Skip Yourself Skinny with these 7 Jump Rope Exercises

Jumping rope is not just for kids! In fact, it’s an
inexpensive and portable workout that burns more calories than you would think
— up to 135 in ten minutes! Besides losing weight, a jump rope can tone your
muscles and improve your cardiovascular health.

Although you’re putting direct pressure on your knees,
ankles, and hips, it’s a lower impact activity than jogging when done
correctly. Before you begin, make sure you have the right equipment. You can
use a cloth or vinyl jump rope, but a beaded one is recommended for beginners
because it holds its shape and is easier to control. To adjust the rope size
for your height, while stepping on the rope, shorten the rope by knotting it so
that the handles reach your armpits. To kick-start your jump rope routine, try
these exercises:

1. Figure Eight: This is a great exercise, especially for
beginners. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, grasping the jump rope
handles together with both hands in front of the body. Trace a sideways figure
eight, moving from right shoulder to left hip, then left shoulder to right hip.
Shift weight from right to left foot as you move your arms across your body.

2. Single Jump: This is the most basic jump rope exercise;
it will begin to increase your heart rate. Jump over the rope with your feet
together, one jump per turn. Your jump should only take you an inch or two off
the ground.

3. Step Touch: Holding the handles together, swing your
rope to the left and turn twice in a circular motion as you step to the left
and tap right toes by left heel. Repeat to the right.

4. Front-Back: Jump up with feet together, moving six
inches forward over the rope. On the next turn, jump six inches back. Continue
alternating, jumping once per turn.

5. Slalom: Jump over the rope six inches to the right,
landing on both feet. On the next turn, jump six inches to the left. Keep your
feet together and continue alternating, jumping once per turn.

6. Jumping Jack: Jump over the rope and land with your feet
wider than hip-width apart. On your next jump, land with your feet together.
Repeat.

7. Running: Run in place while turning the rope. The rope should pass under one foot at a time. Each exercise in this jump rope routine should be about a minute long and you should alternate the higher intensity jump rope exercises with the lower intensity ones (Figure Eight and Step Touch). Picking up the jump rope for the first time since childhood can be a humbling experience. If you can’t make it the entire minute, simply drop the rope and continue the exercise. Overtime, your coordination and endurance will improve and you’ll find yourself skipping yourself skinny in no time!

Finding Ways to Exercise When You’re a Single Parent

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Being a single parent means you have a lot on
your plate. Despite caring for your kids on your own, you still have to get
them ready for school, shuttle them to after-school activities, change diapers,
cook dinner, do laundry, and complete what seems like a million other tasks
throughout the week. So where does exercise come in? If you’re like many single
parents, you let exercise fall by the wayside. But, as we all know, physical
activity is essential for a healthy and long life. 

Get the
Kids Involved

Need time to exercise, but you don’t have any
time by yourself? Work out with your kids. For example, they
can stand on your feet while you do ab crunches or dance right alongside you as
you salsa by following a Zumba DVD. Put your baby in the stroller and go for a
walk or jog around the neighborhood.

Build a
Home Gym

When you have kids, finding your way to the
local gym isn’t easy. So why not use home equipment so you don’t have to worry
about getting to a fitness center? Try kettlebells or dumbbells for
strength training. If you want to tackle yoga or Pilates, use a yoga mat. Invest in an exercise
bike or treadmill to help pedal or walk away the pounds. Try a weighted hula
hoop and hula your way to fitness. Don’t let cost prevent you from building a
home gym. Search for gently used equipment at local consignment stores or yard
sales. Go to social media sites or other websites that advertise items for
sale. Second-hand exercise equipment is often less expensive and much easier on
the budget. Finally, complete your home gym with a Bluetooth speaker so you can
listen to your favorite tunes while working out. There are many quality
speakers available, and many cost less than $50.

Joining
a Gym When You’re Short on Cash

If you’re heart is still set on joining a fitness center, consider joining in
the summer. Many fitness centers waive enrollment fees during the summer months
since so many people prefer to exercise outside when the weather’s warm. And
you may even be able to negotiate a great deal to help you save some money. Try
joining a 24-hour gym. These gyms offer clients exercise equipment but no
extras. In other words, they may not offer showers or a smoothie bar. Besides
being open 24 hours a day, these types of fitness centers are cheaper than
their more glamorous counterparts. And some of them don’t require you to sign a
contract.

Finding
the Time

So now you’ve figured out the kinds of
workouts you’re going to do. But you have no idea when you can squeeze in a
workout. After all, you have dinner to put on the table, and your daughter’s
ballet class starts at 6:30 p.m.! That’s when you need to get creative with
your day. Try getting up 30 minutes to an hour before your kids wake up.
Squeeze in a 30-minute workout using a DVD or equipment from your home gym.
Find some free exercise videos on YouTube. If you’ve joined a
fitness center, ask a good friend or family member to babysit in the evening
while you go to the gym for some “me time.” Maybe you can fit in some exercise
after the kids are in bed for the night.

What if you don’t have 30 minutes of free
time? Divide your workout in half. Go for a brisk walk for 15 minutes during
your lunch
hour
. Then walk 15 minutes more when you get home. Get
the kids to walk with you. Using a bit of planning and imagination, you can
find the time to exercise even if you are a single parent.

No one says that being a single parent is
easy; in fact, it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world. But that doesn’t mean
you should sacrifice your health by avoiding exercise. While everyone’s
situation is different, it’s important to find time for physical activity. You
owe it to yourself and to the children who depend on you. Examine your schedule
and lifestyle to determine what you can do to build a strong body, giving you
the strength you need to care for those you love the most.

8 Easy Moves To Tone Your Body

Who would have thought that a few simple moves each day can get your body in tip top tonal shape? Even better — you will see results after just a few short weeks! Get toned all over and see the difference with tighter arms, calves, abs, hips, thighs, and butt!

Aim to do two sets of each move about three or four days a week. Warming up beforehand helps rush blood to your muscles and gets your body ready to move. March in place, lightly jog, or speed walk for at least 30 seconds to get your blood pumping. Cooling down afterwards also helps your body ease back into normal resting mode. Stand and bend down toward the ground, and reach for each foot for a few seconds.
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