WWorking out in your 40s and 50s, the idea of repeated jumps may seem less than ideal, not to mention less than comfortable for your joints. But did you know that landing from a jump can actually trigger an adaptive response that builds stronger bones — which is increasingly important after menopause?
While jumping on a trampoline may not give you enough resistance to be effective, and hard-core plyometrics can be too impactful for your joints to handle, Matthew Welch, an exercise physiologist and certified athletic trainer for the Hospital for Special Surgery, says that jumping rope hits the sweet spot. .
Benefits of jumping rope with age
Any type of strength training or jump training after menopause can help improve your bone mineral density and muscle mass and maintain your estrogen levels, Welch says. “By participating in an activity like jumping rope, you are exposing your bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles to a stressor that they can adapt to positively,” he says. “Gradually, over time, you turn on certain genes that help regulate estrogen production and can even delay age-related loss in bone density and muscle mass.”
He noted that a 2015 study of 60 women between the ages of 25 and 50 found that those who did just 10 jumping exercises, twice a day, over 16 weeks improved bone mineral density in their hips. If that doesn’t inspire you, consider the fact that studies have shown that control groups who didn’t do any jumping exercises actually saw bone density increases. decrease.
Make no mistake, though: There are benefits to jumping rope beyond bone density. Essentially a full-body workout, it will get your heart rate up, which can improve your cardiovascular fitness, Welch says.
“A 2019 review found that regular plyometric training improved bone health, muscle strength, body composition, postural stability, and physical performance in 176 women ages 58 to 79,” Welch shared.
How to Add Jumping Rope to Your Routine
While many workouts last for 20, 30 or 60 minutes, jumping rope is best performed in much shorter intervals. “An easy way to start jumping rope is to do three to five rounds of 20 to 30 seconds,” says Welch. Doing this twice a week is a great place to start.
While it may not seem like much, Welch says taking it slow and steady is the secret to gradually adapting to a bone-boosting workout. “Most people will go too far with this activity too soon and develop a great deal of late-onset muscle soreness that can last up to 48 hours post-exercise,” he warns.
With that in mind, he says the key to becoming an expert jump roper is to gradually increase your intervals and rounds each week. A four-week progression might look like this:
- Week 1: Three to five rounds of 20 to 30 seconds
- Week 2: Three to five rounds of 30 to 45 seconds
- Week 3: Three to four rounds of 60 to 75 seconds
- Week 4: Four rounds of 60 to 75 seconds
Embrace your inner child
“Incorporating jumping rope into an exercise circuit can be a great way to keep things fun,” notes Welch. If you want to build an entire bone-boosting routine around your jump rope reps, he notes that box jumps (three sets of eight reps) and medicine ball slams (three sets of 20 reps) pair nicely with the exercise (ideally when performing three 45-second sets of jumping rope).
Or, you can keep it simple: When you have a few minutes to spare, just whip out your rope and channel your inner playground energy. Besides all the health benefits, it will make you feel like a kid again.