March has arrived and there is a new energy in the air. Seasons are about to shift, and the changing of the seasons puts a new spring in everyone’s step. This new hop, skip, and jump does not just brighten one’s mood, it is also lots of fun and has some health benefits. Jumping is a fun form of cardio that gets the heart rate up and is a very dynamic way to get in a workout, because there are so many ways to incorporate it into a routine. Children also love to do it and are good at getting creative at games and fun activities that involve jumping.
So what are some of the great benefits of jumping and skipping?
· Temporarily elevating your heart rate in a controlled manner through exercise helps your heart function better.
· Because jumping is a form of cardio, it can help provide a boost in metabolism, helping bodies process food more efficiently. This means better nutrient absorption and contributes to healthier weights throughout life.
· Cardio exercise helps circulate oxygen better through the body. The better oxygen moves throughout the body helps promote healthy cell growth.
· The muscles used to jump get stronger. These muscles include the quads, the glues, the hamstrings, and the calves.
Even better, it is really simple to incorporate jumping into a family workout routine, or playtime for smaller tots. So many games involve getting a little air between yourself and the ground. They’re fun and simple!
· Hop-Scotch: Always fun, hop-scotch has infinite jumping and hopping possibilities. You can make the grid as long or as short as your family needs and change up the pattern. Want to do it all on the right leg first, and then the left? Alternate? Get creative! Plus, it can work indoors and outdoors. Outside, you can draw it in chalk; inside you can use painter’s tape or printed paper.
· Jump Rope: This game helps with coordination as well. Whether everyone sees how many times they can go without stopping with their own rope, or everyone shares and tries double-dutch, this activity is really fun.
· Simon Says Jumping Jacks: The idea of jumping jacks is simple, and not very exciting, but they are very good for you. Combined with a game like Simon Says, it can be easier to do more, and not notice. If you do something wrong in the game, do ten jumping jacks. Or maybe do them until Simon Says to do something else between each round. There are so many possibilities.
Growing stronger and increasing athletic ability does not have to be boring or repetitive. Finding creative ways to do exercise moves for the whole family can make exercise something that everyone can do. Get jumping and grow stronger together!
By: Bethany Verrett