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Jumping rope an economical way to slim down

Kris Morrill, Fitness column

Kris Morrill, Fitness column

What if I was advertising a single piece of exercise equipment that guaranteed results? This thing would melt the fat away, increase your cardiorespiratory capacity and aid in coordination skills. What would you pay for such a piece of equipment? $100? $500? $1,000?

What if I told you that this simplistic piece of equipment would arguably be better than the highest priced treadmill in the gym, and at a fraction of the cost. Would that not be great? Allow me to re-introduce you to the Jump Rope!

The Jump Rope is nothing new, it has actually been around a lot longer than most people think. According to the Egyptians used to jump over vines, aborigines jumped over bamboo, and paintings from the medieval period show images of children jumping hoops. Many people associate jump roping with girls' play, but history indicates that jump roping was originally a man's game.

No one knows the exact jump rope history. There are a number of versions of the sport's history. What is known, however, is that the practice originated a long time ago, and eventually traveled around the world to become a popular pastime, a favorite form of exercise, and a competitive sport.

When someone enters my facility for the first time, there is almost a nostalgic feeling one gets when coming in contact with a jump rope for the first time in years. "Do you know how long it's been since I have jumped rope?", they will say. It's not long before they realize that being on the stair stepper, elliptical and treadmill all these years hasn't really paid off like they had hoped.

Now with that being said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using a treadmill or stepper to increase your cardiorespiratory endurance. I mean, hamsters do it all the time.

Jumping rope, skipping, call it what you will; just don't call it a child's game. When thinking of a Jump Rope you may think of little Suzie on the playground chanting, "Cinderella, dressed in yellow, went upstairs to kiss a fellow" but don't be fooled. Little Suzie can run circles around you!

My challenge for you this week is to go into your child's play box, get out their jump rope and give it a shot. Keep in mind that you may need to get them to show you how its done first. See how many singles you can do in a row or how long you can continue with no breaks.

You may be surprised and perhaps a little unnerved in what you find. You see, jumping rope is not only about cardio and muscular endurance, but coordination as well. Do not get frustrated, keep going until you master the basic single jump and then move on to more difficult moves.

Next week I will recap the "Case Study" challenge! It has been three months and you will hear first hand from the testimonials of the six contestants. Stories of both physical and mental changes and how just adding a work out regimen into their day changed the out look they now have on life! It may just be enough motivation to get you up and going, if you are not doing so already.

Keep your e-mails coming and I will do my best to get them answered as I receive them. Have a great rest of the weekend and as always, thanks for reading The Herald.

E-mail fitness columnist Kris Morrill, certified personal trainer and owner of World Camp Fitness in Albany, at