THE BENEFITS OF JUMPING FOR YOUR HEALTH AS YOU GET OLDER
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Jumping exercises are easy to do, fun-filled, and beneficial for health. Jumping exercises can be in the form of jumping ropes, jumping jacks, or simply jumping. As we age, we are reluctant to jump because we fear injuries. But, the opposite is true because jumping strengthens your muscles and bones and improves your balance, so the chances of injuries to those who jump daily are less. In addition, jumping with friends can help you relive your childhood, with the added benefit of improving mental well-being.
Jumping does not require any large space or equipment. It can be done at your home with ease. If you are reluctant to go to the gym or run because of the pollution or lack of space, you can jump in the comfort of your home.
The guidelines recommend 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, 5 days a week, amounting to 150 minutes per week. However, as a higher-intensity exercise, jumping can help attain recommended activity levels in less time than brisk walking.
A meta-analysis was done to study the effects of jumping training on muscular power in older adults. The study showed that jumping training is safe and efficient in older adults. It also recommended the number of sets of jumping training which would be beneficial. According to this, there must be two to three sets per exercise and three to ten jumps per set with 60 seconds of recovery between sets.
Jumping remains an ignored form of exercise as people are mostly unaware of its many physical and mental well-being benefits.
Here are some of the benefits of jumping as we get older.
- Strengthens bones: When you are young, your bones are strong and healthy. However, as you age, they start to weaken and can break even with trivial trauma. Regular physical activity can help you to maintain the bone strength that you had when you were young. This can be achieved by providing regular stress and work to your bones. Jumping helps train bone strength by exerting a regular amount of stress on the bones while landing. Also, there is improved blood flow to the bones, maintaining their health.
- Improves balance and coordination: When we age, we are more prone to falls and injuries. This is because the coordination of our senses and muscles is affected by age. Jumping requires various muscles in our body to function and coordinate with each other. Jumping rope further involves rhythmic movements and good hand-eye coordination. If it is performed regularly, it improves our footwork pattern, coordination of upper and lower limbs, and overall balance and coordination.
- Additionally, jumping helps to maintain your balance. It is also shown that jumping ropes improve proprioception (joint position sensation), which is essential for coordination and balance.
- Feeling energized: With increasing age, we tend to feel less energetic and tired most of the time. Jumping helps to make you feel more energized. Also, jumping is fun-filled and is often associated with childhood. Furthermore, jumping rope feels like more of a challenge every time you do it. All of these factors can make you feel more energetic.
- Improves heart health: When you start jumping, you feel your heart rate rise and breathe faster. Moderate exercise of 150 minutes per week is considered good for the heart. Jumping can help you achieve it in a shorter duration. For instance, jumping ropes is considered twice more beneficial than other moderate forms of exercise. So, even if you perform 75 minutes of jumping per week, it is as beneficial as 150 minutes of brisk walking. Thus, you can save time with similar benefits. As you get older, the risk of cardiovascular disease increases. Consequently, the benefits of jumping increase with age.
- Improves respiratory function: As you exercise, you need more oxygen and breathe faster. When you exercise regularly over a period of time, your lung function improves. Lungs start to accommodate more air, and breathing becomes easier during physical activity.
- Weight loss: Jumping helps to burn calories and lose weight. It is observed that if you jump for 10 minutes a day, you can achieve weight loss and maintain your BMI. It also helps to improve metabolism and maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is a cause of most chronic diseases, and achieving weight loss helps to prevent conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. It also helps increase the level of good cholesterol and decreases bad cholesterol. These are associated with life-threatening conditions such as heart attack and stroke. These conditions become more prevalent with age. So, maintaining a healthy weight is essential as you age, and jumping provides a fun way to achieve it.
- Improving muscle mass: Jumping helps to reduce weight by decreasing body fat and maintaining a healthy weight by increasing muscle mass. As different muscles in the body are utilized during jumping, their regular use and the improved blood flow enhance muscle bulk. In addition, with age, muscle mass tends to decrease. Therefore, jumping is a useful way of maintaining muscle strength and mass.
- Improved digestion: As age increases, digestive problems tend to arise. People often say they cannot digest food as they used to when they were younger. To avoid digestive problems, physical activity is vital. The increased calorie requirement for jumping also helps to digest food better. It also helps to improve appetite, which usually wanes with age. This helps to fulfill the nutritional requirement of the body. Having said that, a balanced diet is essential to maintain nutritional requirements.
