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This Month In Body
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    Swimsuit season is coming. Are you ready? If the thought of baring your abs is scary to you, it's time to get to work. Fortunately, the only equipment needed for a variety of ab-specific exercises is an exercise ball (also known as a Swiss ball, yoga ball, or stability ball) and a set of small dumbbells. Read >>
  • Swim Your Way Slim
    If you're tired of being hot and sweaty after exercising or are bored of your same old treadmill workout, it's time to try something cool and refreshing. Why not head to the pool? Maybe it's the thought of wearing a swimsuit in public or perhaps you're not a good swimmer, but don't let your inhibitions keep you from the health benefits offered by a water workout. Read >>
  • Jump Your Way to Fitness
    If you've ever jumped rope you know how quickly it gets your heart rate elevated and your calves burning. It's an easy but effective cardio workout that can be used to improve heart health, speed, strength, coordination, rhythm, and balance. For a fun and challenging workout, rotate through these 10 exercises. Read >>
  • Is It Worth the Effort?
    You can exercise for a whole hour, but if you're walking at a leisurely pace you won't see quick results. Generally, the harder you exercise, the greater the intensity, and the more fitness gains and health improvements you'll see. Keep reading to learn the two main ways of measuring exercise intensity. Read >>
Health and Fitness News

Jump Your Way to Fitness

Jump ropes aren't just for kids. Try these 10 jump rope variations for an effective cardio workout at any age.

Your path to weight loss could be as simple as a childhood playground activity: jumping rope. If you've ever jumped rope you know how quickly it gets your heart rate elevated and your calves burning. It's an easy but effective cardio workout that can be used to improve heart health, speed, strength, coordination, rhythm, and balance. Another good thing about jumping rope is it can be done practically anywhere. All you need is an old-fashioned jump rope.

Practically anyone at any fitness level can exercise with a jump rope. You’ll just want to follow a few tips on proper form. As you jump, hold your elbows close to your body with your hands near waist-level. Turning the rope should be done by rotating the wrists, not the shoulders, and when you land from a jump allow your hips, knees, and ankles to flex. To find a jump rope that's the right length, step on the rope with one foot and lift the handles. If they go higher than your armpits the rope is too long. Beginners may benefit from a heavier rope. When the rope is heavier, you’re forced to jump slower.

Jump-rope workouts don't have to be boring. In fact, they rarely are. For a fun and challenging workout, rotate through these 10 exercises once or twice, spending 30 seconds to one minute on each, for a total workout length of 10 to 20 minutes.

A feeble body weakens the mind. - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

1. Figure Eights

Start your workout by warming up your arms and legs with a figure eight. Hold the rope handles together with both hands in front of your torso. Move your hands in a figure eight motion, from your left shoulder to your right hip to your right shoulder to your left hip. Shift your weight from foot to foot as your arms move. You may want to step side to side as well.

2. Single Jumps

The single jump is your typical jump rope move. As you swing the rope around, jump over the rope with your feet together, lifting several inches above the ground.

3. Jumping Jacks

Combine jumping jacks with jumping rope by alternating jumping over the rope and landing with your feet wider than hip-width then jumping over the rope and landing with your feet together.

4. Forward Backward

To do the forward backward jump rope variation, jump once with your feet together six inches in front of you. The next time you jump, move your feet back six inches behind you. Continue alternating forward and backward.

5. Slalom

Now pretend you're on the ski slopes doing the slalom. Instead of jumping backward and forward, alternate jumping six inches to the right then six inches to the left on both feet, keeping your feet together.

6. Skip

A sixth jump rope variation is to skip over the rope while you swing it around and around. Skip by alternately raising one knee while the other foot lifts slightly off the ground and over the rope.

7. High Knees

High knees are done with a skipping motion but with this motion, raise your knees as high as you can each time. This will get you out of breath in no time.

8. Running

Now try running while jumping rope, jumping over the rope one foot at a time. You can either run in place or across and around an open space.

9. Single Legs

Get a serious leg workout by jumping for 15 to 30 seconds on just one leg. Switch legs and jump another 15 to 30 seconds.

10. Double Jumps

A final jump rope variation to include in your workout is double jumps. This requires jumping high and swinging fast. As you jump, pass the jump rope under your feet two times before landing on both feet.