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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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Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

“For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

Primal Therapy

Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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How it Started

“During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

“I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

Delving deeper

Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

Some Methods To Practice Screaming

If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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  • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
  • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
  • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
  • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

Scream Sing

Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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  • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
  • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
  • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
  • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
  • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
  • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
  • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

Scream into a pillow

Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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