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Get in Gear: Jump Ropes

Whether you're an exercise newbie or a fitness buff, jumping rope is a great option for fun, quick, and effective cardio. Though a jump rope is one of the simplest pieces of equipment available, shopping for one isn't easy because they come in various lengths and the quality can differ depending on materials used.

You'll find that ropes differ in handle size and cord weight; I recommend staying away from ropes made of cloth or leather. Generally, beaded ropes are supposed to give you the best aerobic workout. Speed ropes are the lightest type of rope, but I've found they can be difficult to control when you're a new jumper. I prefer slightly heavier ropes made of plastic.

See some jump rope options and learn how to determine the proper length of your jump rope when you

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While standing on the center of the cord, the handle tips should reach your armpits. If the handles are up by your ears, the rope is too long for you! You can also jump with your rope to determine if it's the proper length: If the cord doesn't touch the floor, the rope is too short; if it lands in front of you, it's too long.

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