin with a low-impact activity such as swimming or riding a stationary bicycle. You can then start skipping to strengthen the muscles which include the calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes. You’ll also be strengthening the ligaments and tendons that protect your feet, ankles, and knees. Begin by jumping just inches off the ground and landing on the balls of your feet. Remember to consult a doctor or trainer before starting any rehab exercises.
5. It Helps You Burn Calories
Skipping for 30 minutes actually burns more calories than a 30-minute jog. In fact, a 10-minute skipping session is roughly considered to be the equivalent of running 1.6 km in 8 minutes. Because skipping helps you burn calories, it can help greatly when you aim to shave some pounds. A 30-minute skipping session daily can burn up to 300 calories and if you eliminate another 400 on the calories you consume daily, you could drop up to 1 pound a week which is a healthy amount of weight loss without torture. Remember to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine or diet.
6. It Reduces Foot & Ankle Injury Risk
If you are active in other sports or athletic activities, you (literally) run a risk of foot or ankle injuries from the running, quick stopping and turning. Skipping not only improves coordination but helps strengthen the muscles in your foot and surrounding your ankle joint. In turn, this decreases the risk of injury to your feet and ankles.
7. It Improves Breathing and Your Ability to Stay Calm
Skipping improves how efficiently you breathe. This is especially beneficial as it trains you such that you will not be as out of breath after a workout. Because you are working your brain and body at the same time in a rhythmic pattern, your ability to stay calm increases and you will have more control over your mind and body. The improved ability to synchronize your mind and body can actually help you to be calmer in other stressful situations. Skipping trains the body to focus and multitask.
Grab a rope and start skipping. Transform your mind and body. Surprise yourself.
Want to know more about my experiences and how you can learn from them? Let’s talk… Drop me a line.