Rope jumping overdose?
May 19, 2014 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Hypothetically, what would happen if one were to jump rope for 10 minutes of every hour of the working day, i.e. 10 minutes of rope jumping x8 every day, separated by 50-60 minutes of sitting at the desk. I'm looking for good and bad here. Would it kill your knees? Do wonders for your legs? Do not have much more effect than if you were to jump for only 10 minutes 3 times a week?
posted by Skyanth to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I think it would probably be pretty well the equivalent of running for an hour or an hour and a half a day. If you just started it all of a sudden from a meh area of fitness, you would feel really tired by the end of the day and have trouble doing it by the end.

A while ago I decided I would run the stairs in the building where I worked twice every hour (like, once an hour, I would run down and then back up, twice). This was starting from a good level of fitness - hiking, jogging. It was HARD to do by the end of the day, and I did get kind of sweaty.
posted by mskyle at 8:18 AM on May 19, 2014

Jumping a lot less than that gave me shin splints. Best to work up gradually.
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 8:19 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Make sure you're wearing good shoes, and/or that your calves and ankles are in exceedingly good shape, before you do this all at once. Jumping rope in inadequate shoes has made my Achilles suffer for 48+ hours afterward (and I was 28 at the time, running about 15 miles per week and healthy etc).
posted by magdalemon at 8:21 AM on May 19, 2014

Eighty minutes of moderate rope jumping for a person who weighs 150 pounds burns 980 calories. (Calculator)

80 minutes of running at a 7 minute mile pace would burn 1333 calories at the same weight.

Jumping rope probably has marginally less impact on your knees.

If you're asking whether 10 minutes, 3 times a week would have the same effect in terms of health benefits, the answer is no, partly because you're not burning nearly the same amount of calories, and partly because 10 minutes is really not enough to get the cardiovascular benefit. Even the 10 minutes, 8 times a day would be better if done as two 40-minute sessions.
posted by beagle at 8:22 AM on May 19, 2014

Jumping rope is not inherently worse for the knees. It's lower impact than running if done properly. Experienced jump ropers (checkout buddy Lee) rarely jump more than an inch or two unless performing double or triple unders. You also utilize lower leg muscles to stabilize and dampen impact. Also, jumping rope for ten minutes (if done with a certain degree of intensity) can equal thirty minutes of jogging. It's hard. Really really hard.
posted by ghostpony at 8:25 AM on May 19, 2014

Hypothetically, you'd need to work in a place on the first floor with high ceilings. This wouldn't work in my workplace -- I have neither the floor nor wall clearance to jump rope in my workspace, and I'm pretty sure the person with the office underneath mine would complain about the noise. (Or you'd need to be able to leave the office to jump in the parking lot. I am 100% sure that jumping rope for 10/60 minutes each hour would not fly in my office, and my office is pretty informal and pro-exercise. We've had employees who ran windsprints to the breakroom or set up standing desks at various points in the past.)

You'd probably want to work up to the full 8 reps/10 minutes gradually to avoid injury. Like artistic verisimilitude, I have developed shin splits trying to ramp up a fitness program (in my case, by running on asphalt/concrete).

I think there are better workplace options for improving your health/fitness level. Running up and down the stairs. Doing yoga poses that focus on muscle strength (lunges, plank, etc.). 100 Up would be easy to start in an office, or you could try the 100 pushups program. If you have a large office with a high ceiling (and a forgiving office liability carrier), bringing in a rebounder. If you have a really flexible workplace, you could ask about a treadmill desk.
posted by pie ninja at 8:27 AM on May 19, 2014

Response by poster: Just to get past the sweaty/stinky/noisy objections, this a freelancer-working-from-home-with-no-downstairs-neighbours scenario, guys.
posted by Skyanth at 8:30 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, echoing what others have said you're going to want to ramp up to any type of regimen involving jump rope. I developed shin splints at first because I was running a few miles a day. I got rid of them by developing tibialis anterior strength by doing toe lifts (put pressure/weights on your toe and lift). Most people have under developed foot and tibialis strength which contributes to shin splints. Take it slow at first and slowly work up to multiple sessions a day.

buy a speed rope (and check out speed rope tutorials), shoes with some padding, and make sure to jump on something other than concrete (wood floors or high density foam are good options). You'll develop amazing calves and remarkable endurance pretty quickly. I went from a 32 minute 5k to a 26 minute 5k in eight weeks by adding 15 minutes of jump rope a day and no other change to my workout regimen. But those 15 minutes were aerobically intense and generated absurd amounts of sweat. That might inhibit feasibility of going back to work without showering.
posted by ghostpony at 8:46 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Your hypothetical needs qualification, especially concerning age and general fitness level. I was an avid rope-jumper throughout childhood and adolescence. Last summer, at the age of 55, I was invited to an outdoor party where many people of middle age got in the spirit and joined in a jump-rope game; I was astonished at how much discomfort I and most others felt after only 10 or so jumps (that's like, 30 seconds of jumping??). I literally felt the jarring impact going up my leg bones, and had to discontinue for fear of doing real damage. Rope jumping for 10 minutes EVER let alone several times a day would definitely not be the correct aerobic exercise for me at this point in my life. As others have mentioned, even if you're young and fit, you would be well advised to slowly work your way up over many days/weeks with a high-impact activity like this.
posted by RRgal at 9:40 AM on May 19, 2014

