The 10 Best Jump Ropes
A Brief History Of The Jump Rope
Not long after, McDonald's started to sponsor tournaments on the local and national level, helping to introduce Double Dutch to a much larger audience.
While the precise origins of the jump rope aren't known, some historians believe that it dates back to the 1600s, when ancient Egyptians would jump over vines. Some think that the practice started in the Netherlands. Still others insist that it began in ancient China as part of the Chinese New Year festival. But regardless of where it came from, the sport eventually spread throughout the entire world and became a favorite pastime for children.
Fast forward a few centuries, and Double Dutch, a jump rope game involving two long ropes rather than one short one, was brought to the United States by the children of Dutch settlers. By the 1940s, it became extremely popular among American kids, particularly in large cities. So popular, in fact, that the New York City Police Department used it as part of a youth outreach program in the 1980s, aptly named "Rope, Not Dope," which aimed to reduce drug use in inner city youth.
A few years later, a former Washington, D.C. police officer named David Walker created the American Double Dutch League after seeing the game's positive impact on young women in his community. Not long after, McDonald's started to sponsor tournaments on the local and national level, helping to introduce Double Dutch to a much larger audience. Unfortunately, the fast food chain stopped supporting the league in the late 1990s, which had a drastic negative impact on its membership
Today, the jump rope is primarily used as an exercise tool rather than for recreation, and there are some extremely sophisticated, high-tech options out there. You can choose from a variety of materials, some weighted to add resistance, and others that are super lightweight and built for speed. Some keep count of your number of jumps, and others even flash different colors to put on a light show to keep you entertained while you exercise. If you want to go one step further, there are also some great smartphone apps that can help you to learn tricks and track your workouts.
Health Benefits Of Jumping Rope
Much like running, swimming, and riding a bicycle, jumping rope is an excellent cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular, or aerobic, exercise was first researched in the 1960s by Kenneth Cooper, a doctor who was studying exercise as preventive medicine. Since then, his work has been widely expanded upon, and we now know that exercise has many benefits for almost all aspects of health, both physical and mental.
Since then, his work has been widely expanded upon, and we now know that exercise has many benefits for almost all aspects of health, both physical and mental.
When performed on a regular basis, cardio helps to strengthen your heart, making it more efficient at pumping blood, and improves your circulation, which can reduce blood pressure. It also strengthens the muscles you use to breathe, making it easier for air to get into and out of your lungs. It can even stimulate bone growth, which reduces your risk for osteoporosis later in life.
Jumping rope strengthens leg muscles, especially the calves. It can also improve your coordination, making you more light on your feet. It's a great conditioning exercise for sports that require a high degree of agility, such as basketball and tennis. In fact, many well known professional boxers, including Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, and Floyd Mayweather, jumped rope to develop their footwork and perfect their timing.
In addition to making your body healthier, exercise also affects the brain. In the short term, for about two hours after a sweat session, cardio improves your cognition, helps you to focus better, and reduces stress levels. It can even give you a natural sense of euphoria, commonly called a "runner's high." Long term effects, typically seen after a few months of regular exercise, include an increase in grey matter volume, a better memory, and the ability to process information faster.
And if all of these benefits aren't enough to convince you to give it a shot, skipping rope can burn anywhere from 700 to over 1,200 calories per hour, depending on how fast you go, so it's a great way to lose a few pounds.
In It To Win It
When I was in the fourth grade, I joined my school’s jump rope team (we were called the Hot Sox). We practiced a few times a week and sometimes put on shows for the other students at assemblies and pep rallies, but we never went up against other teams — it was just for fun. Little did I know at the time that there are some groups who take jump rope competitions very seriously.
There's also a freestyle category, which is kind of like a combination of jump rope, gymnastics, and dance, and allows competitors to showcase their creativity.
In 1995, two major jump rope organizations — the International Rope Skipping Organization and World Rope Skipping Federation — merged to become the United States Amateur Jump Rope Federation, which offers seminars and training in addition to sponsoring tournaments at state, regional, and national levels. World Jump Rope Championships take place in various cities across the globe, and there's also a special international competition for school teams called the World Inter-School Rope Skipping Championships.
There is a wide array of competition styles to choose from, including Double Dutch, speed jumping, and double under jumping. There's also a freestyle category, which is kind of like a combination of jump rope, gymnastics, and dance, and allows competitors to showcase their creativity. Sometimes, they even combine freestyle with Double Dutch, or perform in pairs where each jumper has to mirror the other exactly. If that sounds difficult to you, trust me, it's much harder than what you're imagining.
If you're not into team sports, there are a variety of Guinness World Record holders you can set out to unseat. Categories include the highest number of jumps in a 30-second, three-minute, or one-hour period, and the most consecutive double- or triple-unders. And, perhaps the most impressive of them all, in 2009, a fitness trainer from Greensboro, North Carolina named Joey Motsay skipped rope for 33 hours and 20 minutes straight without taking a break.