The other day, my mate Terry at the gym told me he’d knocked out 40 skips on the skipping rope. Terry’s 87, and I thought it would be easy to beat, but I struggled to punch out 13. It wasn’t just my coordination; I was gasping for air, and nearly collapsed at 13. I thought I was fit. So, I bought a skipping rope, and now, having read up on the many benefits of skipping, I’m wondering whether Terry is 87 and fighting fit because he can skip so well. It turns out that skipping may hold the secret to longevity.
Skipping is a powerful longevity tool.
According to Dr. Peter Attia in his book “Longevity,” peak aerobic cardiorespiratory fitness is the single most powerful marker for longevity. VO2 max is the measure of how much oxygen the body uses during exercise. Studies have shown that people who skipped twice a day for 12 weeks showed significant improvements in VO2 max compared to those who followed their usual exercise routine.
Skipping is great for posture and coordination.
Skipping has long been used by boxers to boost balance, coordination, and overall stability. Plus, the action of skipping naturally forces you to stand upright with your head up and shoulders back.
Skipping maintains bone health.
Skipping helps strengthen muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones.
Skipping burns calories!
A US study found that skipping for 15 – 20 minutes will burn 300 – 400 calories a day. Personally, I can’t imagine being able to skip for 15 mins straight but plan to work up to 3 sets of 2 minutes.
Skipping eases anxiety and improves cognitive function.
Like most cardio exercises, skipping can help produce those feel-good endorphins in our brain. But a 2021 study with volunteers who were asked to skip for 7 2-minute sessions with a minute break in between found that the skippers showed significant reductions in anxiety scores AND a higher attention span and cognitive function. They also found an increase in serotonin, the feel-good chemical.
My skipping rope cost $5 from Kmart!
*A caveat here for anyone with osteoarthritis in the knees; skipping may not be the best exercise for you*.
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