If you are going to invest in one piece of equipment for your exercise program I highly recommend getting a jump rope.
Jump roping is a great cardiovascular, strength building exercise. U.S. Olympic Wrestler, Buddy Lee, has cited research saying that 10 minutes of jumping rope can be as effective as 30 minutes of jogging for improving cardiovascular health. It is a wonderful cross-training exercise that can be beneficial in a variety of sports.
It is also versatile. You can do normal jump roping, skipping, high knees, or low jack jump roping.
Jumping rope doesn’t just burn calories and improve the functioning of your cardiovascular system. It also helps with: hand/eye coordination, balance, strength, and bone density. It does all this while working your legs, ankles, calves, glutes, thighs, back, arms, abs, shoulders and chest.
If you are buying a jump rope you want to measure it by stepping on the center of the rope, and lifting it until the handles reach your shoulders. Also, use proper form when jumping. Your arms should go out from your body at a 45 degree angle, and you should turn the rope with your wrists. Take breaks as needed, and slowly work your way up to longer periods of endurance.
I think jump roping makes a wonderful warm-up and cool down. It can be done almost anywhere. I like it as an extra cardiovascular activity to add to running. I love that I can do it in my house, so the weather never impacts my decision to workout.
If you feel inspired you can add some jump roping before or after any of my workouts. So enjoy!