Twenty-three years after I started riding an exercise bike every day I started jumping rope. My goal was to spend less time working out. I was usually riding the bike or doing some other exercise twice a day, which ate up over an hour. I was hoping that with jump rope I could spend less time exercising and get the same result in energy.
I had no idea that jumping to music would turn out to be fun but after a few weeks I found out. If you give yourself enough time to learn to jump with any consistency it starts to get easy, and fun jumping to the beat. Once you get to that point it just becomes more and more fun as you get better, and easier.
Now, after twenty-three years of endurable but not especially enjoyable workouts, not only do I get the pleasure of the endorphins and increased energy level, I get the pleasure of Jump Rock itself. You can say that jump rope, or Jump Rock is not for everyone, but when it comes to Jump Rock that’s like saying that dancing is not for everyone.
As a matter of fact the best thing about Jump Rock is that it lets you dance, by yourself even, without the superego shutting you down from embarrassment. I say best, because that’s what makes Jump Rock so much fun that you want to jump every day. I can’t think of any other time that I feel as purely “good” as when I’m jumping to some song I really get into. It’s literally euphoric, probably as a result of endorphins manufactured in the brain to mask the efforts of exercise. In so doing they stimulate the pleasure centers and euphoria is the side-effect. Isn’t biochemistry great?
Well, not always. Sometimes when I get home I still feel like I’m too tired to jump. The other face of biochemistry, the frowny-face one. I know better, but I can’t make myself really believe it. I walk around, getting ready to jump, and part of me is happy because I’m going to feel good very soon, and the other half is mopey because it just doesn’t seem possible.
That may sound crazy, but consider this – if you’re about to have an operation, you can’t quell your anxiety and it doesn’t seem possible that some sedative will take away all your concerns. But you know it’s true, so you take the shot. More biochemistry.
Usually I start feeling great as soon as I start jumping. But sometimes I bring the office home in my head and I’m not really into it. It’s fun, but the euphoria is not there. But every single time, after awhile I do start to feel great. And every single time the stresses of the day are washed out of my head and my bloodstream by the time I finish. There’s never been a time when I said, “Gee, I wish I hadn’t jumped”. It always makes me feel better. It never gets old.
I said that the fun of dancing is the best thing about Jump Rock. The most rewarding result, pleasure, is probably the most trivial, but it’s the one that keeps you going when more abstract goals get stale. But by pursuing that ‘trivial’ goal, which I call pleasure, but more specifically increased energy that makes you feel better every day, you also get the benefits of increased fitness and better health.
But in my opinion the absolute most important side-effect is extending the pleasure of living as far as possible into old age. I’m in tremendously better shape than I expected to be at my age. I never thought I could jump the way I can for as long as I can.
I think that’s from the nature of Jump Rock. As you become more agile you move the effort around to different parts of your body, you vary the pace and the moves to stretch out your endurance, you’re constantly trying to get better… as a result you get more and more fit without noticing the effort involved.
And that’s why I’m putting it out there. If I can convince people that I’m actually having fun and demonstrate to them the kind of shape I’m in as a result, and they can do the same … I’ll have accomplished my goal.