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Last Updated on November 14, 2017

9 Benefits of Jumping Rope You Probably Don’t Know

9 Benefits of Jumping Rope You Probably Don’t Know

Jumping rope? Isn’t that for boxers — and, um…little girls? Well, believe it or not the simple act of jumping rope can do more for you overall than the same time spent jogging. Jumping rope is also easy to do anywhere. A jump rope slipped in your backpack or bag can be brought along on a trip, to work, school or done in the living room while you’re watching your kids — or watching TV.

To start jumping rope, head to your nearest sporting goods store and get a rope. While you probably don’t want to get a lightweight rope from the toy department for a workout, if that’s all you’ve got, it will work. Plastic ropes are usually used in gyms and they are a little easier to use for speedwork. Once you have your rope, make sure it fits you comfortably. Most ropes range from 8 to 10 feet long. You can cut it to adjust it – but once you cut it you can’t make it longer. Stand on the middle of the rope and hold the handles comfortably at waist height. Adjust accordingly.

Pick a nice, flat surface to jump on like a gym mat or concrete floor. Something that gives a bit will be more comfortable but if you choose a grassy or dirt surface — as I have to do out here in the middle of nowhere — make sure there is nothing in the way like rocks, sticks, grass that’s very long, that kind of thing.

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The benefits of jumping rope are many. Here are a few you might not have known about:

1. Improves Coordination

Jumping rope actually improves your coordination by making you focus on your feet. Whether or not you’re paying attention to them, your brain is aware of what your feet are doing. This practice, over and over again, makes you “lighter” on your feet. Training for one of those warrior-style obstacle course races? Jumping rope can help. According to expertboxing.com‘s Boxing Training Guide, “the more tricks you do with the jump rope, the more conscious and coordinated you have to be.”

2. Decreases Foot and Ankle Injuries

Jumping rope is beneficial for those active in other sports. Many athletes in basketball, tennis, football and other sports often suffer foot and ankle injuries from running and then stopping quick and turning. This is very common in both tennis and basketball. Jumping rope not only improves your foot coordination but also increases your strength in the muscles surrounding your ankle joint and in your foot, decrease the chance of injury to those areas. According to the Jump Rope Institute, “jumping rope teaches players to stay on the balls of their feet, as opposed to being flat footed or on their heels. And since you are on your toes the entire time you jump rope, you will find that staying quiet on your toes when playing tennis will become easier and second nature.”

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3. Burns Major Calories

Compared to jogging for 30 minutes, jumping rope actually burns more calories. According to Science Daily, “This aerobic exercise can achieve a “burn rate” of up to 1300 calories per hour of vigorous activity, with about 0.1 calories consumed per jump.Ten minutes of jumping rope can roughly be considered the equivalent of running an eight-minute mile.”

4. Completely Portable and Fun

A jump rope can go anywhere with you. Take it to work, take it to school. Warm up before your basketball game or cool down after a bike ride. Learn to do tricks and double dutch with your kids or have competitions between you and your family — how long, how low you can jump, how high, spinning — all kinds of tricks can be done with a jump rope.

5. Improves Bone Density

Dr. Daniel W. Barry, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, at Denver, and a researcher who has studied the bones of the elderly and of athletes, says that the best exercise to improve bone density is simply jumping up and down. “Jumping is great, if your bones are strong enough to begin with,” Dr. Barry says. “You probably don’t need to do a lot either.” (If you have any history of fractures or a family history of osteoporosis, check with a physician before jumping.)

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According to The New York Times, “in studies in Japan, having mice jump up and land 40 times during a week increased their bone density significantly after 24 weeks, a gain they maintained by hopping up and down only about 20 or 30 times each week after that.”

6. Improves Cardiovascular Health

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, skipping rope is highly recommended for aerobic conditioning. In order to increase your heart and lung health you must do it three to five times per week for 12 to 20 minutes at a time.

7. Improved Breathing Efficiency

In addition to improved heart health and stamina, jumping rope also improves how efficiently you breathe. This becomes very beneficial when doing other activities because you won’t be as out of breath after running down the court or swimming laps in the pool.

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8. Makes You Smarter

Believe it or not, jumping rope can make you smarter. According the Jump Rope Institute, jumping aids in the development of the left and right hemispheres of your brain, which further enhances spacial awareness, improves reading skills, increases memory and makes you more mentally alert. Jumping on the balls of your feet requires your body and mind to make neural muscular adjustments to imbalances created from continuous jumping. As a result jumping improves dynamic balance and coordination, reflexes, bone density and muscular endurance.

9. Improves Your Ability to Stay Calm

Because you are actually working your brain and your body at the same time, boxers in the ring who jump rope actually are more calm overall than those who don’t. The Jump Rope Institute attributes this to the biomechanical perspective. “As one dissects this exercise further and views it from a biomechanical perspective, it represents a composite movement combining a circular motion with an angular momentum. The body resembles a projectile subject to all the laws that govern projectile motion while the rope becomes a dynamic flywheel subject to all the laws that govern rotary motion. It is in the synchronous and harmonious coordination of these movements where the secrets and benefits are received.”

Your improved ability to jump rope and be synchronous with your body, mind and the rope, can actually help you be more calm in other situations.

Grab a jump rope, get hopping and be amazed by the different ways your body and mind will benefit.

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Last Updated on October 15, 2018

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

“Why am I so tired?” is a question that people ask themselves pretty frequently. Everyone gets tired at one point or another, particularly after something like an illness, a long night up with a sick child, or a busy week at work. When tiredness is persistent, however — when you feel tired as soon as you wake up in morning or when sleep doesn’t seem to help, no matter how much rest you get— it may often indicate a deeper, underlying problem.

While there are a lot of possible reasons for tiredness, here’re some of the most common causes of fatigue:

1. Dehydration

If you want to boost your energy levels, first check whether you are dehydrated. The human brain is 85% water, and needs to maintain this level in order to perform its essential functions.

If you fail to drink enough water, the brain extracts fluids from your blood to compensate for the deficit. As a result, the oxygen levels in your blood drop, reducing the amount of energising oxygen available to your organs and tissues. Fatigue and sleepiness set in rapidly, leaving you more vulnerable to the 2 pm post-lunch crash that many of us experience.

You cannot cure this crash with caffeine – the only long-term, effective solution is to drink hydrating fluids throughout the day.

2. Lack Of Exercise

A workout will surely leave you feeling even more tired, right? Wrong! As counterintuitive as it may sound, physical activities have an energizing effect. Moving your body releases endorphins, increases your heart rate, and boosts your concentration.

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Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of medium-intensity exercise every day. It’s easiest if you can make this part of our everyday routine, either as soon as you wake up or right after work.

3. A Poor Diet

The food you eat has a direct impact on sleep quality and the amount of rest you get every night. For maximum energy, stick to protein, slow-release carbohydrates, and a moderate amount of healthy (unsaturated) fats. The majority of your food should be plant-based, high in fiber, and low in sugar. These choices will prevent blood sugar fluctuations, which can leave you feeling exhausted.

An easy way to make sure you stick to a good diet is through meal preparation. It’s easy to just get take-out when you’re tired after work, but if you have a meal ready for you in the fridge, you’ll be less tempted by pizza or cheese.

Find out more about healthy meal prep here: 10 Meal Planning Apps You Need To Have To Get Healthier Easily

4. Skipping Breakfast

Physician Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan advises that eating breakfast is key to maintaining a good level of energy throughout the day. When you eat breakfast, you are sending calming signals to the areas of the brain responsible for avoiding danger, along with those that instruct the body to conserve as much energy as possible.

Ingesting food signals to your brain that there is enough food available to ensure our survival. This encourages it to stay relaxed, which in turn, promotes restful sleep.

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Some great ideas for a healthy, filling, and make-ahead breakfasts include overnight oats, smoothies, and freezer-friendly breakfast burritos.

Or if meal-prepping isn’t your think, stock up on easy but healthy breakfast foods like multigrain cereal, yogurt, and fruit: 20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

5. Poor Quality Of Sleep

We all know that it’s important to wind down a couple of hours before bed. But did you know that it’s what you do throughout the day that promotes good-quality sleep? It’s not just about the number of hours you sleep, but how restful and deep that sleep is.

TO feel rested, try to regulate your everyday routine to make your sleep deeper and better. Get up at a regular time in the morning to ensure that you get regular sunlight.

Eat nutritious foods in moderate amounts, and make sure you stay hydrated. Go to bed at the same time. And before bedtime, avoid screens that can give off harmful blue light and also keep you stimulated when you need to prepare for a restful night.

Read more about how to develop a routine that will get you better sleep: Poor Sleep Quality Comes from All the Things You Do Since Morning

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6. Sleep Apnea (A Person’s Airways Get Blocked off While They Are Asleep)

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where a person’s airways get blocked off while they are asleep, causing their oxygen levels to drop while they are asleep. This often causes people to stop breathing at night and then to jerk themselves awake (this can happen over 30 times an hour).

Because of this, people with sleep apnea can feel short of breath and have low energy levels. Mouthpieces and other devices to aid in breathing as well as the use of a special breathing machine to keep oxygen levels in a safe zone.

If you feel tired all the time and think you might have sleep apnea, consulting with a doctor is important. Do a sleep study, as this can often reveal if there is an underlying problem causing your tiredness — and once a diagnosis is made, treatment to help you get your energy back begins.

7. Depression

Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States (and in many other countries of the world as well). It is marked by persistent feelings of sadness or unhappiness but has physical symptoms, too. Apart from fatigue, people may also experience changes in sleeping and eating habits and difficulty concentrating.

Treatment can often center on anti-depressants, counselling and lifestyle changes like stress management to help manage this condition. You can take a look at these 15 Ways To Overcome Depression And Sadness.

Many people also benefit from activities like yoga and meditation, which help regulate both the body and mind.

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8. Hypothyroidism

If a person has hypothyroidism, their thyroid gland does not produce adequate levels of these important hormones— and the result can be a persistent and unrelenting fatigue, even if someone is getting enough sleep. Other common symptoms of this disorder include mood swings, weight gain and feeling cold all the time.

Fortunately, simple blood work can reveal if there is a problem and it can be treated with artificial thyroid hormone pills like Synthroid. Check here for signs of having a thyroid problem. If you suspect that you might have hypothyroidism, talk to your doctor.

9. Anemia

People with anemia are not able to make enough red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the their bodies. This is often due to a lack of nutrients like iron or B-12 and can be caused by problems such as heavy periods, bleeding in the digestive tract or pregnancy (due to the increased demands of the growing baby).

However, in most cases, this can be resolved with treatments like changes in diet, iron supplements or B-12 shots.

While here are some drinks you can try to relieve symptoms of Anemia, it’s best to do a blood test and consult your doctor in case of any hidden medical conditions.

10. Cancer

While you shouldn’t be freaking out about cancer just because you are tired, it is a fact that fatigue is one of the symptoms of cancer. Other common symptoms can include unexplained weight loss and the presence of palpable lumps or growths. This disease is marked by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells that can do damage to surround tissues and possibly spread to other parts of the body.

Diagnosis is usually by biopsy and treatment often focusses on radiation, chemotherapy or surgery— and generally when a diagnosis is made early, the outcomes for the patient are better.

Featured photo credit: Lily Banse via unsplash.com

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