Get kids skipping for fitness

The alarming increase in childhood obesity and the rising rate of diabetes in children is staggering.

The technology age has produced a generation of kids who spend more time in front of a computer screen and less time engaging in physical activity.

This has unfortunately led to a generation of less than healthy children. Often, some kids either don’t enjoy traditional competitive team sports such as basketball or soccer, or have limited access to them due to economic or social barriers. These kids are most at risk for developing a sedentary life style.

Rope skipping may be the perfect activity to get those less active kids moving! Skipping is inexpensive – all you need a good quality rope and running shoes – and can be done anywhere there is a hard, flat surface, either indoors or out! Skipping can be done alone or with friends and is a great way to develop teamwork skills.

Rope skipping can also be part of an effective weight management program, if performed regularly and safely.

As a form of aerobic exercise, it helps to control weight, particularly when used in conjunction with sensible eating habits. In addition, rope skipping has been shown to have a positive benefit in the development of strong, healthy bones, which can help to prevent osteoporosis in later life.

Self-image and self-esteem can be enhanced through skill achievements and an improved body image. Opportunities for positive social interaction and leadership skills can also be developed as participants work in group activity settings.

Often skipping is considered a ‘girls’ activity. In fact, rope skipping is an effective form of exercise for both boys and girls.

It develops and maintains both health-related and skill-related fitness components, particularly cardio-respiratory fitness and strength.

For these reasons, rope skipping is an important component in the training program of many sports, such as boxing, basketball, volleyball, soccer, tennis and hockey, to name a few. In addition, skill-related fitness components such as agility, balance and co-ordination are enhanced.

In addition to the aerobic benefits, rope skipping can help to improve performance in sports such as tennis, basketball and soccer, where rapid footwork and balance are required. Rope skipping also improves vertical jump, therefore benefiting basketball, volleyball, high jump and related activities.

In summary, the benefits of rope skipping include cardio-respiratory endurance, muscle strength and endurance, coordination, balance, speed and agility. As well, it can increase creativity, improve self-image and enhance social skills.

If you would like more information about rope skipping or would like to start a program in your school or church group, please contact Deanna Smith at [email protected] or call 927-6803.

Deanna Smith is an exercise physiologist working with RVC Rehab Services at Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital.