If you're looking for a way to burn a lot of calories, jumping is one of the best types of exercise you can do. Not only does it recruit your leg muscles (which use a lot of energy), but they force your heart and lungs to work overtime. You'll find that just one minute of jumping is far more tiring than running or cycling for two or three times as long.
That's what makes rope skipping, also known as jumping rope, one of the best types of cardiovascular exercise you can do. You'll find that it will recruit your muscles (particularly your calves) and push your body to the limits of its endurance. The more you jump, the more your body will be able to handle.
Now, be warned: rope is more anaerobic than aerobic. This means that it burns glucose instead of fat, as there isn't enough oxygen to activate stored fats. If you're interested in burning fat directly, jumping rope isn't your ideal training protocol. It burns through energy at an amazing rate, but it will be glucose (blood sugar).
However, what makes rope skipping so great is the fact that it is a killer cardio workout. The anaerobic exercise forces your heart and lungs to work extra hard, and you'll burn a lot more calories jumping rope than you would jogging or cycling at a slow pace. It's a metabolism-boosting exercise that will increase your cardiovascular fitness very effectively. Even if there's no direct fat-burning, it will make your body a more efficient energy-burning (and thereby fat-burning) machine.
Simple to learn. You simply start jumping and swinging the rope. It takes a bit of practice to get good at it, and it will take weeks of training to develop serious resistance.
Low cost to buy rope. A top quality jump rope will cost maybe $10, and it will last for years to come. No other type of exercise is that cheap!
Increases fitness. It hits both your muscular and cardiovascular endurance, pushing your body to the limits and beyond. It's one of the best workouts to help focus on the non-weight-oriented aspects of your fitness.
Strengthens bones. The impact of the jumping may be hard on your joints and bones at first, but over time it will actually strengthen them and increase their density. You'll have a far lower risk of accidents by spending more time jumping.
Improves coordination and agility. With rope skipping, you have to match the speed, learn to switch feet, jump as fast or slow as called for, double jump, and more. It's a coordination and agility training protocol that you can do on your own, and it's HIGHLY effective!
Drawbacks of Rope Skipping:
Injury potential for overweight people. The excess weight you're carrying may put a strain on your joints, spine, and muscles. There is also microdamage to the bones and joints in your feet. If you're not careful or push too hard, you could injure yourself.
Not a great overall fat burner. Though it's an excellent form of exercise, it focuses on burning glucose (blood sugar) rather than fat. If your goal is to focus on fat-burning, you may be disappointed. (Note: Burning glucose uses up the available energy more quickly, forcing your body to activate fat. Even if jumping rope doesn't burn fat right away, it will make it more likely that your body will use and eliminate fat later in the workout.)
May become boring after a few workouts. Rope skipping is pretty much the same thing every time. There's no variation to the routine—beyond a few changes in the way you jump—so you may find yourself bored.