In this era of increasingly super-ultra high-tech fitness, many simple, old-school fitness tools are unfortunately getting neglected. It just looks so “uncool” to some people, to use something your great grandparents may have used to keep fit. With all the high-tech options available today, and with how accurately they can keep track of calories burned, why go primitive? While I am not opposed to technological progress, I believe some of the best workouts you can possibly have can still be done with little to no equipment.
Take jumping rope for instance. Very ancient and ever affordable, a 150 lb(68 kg) person can burn 238 calories in 20 minutes by jumping rope at a moderate pace. And it exercises both your upper and lower body. All you need is the rope, and the space to do this(wooden floors are best). There are so many to choose from, and you can even make your own jump rope. It’s pretty good cross training for runners and boxers. Boxers frequently jump rope because it improves cardiovascular fitness and stamina. And heck, it’s a lot of fun when I do it very fast.
Besides being a good total body cardio exercise, jumping rope can also improve coordination. According to the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health Sciences, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey:
Adding rope jump to training programs improves joint repositioning and coordination. Weighted Rope Training group got greater gains for coordination and eccentric endurance parameters for lower extremities in a closed kinetic chain.
This makes it excellent cross-training for a variety of fitness activities. This is also one of the reasons I often recommend jumping rope to people who have trouble learning how to juggle. Becoming a good rope jumper may also help you become a competent joggler. Remember, in joggling, rhythm is everything, and jumping rope can help you develop a good sense of rhythm. It may even help you become a better dancer, so maybe you can compete on Dancing with the Stars after all(is this still on?).
I don’t jump rope as often as I used to, but being in the “rope bubble” as I call it puts me into a meditative state that is similar to how I feel when I juggle.
High-tech fitness equipment has its place, but they don’t guarantee amazing fitness results. And whatever you do, don’t forget to work on your coordination.