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Jump It!

It used to be child's play but now it's one of the best workouts you can do as an adult. CBS News Saturday Morning's fitness expert Bonnie Kaye reports jumping rope really burns those calories.

Now we've all seen boxers jumping rope, but did you know tennis, baseball and even football players do it, too? Many elite athletes say it's improving their game and overall fitness.

For Michael Olajide Jr., a former pro-boxer, being fit helped him earn several world middleweight titles. Now a fitness instructor, Olajide is using what he learned in the ring to help his students get fit in his patented Aero-Jump class.

When you're jumping rope, your coordination and cardiovascular fitness are challenged immediately. Once you're in sync, your heart rate jumps into your target training zone in a hurry. The key is feeling the natural rhythm.

"It's almost like riding a bike. You have to go a certain speed so you don't fall down," says Olajide. "Same thing with the jump rope. You have to go a certain speed to get it right."

"The best thing to do is to start off with 30 seconds; try to jump for a count of 30," Olajide says. "Then stop and walk for a count of 15. Then come back up and jump for another count of 30. And then try to build up to 45 turns, then 60 turns."

Eventually work your way up to 10 minutes to burn a lot of calories in a short period of time.

According to the Cooper Aerobic Institute, you'd need to run about 30 minutes at a 5.7 mph pace to equal the benefits of 10 minutes of jumping rope.

Alternating between jump rope and weight training intervals, students in Olajide's advanced classes liven things up a bit with jump rope tricks, turning the exercise into an extreme workout with benefits beyond the classroom.

"Every day you can do something new, and it's so satisfying. And you lose weight like it's amazing!" says Leila Fazel, a student.

Even just the basic jump will improve foot speed, agility and quickness in whatever sport you do. Be patient at first. It takes time to improve.

Whatever your level, you can burn those calories just about anywhere. Lightweight and portable, jump ropes make an effective and convenient fitness tool you won't want to skip. But be prepared to be a little frustrated at first. Here are some valuable tips that will help you get started.

  • Make sure your rope is the right length.
  • Keep your arms close to your body and at hip level rather than further away like you did skipping rope as a kid.
  • Use your wrists more than your legs, as it's the fluid wrist action that really works the rope.
  • Stay low to the ground, instead of expending too much inefficient energy by jumping too high!
For more information, explore Michael Olajide's Web site.
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