If you’re like most people, the only times you’ve ever even seen a jump rope is either in a training montage in a movie like Rocky or in a schoolyard. For most of the population, a jump rope is a toy for a child, not a powerful cardio tool that can be used for everything from strengthening your cardiovascular system to building muscle. Jump rope is a great way to get some cardio into your life, and because you only need a small space to do it in, you can easily incorporate it into your workout routine, even if you live in a small apartment or house. Here are just some of the many benefits of jumping rope:

  1. Weight loss. Like any other exercise, incorporating a jump rope workout into your other routines can help you lose weight. It is also more effective at helping you lose weight than many other cardio exercises. Unlike running, which can be extremely high impact and often requires you to leave your place of residence and find somewhere to run, jump roping can be done in or near your home.

Because it is a near stationary activity it does not require you to find a route, it is much more suitable for those who do not want to run around their neighborhood or a busy commercial district at night or early in the morning. Half an hour of jumping rope can burn 300 calories, which makes it one of the most effective workouts available to you, and because you have to eliminate 500 calories from your diet every day in order to lose weight, jumping rope is a great way to get rid of those calories quickly.

  1. Better heart health. Any cardio workout will improve your heart health. The problem most people find is that in order to get the heart benefits they need or want, they either have to find a gym that has expensive equipment or they have to do a high impact exercise like running. What makes jump rope so great is its ability to improve your cardiovascular system without requiring you to get expensive equipment, join a gym, or take up running. Having better heart health makes it easier to do everyday tasks, as well as to lengthen your workouts, for even greater total body health.
  1. Improve muscle tone. While jump rope is technically classified as a cardiovascular exercise, it can also help you improve your muscle tone in both your arms and your legs. After your first workout, you will probably feel sore in your arms and your legs. The legs are usually the first place that people experience soreness, which is a result of microtears and lactic acid in the muscles. As the tears heal, the muscles become stronger and more defined. Jump rope is one of the best muscle toning exercises for the legs and for the arms, especially when combined with the cardiovascular and weight loss benefits.
  1. Build muscle mass. Though aerobic and anaerobic exercises usually do not cross over each other, they do when it comes to jumping rope. You can actually jump your way to more muscle mass, which makes it a great option for those who are looking for an efficient, multifunctional exercise that doesn’t just target one area of the body or have a singular benefit. Being able to improve muscle mass while you are also improve your cardiovascular health and losing weight makes jumping rope an extremely effective workout—that’s why it’s often included in those “training” montages in sports movies.
  1. Adds agility. In order to jump rope, you have to have some measure of agility already in place. Many people start off slow, in order to get the hang of jumping the rope. However, as they build confidence, they should start jumping faster and faster. The faster you jump, the more agile you will become. The jumping motion, especially because it is coordinated with the swinging motion your hands are doing, makes your legs stronger and teaches them to move on cue, when you want them to. This makes it easier for your entire body to work together—another reason jump roping is a popular workout for boxers and those whose sports require them to be light on their feet, as well as strong.
  1. Easy for all ages. While jumping rope is higher impact than walking or swimming, it is a workout that just about anyone at any age can do. It’s taught to young children, often in school, and is used for little more than a warming the kids up and getting them ready for another sport. However, if you have a child that doesn’t love running around or other types of exercise, jump rope can be a great way to get him inspired and moving, without forcing him to do something that he obviously doesn’t like. Jumping rope is just as popular for boys as it is for girls, and it is just as effective for children as it is for adults.
  1. Plenty of variety. You will not simply be standing in one place, jumping over a rope for half an hour. There are plenty of ways to change up your jumping routine, so that you are not bored after a few minutes. This includes double jumps (jumping high enough that you can swing and jump the rope twice in a single jump), changing legs (holding one leg up and then jumping just with your other leg), high knees (doing high knees while jumping over the rope), skip jumping (skipping while also jumping rope), and many more. This means better muscle confusion and a far lower chance that your body will get into a workout rut.

It’s time to bring jump rope out of the schoolyard and into your workout! If you are looking for a workout that has a multitude of fitness benefits, jump rope is the one to incorporate into your daily routine.