How to improve your mood, energy level, agility, cardiovascular system and bone density by doing this one simple thing.
FIT IN A MINUTE | Gretchen Rubin, author of The New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project, wrote a blog post last December on the joy of jumping up and down. Gretchen claims that the simple act of jumping up and down—in street wear, no special equipment or gym strip required—relaxes and/or invigorates her, depending on the situation. Oh yes, and it makes her kids laugh too, something that contributes to a more lighthearted mood at home.
So I decided to try jumping around at least once a day to music that is good and bouncy, and though it feels kind of silly and kidlike to be doing it, jumping does pick me up, remove me from whatever planet I’m on and return me to earth more refreshed. Thanks, Gretchen!
Jumping for increased vitality wasn’t a stretch because I’ve been doing a related fitness activity for a few years now: skipping rope.
The Internet is filled with articles extolling the benefits of this convenient, almost cost-free activity. Among them are increased stamina, coordination and agility; also, improved cardiovascular circulation, bone density and mental acuity (unlike plain jumping, skipping requires alertness—so you won’t trip). Depending on what article you read, skipping for 15 minutes at 120 skips per minute has the same caloric expenditure as running six miles in an hour—that’s a serious workout.
But how many people can skip for 15 minutes straight, let alone keep up a fast pace without tripping? Not most people and certainly not me. But skipping is a good thing, so I skip myself fitter by the minute. Here’s the way I do it: I skip 10 to 15 minutes daily, in one-minute increments spread throughout the day, always aiming (but not always making) 120 revolutions per minute. Skipping for a minute at a time never exhausts me or makes me sweat like a wrestler. And I can say in all honesty that doing it this way has definitely increased my endurance. —Carolann Rule