Skip that pricey gym membership and drop the heavy equipment. It is time to rev up your fitness routine with a portable and cheap cardio workout that just so happens to be an old childhood favorite: jumping rope.

Jumping rope is not an activity relegated to playgrounds alone. Professional boxers swear by the benefits of jump rope or as they like to call it, “rope-jumping”. Jump rope is more than just your average hop, skip and a jump routine. The benefits range from improving your coordination, agility, cardio vascular system, footwork and endurance.

It is important when first learning how to jump rope to take your time and not to push yourself too hard when you are just starting out. Although it may look deceptively simple, it actually takes a lot of skill and practice. I recommend starting with intervals. Start off by jumping for 20 seconds at a time with a 10 second rest period. Repeat this procedure three times, and you can effectively build up to your goal instead of trying to attack it the first time around.

Also, choose your jumping space wisely. Make sure you have a clear area of about 7-10 feet in each direction, to ensure that you don’t whip anything in the vicinity. Also, do not jump rope indoors unless you have an exercise mat to jump on. Jumping on the carpet causes drag in your rope and you may trip because your shoes won’t grip properly. The best place to jump would be on a track, tennis court or hardwood floor, any place that will absorb the shock of the jump and put less strain on your joints.

In my opinion, the worst places to jump are concrete and grass. The concrete is way too hard on your joints and in grass you will most likely get your rope caught and whip yourself. Also, try not to jump barefoot. Wear shoes that will support and protect your feet. I would recommend a good pair of cross trainers for the job!

I have been training with the jump rope for a while now and I am starting to see great results. Jump rope has not only helped to sculpt my legs and my backside but also my arms and my midsection. It really is one of the most beneficial and cost efficient workouts out there. This routine is perfect for the upcoming season. You can get a great workout indoors and take it with you on vacation without that extra weight in your bag!