There is some evidence that spreading your exercise across short intervals throughout the day has a better effect on your glycaemic control (regulation of your blood sugar) than doing the same amount of exercise in one block. This article is mostly about the effect on blood sugar regulation of short, intense exercise sessions ~30 min before eating (short version: for people with insulin resistance, a short session before each meal seems to be better than a single, long session), but alludes to other studies:
While acknowledging that further work is required to determine the clinical significance of their study, the authors say their work adds to the recent interest in 'accumulating physical activity' as brief, repetitive bouts of intense exercise (as opposed to a single, prolonged, continuous exercise session) to prevent cardiometabolic disease
Other research focusing on several weeks of interval training versus continuous exercise has found that interval exercise every second day is just as effective as continuous exercise every day, despite the significantly lower volume of exercise. The current study and others show that if the exercise is intense, it may only need to be performed every second day, further adding to the time efficient nature of this interval exercise.
So while I can't comment on the pros and cons of skipping specifically, spreading your exercise out through the day like that might be a good idea.

NB: As with all health stories that make it into the news, I strongly recommend reading the original paper and exercise caution about over-interpreting it. If you're interested but find that you can't access the full paper (or if you're not used to reading scientific papers and would like some help from a non-doctor and non-specialist in this field in interpreting this one), drop me a MeMail.
posted by metaBugs at 9:56 AM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

I think this plan may be slightly more likely to result in overuse injury for a beginner, because you're tampering with the metabolic stress limits that would normally help (though not prevent) you from seriously exceeding your musculoskeletal stress limits.

80 minutes of jumping rope a day would (I believe) wreak absolute havoc on a beginner's muscles and joints. However, a beginner is going to be limited in how much damage they can do to their muscles and joints at first because their overall aerobic fitness level and specific muscle strength simply can't support jumping rope for 80 minutes at a time. They can jump long enough to do a little damage, which is precisely what causes the muscles and joints to grow stronger, as the tissues repair themselves over the course of a day or two.

Metabolism, however, recovers more quickly than muscle and tissue damage. The beginner who continues to do short sessions over the course of a day may be mostly metabolically recovered between sessions, but no significant tissue recovery will have taken place. So they're going to continue to damage their muscles and tissues, far more than if they had just jumped rope to their one-session metabolic limit, then stopped and not come back to the exercise for a few days.

This is one of the reasons why beginning running programs recommend running no more than every other day at first. From a heart/lung standpoint, a beginning runner is capable of going out and running an easy run every day, but their muscles and especially their joints will not be fully recovered during that time frame and it's a good way to get injured (in addition to the fact that it doesn't allow optimal improvement of your metabolic systems, either).
posted by drlith at 10:00 AM on May 19, 2014

It's an unrealistic and somewhat poor take to exercise. Of course we all have personal preferences, but you will probably not find this to be as nice as it sounds in theory.

Instead spend an hour dedicated to fitness a day. With interval training of jump-rope, pushup, standing squat, and other body-weight type calisthenics workouts, you can get into great shape. After boxing for a few years I could put someone through a workout far more rigorous than what most people do at the gym with just two dumbells, a jumprope, and their body.

In the end exercise is a hassle and a time-sink, and I don't think you will find any shortcuts make it better (i.e. 10 minutes an hour).

If you are truly interested in splitting apart your workouts, consider 2x30 minute workouts?

PS: Also w.r.t your actual question, you would probably be fine. But it varies across body structure, type, weight, age, joints etc. Just listen to your body. I can jumprope for maybe 10-15 minutes before I have to stop due to pain from my flat-feet in my knees (was 3 minutes when I first started).
posted by jjmoney at 10:06 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I jump rope first thing in the morning most weekdays for 30-40 minutes. I do it on two yoga mats to minimize impact. My knees are fine, nothing hurts, my legs and butt are a bit firmer but it seems more cardiovascular than strength-building. If I do it for 10 minutes, nothing much happens, as in, I can't even work up a sweat. Of course, YMMV.
posted by rada at 11:13 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you are seriously thinking of doing 400 plus minutes a week of intense physical activity there are ways to get better results with less likelihood of injury. Pretty sure you would be overtraining for one. If I had 400 minutes to use a week, I would probably do 3 10 minute HIIT sessions, a couple of 5*5 weightlifing sessions, and maybe some kind of yoga/pilates floor mat sessions. More variety, less likelihood of injury, and ultimately I believe your results would be better. (Mind you, if you can actually do 400 minutes of jump roping a week without getting injured you WILL get in pretty damn good shape. Just does not sound sustainable.)
posted by jcworth at 1:34 PM on May 19, 2014

Jumping rope is a great form of exercise, but one that's deceptively difficult and can be hard on the joints and such if not eased into. You give no indication of your fitness levels and weight (obviously it's harder on you the heavier you are). Why not start with five minute bursts a few times a day and see how they turn out for you?
posted by Anonymous at 2:24 PM on May 19, 2014

I also reccomend low impact HIIT/bodyweight exercises. You'll get in awesome shape fast with even just 30 minutes a day.
posted by tenaciousmoon at 6:05 PM on May 19, 2014

FWIW my Mother's arches fell from jumping rope in her 40's. However, she wasn't a big fan of a supportive shoe.
posted by PJMoore at 12:20 PM on May 20, 2014

I jump rope for an hour 5 days a week. It's neurotic, and sometimes I get shin splints, but I've been doing this for 15 years and... haven't exploded.
posted by eenagy at 4:12 PM on May 20, 2014

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