Jumping rope strengthens the heart along with a range of upper and lower body muscles, including those of the calves, quads, hamstrings, buttocks, chest and shoulders. It can improve coordination and proprioception (the ability to orient yourself in space without visual or innerear cues), which may lessen the risk of falls. This weight-bearing exercise is also good for bone health. Get the rope that’s right for you. You don’t need weighted handles, but a weighted rope can build more upperbody strength. To check the length, stand on the rope’s midpoint and pull the handles up alongside your body. They should reach just up to your armpits. Some ropes are adjustable. Hold the handles lightly and turn the rope by pivoting your wrists (not your whole arms). When you jump, keep your elbows relaxed and close to your sides, and your knees slightly bent. You don’t have to jump high – about an inch or two off the ground is enough. Land gently on the balls of your feet, then bring your heels down to help absorb the impact. Start slowly and gradually increase the speed as you get used to the motion. You may want to initially do double jumps – that is, jump twice for every spin of the rope. Work up to two minutes of rapid jumping, and eventually five minutes. You can include 30-second rest periods for every 30 seconds of jumping until you can jump more continuously. Alternatively, you can count your jumps, aiming for, say, 200 jumps a session. I have fibromyalgia. Can exercise help lessen my constant pain? Secondly, can exercise cause or worsen varicose veins?
Rajni Patel, Mumbai
Exercise is probably the best and foremost line of treatment for fibromyalgia. It will not only help improve muscle strength but also reduce pain and help cope with the emotional distress that most people afflicted with fibromyalgia experience. Exercise and a proper diet plan can also help control your weight. So it is important to factor both in your daily regime. Exercise needn’t be long in duration, but short spells can have desirable results as well. Strength training will help greatly in improving muscle strength/ endurance and managing pain. You may want to avoid exercise during periods of inflammation. As for exercise and varicose veins, it is prudent to exercise as circulation helps reduce the risk. Being stationary for too long and hereditary reasons cause this condition.