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Get it Up--Your Heart Rate, That is: Jumping Rope

Back when I was a kid I was an avid participant (and by avid participant, I mean champion) of Jump Rope for the Heart... but that was then.

Once I started diversifying my cardio program I decided to pick up the old jump rope and give it a go, not nearly as easy at I remembered, but still lots of fun.

A few things to keep in mind:
Use your wrists to turn the rope and try to keep them as low as possible. Keep your back straight and your stomach pulled in. Always keep your head upright instead of looking at your feet, which you may really want to do at first. Also, a jump rope is very inexpensive and you can do it almost anywhere (bring it with you when you're traveling), which is always a good thing.

For an easy routine to get you (and your heart rate) jumping,

1:00-3:00 Warm up with a Rocking Skip-- This is more like jogging than jumping. Lead with left foot and bend your knees a little to absorb the shock.
3:00-5:00 Hop (1 inch off the ground) on both feet
5:00-6:00 Hop (1 inch off the ground) on right foot only
6:00-7:00 Hop (1 inch off the ground) on left foot only
7:00-10:00 Rocking Skip leading with right foot

Put the rope down and get on the elliptical or bike (or go for a run) for 20 minutes. Keep your heart rate in the fat burning zone.

Fit's Tip: When buying or adjusting a jump rope, stand with both feet in the center of the rope and pull up the ends. The handles should come to your armpits. If the routine above is too tough, cut the time down and make it a goal to work your way up to the full 10 minutes.

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