You don't have to spend hours exercising to lose fat and stay fit. A jump rope alone can make you the fittest you've ever been.
Unfortunately, lack of skill discourages many people from performing this exercise. If you've never jumped rope before, realize that it'll take you a few sessions to gain rhythm and coordination, so don't quit if you don't get it right the first time. Even though jumping rope is classified as cardio, it offers several unique benefits that other cardio exercises like running or treadmill don't. But I'm not advising you to ditch these exercises. Just make sure you add jumping rope to your workout regimen.
Here are 6 reasons why jumping rope is one of the most effective exercises.
1. It burns lots of calories
Jumping rope is a full body exercise, which means the body uses a lot of energy while performing it. Jumping rope actually burns more calories than running minute per minute. You can burn as many as 250 calories if you jump rope for 15 minutes at high intensity. Note that full body exercises are more effective than ab exercises when it comes to losing belly fat.
2. It improves bone density
According to Dr. Daniel W. Barry, a researcher who has studied bones of athletes and the elderly, jumping up and down is the best exercise for improving bone density. But you need to check with a physician if you have prior joint injuries or bone fractures.
Jumping up and down may feel uncomfortable if you're sedentary, so start slow and keep progressing workout after workout. A great way to get started is to take on the 21-day jump rope challenge.
3. It improves coordination and speed
The jump rope is popular among athletes because it improves coordination, speed, agility, power and rhythm. These skills are beneficial to anyone, even those who don't aspire to be athletes. They can be applied in all aspects of life.
4. It improves cardiovascular health
Unlike strength exercises, jumping rope helps improve cardiovascular health. Jumping rope for 15-20 minutes every day will help improve your lung and heart health.
5. Helps maintain or increase muscle mass
Most cardio exercises actually lead to loss of muscle if performed excessively. But the jump rope helps maintain muscle mass and can actually increase muscle mass if you use the weighted jump rope. Even a regular jump rope will build those stubborn calf muscles.
6. It's fun and enjoyable
Jumping rope can be very enjoyable especially when you're learning new jump rope skills. Other exercises usually get boring and repetitive, but learning new skills will actually encourage you to keep going and learn more. In fact, you'll jump for a longer duration when practicing skills than in a normal workout.
Now, you only need to purchase a jump rope and start jumping. If you want to jump fast, purchase a speed jump rope or get a weighted jump rope if you want to increase strength and muscle.
READ MORE: 5 Fitness Myths Debunked
Written by Brian Syuki. This article originally appeared on Care2.com.