Sports Therapy Spotlight: Jumping Rope

Whether it’s on a trampoline (a.k.a. rebound training) or on the ground with a rope, jumping engages all of the body’s major muscle groups, and is a killer workout. The cardiovascular benefits are amazing- in fact, ten minutes of jumping rope equals a whole half hour of jogging. For someone who resists running even at crosswalks, that seems like a fair trade off!

Besides being inexpensive, portable, and fun, here’s a list of benefits for our kiddos on and off the spectrum:           

Emotional: self-discipline, self-confidence, self-esteem
Physical: coordination, balance, strength, impulse control
Mental: motor planning, sequencing, concentration
Social: cooperation, communication skills, eye contact
Sensory: sensory integration, distractability

If those sound eerily familiar from my post on horseback riding, you have fabulous recall, because they are the same exact ones.

Plus, there are some other perks that Double Dutch along with jumping rope, including increased bone density and improved flexibility. Often performed to the beat of music, jumping develops rhythm and timing skills. And at the competitive level, dance and gymnastics moves add to the fray, increasing the ability of the jumper to look like a boss. 

And here are a few fancy terms for your Sunday crossword puzzle. All of these get a boost with jumping:

Proprioception: is the body’s unconscious ability to physically orient and move through space, and is also referred to as body awareness or sense of self.
Vestibular system: this is not where you hang your coats (as I originally thought). Also called the labyrinthine senses, the vestibular senses are located in the inner ear, and monitor the body’s movement, rotation, and the effects of gravity.
Lymphatic system: your blood’s toxic waste system, which LOVES the up and down motion of jumping. Bonus: better looking skin. Take that, ProActiv.

Maybe you’re wondering why the post about skipping to my lou? This month’s project is to raise money to send a kiddo with Autism to jump rope after school, November through May, with the world champ Bouncing Bulldogs. And if you want to throw on your superhero cape and pop a fiver in the kitty, hop on over here.

According to the Jump Rope Institute, jumping is an ideal brain exercise, helping to “develop the left and right hemispheres of the brain, to further improve spatial awareness and reading skills, and increase memory and mental alertness.” Whatttt?

Just think- if Rocky Balboa hadn’t boxed after all that rope jumping, he might have received the Nobel Prize for Physics by now! Yo! Adrienne!


PS To find out more info, check out the Jump Rope Institute, and for the deets on the Bouncing Bulldogs, click here.

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