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Need a new cardio exercise? Try an old one: jumping rope

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – You might have to reach deep into your childhood to remember the last time you jumped rope. This cheap, low-impact exercise is an excellent workout for beginner athletes up to advanced.

“It’s definitely a great exercise, it just takes some skill,” says Richard Cotton, the National Director of Certification for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) headquartered in Indianapolis.

Jumping rope for 10 minutes at a fast pace burns 115 calories in a 120 pound person, 138 calories in a 145 pound person, and 162 calories in a 175 pound person. Also, 10 minutes of jumping rope is equivalent to running an 8-minute mile, cycling 19 miles per hour for 10 minutes and swimming freestyle 75-yards a minute.

“If you’re matching your heart-rate you’re roughly burning the same amount of calories,” says Cotton. “Rope skipping is actually lower intensity when you’re skilled compared to running.”

Fitness Instructor Cara Hartman knows the low-impact attributes of jump rope well. As a child, she was a Junior Olympian and still holds a record, to this day.

Fourteen months ago, an awkward landing during a basketball game resulted in an injury. An MRI confirmed it was a posterior lateral meniscus tear.

“Running felt so awkward for a long time, but jump rope was something I got back into because it’s a little bit lower impact,” says Hartman. “I would try running and I found out that jump rope was something I could do — there was just no pain.”

Jumping rope consists of single leg, or double leg skipping where the feet rarely go higher than a few inches off the ground. Proper jumping is performed on the balls of the feet – the body’s natural shock absorbers.

To incorporate jumping rope into your workout, Cotton suggests starting with a beaded plastic rope.

“Beaded plastic ropes are better for beginners because you know where they are,” says Cotton. “Then, just do no more than a minute to see how it feels – you don’t want to injure your calves or feet because you did too much too soon.”

Cotton suggests slowly adding one-minute intervals to your rope jumping regimen.