If the idea of skipping only brings back distant memories from the school playground, I’d say it’s time to give it another shot! If you follow my Snapchat (@fitnessontoast), you might have noticed a load of videos where I’m working on my skip, as well as in THIS video from last year. As a form of exercise, I absolutely love it! To my mind, it’s one of the most high-energy yet low-impact ways to get fit, with a bunch of broader health benefits to boot! Ahead of Sport Relief 2016 next month, which I supported last year through my Swimathon adventures, Sure has launched the world’s first Skipathon! They’re asking the Great British nation to join in and help them reach the target of 1 million skips as part of their month-long Sure Skipathon and they will donate £200,000 to Sport Relief – That’s money which will help make a difference to people living tough lives both here in the UK and across the world’s poorest communities – AND you get fitter too! Read below to find out more about this and my 5 top reasons to skip!
My 5 favourite reasons to skip are as follows ( aside from making me feel as happy as a child again 😀 )…
1) YOU TOAST CALORIES! A mere 20 minutes of intense skipping can burn 4-500 calories, not to mention the thermogenic after-effects – a sort of bodily follow-on that keeps you burning calories all day long! But if you think you’ll just kick straight into 20 mins of skipping-led exertion, don’t be disheartened when you realise it’ll take time to work up to it! Skipping is surprisingly tough considering you’re not going very far 😀
2) BOXING CLEVER! Regular practise improves footwork, speed, coordination, stamina, agility, and it strengthens the muscles in your legs as well as your abdominals, back, chest, arms and shoulders muscles – which is why you’ll see any serious boxer skipping in the studio – it’s not just for women, and it’s challenging enough to tire even the professional athlete!
3) SHOULDER THE BURDEN! The repetitive motion of skipping, which makes use of a low weight (the rope and in some cases the lightly-weighted handles), you really end up working your shoulder joints. The rotator cuff stops the humerus (upper arm) from slipping out of this shallow joint; that particular joint is notorious for allowing a lot of movement but as a consequence it’s less table and more prone to injury. How to help it? Well, it’s made up of four muscles (the Infraspinatus, the Supraspinatus, Subscapularis and the Teres Minor) – training these little muscles via an exhausting skipping session will encourage stronger overall shoulder health – they’re able to work efficiently together, stay stable, whilst the stronger more dominant muscles do their thing (such as the deltoids).
4) GENTLE ON THE KNEES! It’s relatively low impact from the perspective of your joints, yet it’s super high intensity – which is great for cardiovascular training that gets you out of your comfort zone and into the sweat zone. Since you’re only moving 1-2 inches vertically at any time, skipping is way less strenuous on the skeleton than running, for example, yet it’s more efficient than walking from the perspective of muscular & vascular exertion. Sweetspot!
5) CHEAP & EASY! You can pick up a rope for £5, and since it’s super portable, you can take it anywhere with you. Travelling on business without a gym? Skipping is the answer. Gotten home a bit too late for a gym session, but too early to go to bed? Rope o’clock! You get the picture – it’s a great answer for the time-poor fitness practitioner (i.e. a great many of us!) and you can always supplement bursts of skipping with burpees, squats, push ups, lunges etc.