This new smart rope helped us start our Toronto fitness resolutions off right
As a writer who gives off big “picked last in gym” energy, most people would not describe me as an active person.
It’s not that I haven’t made a good ol’ college try with getting fit. I’ve tried running, I’ve subscribed to different at-home workout apps, I’ve even done CrossFit classes (hold your applause). But I’ve yet to find something that fits within my schedule that I can keep up with consistently, which has led to me to, for lack of a better term, skip out on staying as active as I potentially could be.
This is why when Best Buy Canada hooked me up with a smart jump rope to try their #BestBuySkips challenge, I figured it’d be the perfect excuse to see if I’d found something that would help me get started on more of an active future. And, all Canadians are invited to skip into the new year too.
Taking place from Tuesday, January 3 until Friday, January 20, Best Buy Canada is seeing how many skips Canadians can do in 30 seconds, and will be donating one dollar for every post using #BestBuySkips to BGC Canada (formerly Boys and Girls Club) up to $30,000. It’s an easy way to start your fitness journey in the new year, at a lower price than that gym membership you’re probably already thinking about cancelling.
So, with a brand new workout tool in my toolbelt and a skip in my step, I embarked on my jumping rope.
I’d never really considered a smart jump rope before, and it was actually pretty cool to learn about it. For the challenge, Best Buy Canada sent me the Yu-mn smart jump rope, which was developed by Harriet Obinyan.
A former flight attendant, Obinyan was the first participant of Best Buy Canada's Mentorship & Accelerator Program (MAP) which seeks to connect Black and Indigenous tech entrepreneurs with Best Buy expertise, mentors, and support to grow their businesses.
The Yu-mn smart jump rope comes included with handles and rope separately, along with a carrying case, a little USB charger, and instructions on how to set it up.
There’s also an app you need to install on your phone, PaiActive, that helps you keep track of your progress. The setup for the app takes a little while, and you’ll need to input some information like height, weight, and a fun little profile picture — which, doesn’t need to be pretty, I tell myself, as I snap an overexposed selfie that no one will ever see ever again.
The rope has three settings: timer, countdown, and “free mode.” The timer can be set for various intervals — the lowest being 30 seconds, which was good for me. The countdown mode lets you set a set number of skips, and will time you to see how long it takes to hit that number. Free mode counts the number of skips you’re doing, and the active time you’re skipping for — which means the timer stops if you take a break.
After charging the handles and figuring out how to connect the rope, I was good to get started.
Look, don’t be fooled by those children skipping rope in the park effortlessly. Jumping rope is hard, and their young little bodies have incredible core strength.
Doing some research for this article, I found out just how strong the jump rope community online really is, exploring a bunch of great resources to help let me jump into this journey. There were warmups and stretches, which, if like me, you have an “active lifestyle” equating to that of Jabba the Hutt, I would recommend doing.
While your warmup and stretching may vary, the important thing is to warm your body up and stretch out your feet, wrists, and anterior tibialis — which is the fancy term for lower legs.
Next, avoid jumping rope in your apartment and find a spot outside or at your nearest gym. Because I live on the second floor of an old Toronto apartment building where the walls and ceilings are essentially cracker sleeves glued together, making this an outdoor activity where I jump for extended periods of time would keep my neighbours happy.
For day one, I just wanted to get used to jumping rope with proper form and establish a baseline for myself going forward. I was able to track how long I was jumping for and how many skips I was doing through the “free mode” on the app.
Being confident that I had gotten into a good rhythm, I did decide to do the 30-second challenge to see how fast I could go. And, once I stopped wheezing, I was able to hit 81 skips on my first try.
Now that I was comfortable with the rope, and I knew I could hit 81, I established a few goals for myself throughout the course of my week using the rope consistently.
Through some research, and what was expected of me to write this article, I set three goals for myself: skip rope for 30 minutes a day; skip for three minutes without stopping or tripping; and, hit 90 skips in 30 seconds.
And, wow, these seemingly small goals were so challenging to achieve my FitBit notifications during this week were just: "are you okay?"
Again, doing more research for this article revealed that, while 30 minutes of skipping a day will help you make big improvements, you shouldn’t start skipping that amount right away.
It’s recommended that jump rope beginners skip five to 10 minutes every other day to get used to the feeling of jumping rope and build up the skill. But, I didn’t have that luxury, so I suffered so you don’t have to.
Because of this, I kept up the stretching, and also added a yoga cooldown, which I didn’t include in the 30 minutes of my jump rope workout. This helped mitigate some of the stiffness and allowed me to walk, albeit slower and more stilted than normal until my body caught up.
Jump rope beginners should also skip less because you will make mistakes — a lot of them. You’ll get cramps, trip yourself, and whip the rope into various parts of your body. It will hurt in more ways than one.
Remember to keep in mind that jump-roping is a skill you need to build up and practice over time. If you decide to dive in headfirst only to fumble, you might get discouraged and have a better chance of giving up — a thing I simply could not do.
This is where having the smart rope really helped. Through the app, I was able to track the amount of time I was actively skipping in a 30-minute period, along with the number of skips I made in that time. While I’m still nowhere near close to a pro, it was encouraging to see my progress steadily increase.
After skipping rope for 30 minutes a day, and feeling the Sisyphean torment of this challenge, I can confidently say that I hit all of my goals. Please clap!
Do I still trip over the rope when I get too tired? Sure. Am I consistently hitting 90 skips in 30 seconds? Debatable. Are my calves on the verge of exploding out of my body? Absolutely.
Out of all my attempts at getting fit, jumping rope is probably the most fun, especially when you don’t have to think about counting your skips or setting a bunch of external timers. It’s also something you can just keep excelling at, with different foot movements and tricks you can do to spice up your workouts.
Overall, if your new year's resolution for 2023 is to get more fit, jumping rope is one of the more cost-effective, entertaining ways you can do it. Just start slow, work your way up, and soon you’ll be a jump rope pro.
To get yourself the Yu-mn smart jump rope, head to Best Buy Canada’s website or an in-store location. In fact, to get you started on your new year's fitness journey, Best Buy Canada is holding a sale on all their health and wellness products until January 19.
And, if you think you can do better than 90 skips in 30 seconds, by all means, post a video of yourself with the hashtag #BestBuySkips — and don’t forget to tag Best Buy Canada when you do it. If you're unable to participate in this specific challenge, follow Best Buy Canada on social media to keep updated on more fun challenges coming soon!
Alicia Haque/Best Buy Canada
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