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I'm always on the lookout for new low-impact cardio exercises. I read that jumping rope is not that high impact on the knees. This seemed counterintuitive, but it might make sense: you only jump 1-2" and your calves should absorb a lot of the impact.

Given the ongoing lockdown situation, jumping rope might be a great option for me but I do wonder if jumping rope really is a low-impact activity? Can anyone speak to this classification?

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I'll share you my experience.

I've never had any issues with my knees with jumping rope, and I used to skip the rope up to an hour at a time.

I had problems with shin splints, stabbing kind of pain, because I had a bad rope for double-unders (two skips in one jump) so I had to jump higher, and I used to jump bare-footed on hard surfaces (laminate flooring or even concrete).

What is a bad rope for double-unders? It is any slow rope. Mine was fabric, which cannot spin fast enough, and I was motivated to beat it by jumping higher so I had high impacts on each return back to the floor.

These days I use cable jumping rope and wear shoes when skipping and I have no issues whatsoever. Cable is very fast and hard, and the only impact it does is when it slaps my skin on a missed skip.

Just make sure to get a rope that matches your current skills and upgrade when necessary. I've learnt it the harder way. =)

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With the proper technique of short, controlled jumps, it is lower-impact on the knees. I jump-rope almost every day and my knees have never hurt during it

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Impact on the lower body can affect the knees, but also the shins, the ankles and the feet. Running can be classified as high-impact, and runners are highly exposed to injuries like shin splints, runner's knee, damage to Achilles tendon, etc.

Jumping rope can be classified as low-impact because of the low elevation above the ground, but also because (1) it is easier to stay on the tips of the feet (rather than the heels), which gives you some elasticity that does not exist when falling on heels, and also because (2) one can easily jump rope on a mat or another soft surface, which is harder to do while running.

I very much recommend jump rope, and you can check the /r/jumprope channel on Reddit for a cool jump rope community. Have fun!

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  • Ball of the feet changes everything May 24 at 20:29

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