- Reduce stress: Exercise can increase the serotonin level and helps regulate the neurotransmitter. Dysregulation of the neurotransmitter is the cause of stress-related depression and anxiety. Furthermore, jumping is mainly associated with childhood and fun. As we get older, stress levels increase, as well as the likelihood of depression. So, regularly performing exercises like jumping helps to regulate neurotransmitters bringing more fun and happiness to life. Also, performing the exercise with your friends or family adds an element of bonding and human connection, which are shown to be beneficial in reducing stress and mental health problems.
- Improved cognition: Cognitive decline occurs with age and is more pronounced in people with sedentary lifestyles lacking physical or mental stimulation. Jumping is a form of physical activity which improves cognitive abilities. Jumping ropes also provides mental stimulation creating a competitive spirit that slows down cognitive decline. Also, we learn faster, and our brains work better when we are happy.
- Building endurance: When you age, you might feel tired even with mild activity or work, which can dampen various aspects of life. Physical activity such as jumping helps to improve blood flow. The improved blood flow results in better oxygen delivery to various body parts such as the brain, muscles, and organs. This helps reduce tiredness and breathlessness while performing daily activities and improves endurance. Since jumping is a good form of cardio involving all the muscles in your body, it helps improve blood flow and endurance. Building endurance is a process that requires time. So, incorporating jumping into your daily routine for the long run is necessary for developing better endurance.
- Reducing injuries: Jumping regularly strengthens the calf muscles and improves the elasticity of surrounding tissues like tendons and ligaments. This increased elasticity decreases the risk of lower limb injuries such as Achilles tendon rupture or plantar fasciitis. For increasing elasticity, you should land first on the balls of your feet before letting your heels land on the ground. When you get older, the muscles become tighter, increasing the risk of lower limb injuries. Also, we know that jumping improves coordination and reduces fall risk. Therefore, over time, jumping helps to minimize these injuries.
- Increasing longevity: Regular physical activities such as jumping can make you feel young and increase longevity. You would be better protected from common age-related diseases such as cognitive decline, frequent falls, injuries, stress, and digestive problems. It also minimizes conditions associated with weight gain, such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. In addition, it lowers the risk of certain cancers and keeps inflammatory conditions in check.
So, by minimizing the risk of chronic diseases and making you feel younger, jumping improves longevity and quality of life.
To reap the maximum benefits of jumping exercise, certain methods can be followed, as discussed below:
- Start slowly: If you are not physically active, then it is advised that you start slowly. Start only with a few jumps initially and gradually increase over time as you develop endurance. Some people tend to push themselves to the limit from the outset, which can be detrimental.
- Set a limit: During physical activity, pushing harder can be beneficial, but not always. With age, it is vital to know your limits. It is also advisable to consult an exercise physiologist and your doctor if you have any chronic conditions. While jumping is beneficial, setting a limit for yourself is important. You can also follow standard guidelines that recommend jumping for 75 minutes weekly.
- Change it up: Changing the ways of jumping can provide a new challenge and keep you motivated for the long run. It also helps to increase your limit gradually. For example, you can start with simple jumping to jumping jacks and then to jumping ropes. You can even change the rhythm or cycle of jumping ropes. Challenging yourself and modifying your routine also helps to improve your cognitive function.
- Keep track: Keeping track of your activity, weight loss, and sleep motivates you to continue exercising. Keeping track of your activities also helps you to improvise your exercise. If you are suffering from any chronic illness, you can keep track of it and compare the benefits of exercise.
Any form of physical activity helps overall well-being. Jumping can be considered a better form of physical activity due to its various advantages. However, some people feel that they might injure themselves or that jumping is an activity for kids. Following recommended activity levels and techniques can help reduce or eliminate risks. The benefits of jumping far outweigh the risks. Moreover, it also strengthens muscles and bones and improves coordination, balance, and tendon elasticity. These factors reduce the risk of injuries. As you age, you become more prone to weak bones, muscle pain, and various diseases. Jumping is a simple way to reduce your risks.
As you get older, jumping should ideally be a part of your regular physical activity due to its benefits, simplicity, and fun factor.
- Moran, J., Ramirez-Campillo, R., & Granacher, U. (2018). Effects of jumping exercise on muscular power in older adults: a meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 48(12), 2843-2857.
- Karinkanta, S., Heinonen, A., Sievänen, H., Uusi-Rasi, K., Fogelholm, M., & Kannus, P. (2009). Maintenance of exercise-induced benefits in physical functioning and bone among elderly women. Osteoporosis International, 20(4), 665-674.
- Sapko, M. How the Central Nervous System Benefits from Jumping Rope Dec 03, 2021, Posted by: Fresh Fire.
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