Skipping Information

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dot"I would encourage virtually anyone to begin jumping rope. It's extremely inexpensive, portable and fun. It tones and strengthens the entire body. It improves athletic skills that are used in almost any sport you can think of," says Louis Garcia. Garcia is a professional jump roper.

"It's easy to learn if you're taught properly. And it is considered by many of the world's leading authorities to be minute for minute the greatest cross-training workout in existence."

Skipping, or jump rope, is a fun exercise activity and sport. It's a childhood game enjoyed by kids and adults alike. You spin or twirl a rope over your head and skip or jump over it with your feet.

Skipping is a recreation you can enjoy alone or with a group of friends. Young people tend to skip just for the sheer fun of it. Adults often jump rope as part of an exercise program.

Professional boxers skip to improve their timing and rhythm, as well as their overall fitness level. Many jump ropers are involved competitively with clubs or teams that perform in public.

dotSkipping has an interesting history. It's not known exactly when skipping first became popular. Evidence suggests its roots are probably very ancient, dating as far back as two or three centuries.

The notion that skipping has always been a game played mostly by girls on playgrounds is a myth. Research shows that skipping was first done by boys! Today there is a growing emphasis on skipping as a competitive and organized sport. Some organizations are working towards Olympic status for the sport.

dotDid you know you could skip your way to good health? Health-related benefits include cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle strength and flexibility. Skipping can even help prevent osteoporosis by building strong and dense bones.

Skipping can also help build fitness skills like coordination, timing, rhythm, speed, power, balance and agility. All things considered, skipping is an excellent way to get in shape. Of course, you should always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

One of the really neat things about skipping is that you can do it virtually anywhere. All you need is a small area and enough headspace and away you go.

If you skip rope as part of an exercise regimen, you would either do it at home or at the fitness club. If you joined a club or a team, you would likely find yourself skipping in all kinds of different locations. Some teams travel extensively.

There are no official statistics on the number of people involved in recreational skipping. But according to the International Federation of Rope Skipping Associations, skipping is growing worldwide as a fitness activity and a competitive sport.

People directly involved in this activity agree. Bob Picket is the executive director of the U.S. Amateur Jump Rope Federation. He estimates there are thousands of teams in America. He says after a recent merger, his organization alone grew by almost 600 percent in members.

Skipping continues to grow in popularity, especially in the area of organized teams. This is true around the world. Garcia says he's seen a large increase in the number of stories devoted to the sport on television, major newspapers and magazines.

As well, Garcia says jumping rope is also now being incorporated into classes at gyms throughout the U.S. Skippers are also becoming stronger and better skilled, according to Crawford. He says he also sees more boys getting involved in the sport.

You don't have to be an athlete to enjoy skipping. You don't even need training. But you do need to remember that skipping can be a strenuous workout.

Beginners should start slowly. Gradually increase the amount of time spent skipping. If you do that, you will eventually increase your stamina and endurance.

"Most anyone can skip, but a sense of rhythm and balance helps," says Susan Kalbfleisch. She is the co-founder of a rope jumping association.

dotSkipping rope is a very physical activity, and therefore not normally for physically challenged people. However, Kalbfleisch says people with limited use of their legs can turn double dutch for their teammate.

Those with upper body limitations can jump rope. Kalbfleisch adds that the visually impaired can also skip because the rope makes a rhythmic sound as it hits the ground.

Unlike many sports, there is no real contact in skipping. That means there are relatively few injuries. People who skip may suffer the odd sprained ankle, but that's usually about the worst of it.

A good pair of aerobic cross-trainers will go a long way towards helping you prevent ankle injuries, as well as sore feet and knees.

dotWhile some recreational sports can cost a small fortune in equipment, skipping is just the opposite. The only real equipment you need is a skipping rope. You can buy a basic jump rope at just about any department or sporting goods store for less than $3.

A good pair of runners would also be a good idea since your feet can take a pounding. Of course, if you get involved with an organized team, there would be additional costs like membership fees and travel costs. Most teams do fund-raising to help with expenses.

While most people who skip do it for fun and exercise, there are people who do it professionally. Garcia is such a person. Garcia and his partner earn a living by performing and selling merchandise.

They sell jump ropes, instructional videos, mats, music and anything else related to skipping. He also teaches classes and workshops and holds seminars.

It's also possible to get paid as a member of a rope skipping team. Teams are often paid to perform at festivals and half-time shows at football games.

Getting Started

dotAll you really need to get started is enthusiasm and a jump rope. Put on your runners and some good rhythmic music and start jumping. If you want to get a little more serious about it, you may want to seek out some instruction for proper jumping technique or join a team.

If you want to begin competitive skipping at a club level, contact your national organization for advice on a team in your area.


Jump Ropes and More
A good information site

Amateur Athletic Union U.S.A.
Find out the latest on jump rope at the AAU Junior Olympic Games

International Rope Skipping Federation
Get the history behind skipping from the IRSF