We often judge activities based on how much they change us physically. But, we never think about the mental aspect. How moving our bodies everyday changes our character is something we fail to reflect on.
I used to be a runner. Treadmill or no treadmill, rain or snow, I ran everyday from 5:30-6:30 in the morning.
But, I hated every minute of it.
From the moment I tied my laces, up until my last mile, even thinking about running scared me.
So, why did I do it?
I used to be a chubby kid. I was "˜that kid' who deliberately tried to get sick for sports day. And so, during college, every time I ran, I had billions of voices shunning me down. At times it was the voice of my soccer coach calling me a'tractor', other times, it was my classmates, commenting on my man boobs from the sideline as I struggled to finish the race.
So, to me, running during college was a way to prove something. Naturally, it was unhealthy. For starters, I was in college, still dreading about things that happened during high school.
I had to let go. I had to grow.
That is when I came across Jumping Rope.
It has been a year and a half, and, not only has Jumping Rope altered my physique, but, it has helped me develop my character by teaching me lessons about life and fitness.
Here are some of them.
If you're just starting out, there's some required trial and error for getting the right form. That trial and error requires patience and perseverance. There's no place for ego.
I used to run despite hating it because I felt as if I had to prove something to someone. As if, I was still competing with my friends in high school.
Because I failed multiple times before finally getting the right form, jumping rope taught me, that, in reality, I was competing with myself. I did not have to get better than anyone but myself.
And that change in mindset helped me optimize everything.
Failure helped me touch base with reality and develop patience, it killed all that toxic ego that was bottled up inside. This made consistency easier.
As my form started getting better there were times where ego popped up again. In the middle of my workout, I started thinking about how cool I looked while jumping rope.
And, that is when the rope would get stuck between my legs. Reality would hit me, forcing me to focus on the now.
Thus, jumping rope trained me to stay focused, training my mind to not wander and instead- be in the now, in the flow state where the mind and the body seem connected and everything is coordinated (there are also studies that prove that jump rope training improves coordination, balance, and focus.
That feeling of flow is something to work for.
This significantly changed the quality of my work as I spent more time in doing deep work.
#3 Reflecting on Failures
When we hit bottom, the obvious advise people give us is to try again. And, although that's good, there's something essential that we miss.
Reflecting on our failures.
What went wrong? Was it something external (hence, out of my control), or, something internal, something that I can change?
Jumping rope is all about having the right form. Knees bent, elbows drawing in, and, one shouldn't jump higher than an inch.
So, every time I fail, I reflect on whether it was due to form and/ or a lack of focus.
I've started applying this to every other area of my life, and, it has optimized everything I do.
#4 Doing Less
A world that is so driven by doing, we often loose sight of what is important. We all want more degrees, more stuff, more tasks accomplished. This mindset naturally inhibits the quality of everything we do.
We aspire to do so many things that we end up doing nothing.
Think about how that applies to fitness. Now, more than any other time, we have so many ways to get fit and yet, health-related diseases are on a high.
As I got more acquainted with Jumping Rope, I started doing Hight Intensity Interval Training for thirty minutes everyday. That's it. No running or any other form of cardio.
This helped me gain clarity on what is /*really*/ required, helping me accomplish keystone tasks like practicing Intermittent Fasting, eating the right foods, hitting my macro numbers, and, giving my hundred and twenty percent during HIIT (for thirty minutes).
Turns out, a combination of HIIT work outs and Intermittent Fasting are scientifically backed ways of getting lean.
#5 Movement is Essential
We look at working out as an extra reward. Something, that, most often isn't a part of our daily chores. This leads to inconsistency as we only work out when we "˜have time'.
But, what if moving your body was essential? What if, it was a requirement to living a healthy life?
After every HIIT session, I felt great from the inside. As if, my body was thanking me. This helped me learn an important lesson about our bodies: they are made to move. You can move them however you like, but, movement is essential.
Since it only took thirty minutes from my day, I started doing it consistently, and, if we know anything about consistency, it's that it produces results.
Our bodies need movement and our minds stillness, it's the opposite that hurts.
Thus, jumping rope helped me fall in love with fitness. Working out wasn't something I had to do anymore, it was something I wanted to do.
Over To You
This is not a plea for you to go start jumping rope. Instead, it's a plea for you to go explore the different ways you can help your body and mind. See what works for you and what doesn't and, adjust accordingly.