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As part of my quest to become a better, fitter, healthier me this year, I have been trying to focus on ways to vary my exercise regime and make working out fit into my daily life as easy as possible.  Where I think I’ve gone wrong before is that I’ve set myself ambitious goals (like running a half marathon, for example) and although I’ve had the commitment, I haven’t had the physically capability to quite do the task at hand justice.  I ran before I could walk, if you will.  So now it’s about shorter, technically-correct runs, getting out for a walk when possible and introducing high-intensity activities to increase my stamina and strength.  That’s where skipping comes in.

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I picked up the rope for about a tenner at Argos and dowloaded the IntervalTimer App from iTunes for free, and aside from a bit of space in your garden or at the park, that’s pretty much all you need.  The Nike rope is nice and lightweight, and you can adjust the length so that you’re not tripping over or tying yourself in knots.  The IntervalTimer app does exactly what it says and works really well.  My favourite feature is that you can customise the sounds that play at the end of intervals, my particular preference being the boxing bell!

If you’re looking for workout ideas, and the different types of jumps you can do, I can highly recommend Zest magazine’s article which you can find here.  To get started though, 10 minutes of 40 seconds skipping at near-maximum effort then 20 seconds rest certainly gets your heart racing and can burn as many calories as running a mile in eight minutes!  Stick a few songs on the iPod and it’ll be over before you know it.

One piece of advice that you might not read in any fitness guides, but is probably the most crucially important thing of all, is to make sure you have a good surface to skip on.  The decking in my garden is very slippery and slimy after so much wet weather and dirt build-up that I was nearly flat on my back before I got started.  FYI, soda crystals and warm water are widely regarded as a natural and effective deck de-greaser.

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