Are you doing this workout yet? The workout I praise time and time again is one we played as a kid - and one that's been around for ages. Some say it originated in Egypt in 1600 B.C.!

JUMP ROPE!

There are just so many benefits to this type of activity. It improves coordination, it strengthens joints when used correctly, it is portable - fitting easily into a suitcase, and it can burn up to 700 calories / hour! I've used so many exclamation marks already, but that's because everything about the jump rope is extremely exciting. Who wouldn't want to get in shape anywhere, anytime, without the use of a machine? The jump rope is truly a no-excuses ballgame.

The ideal setting is hardwood floors, or some other kind of soft flooring, which absorbs some impact (unlike cement). That said, while jumping rope we land softly on the ball of the foot, lessening the blow to the patella-femoral joint. Also, landing on two feet rather than one, as you would in running, lessens the impact placed on the joint. So by jumping rope, you can burn as many calories in 10 minutes as running an 8-minute mile, and yet avoid the potential damage to the joints.

You engage the core to stabilize and land softly, and you teach the body to absorb impact with the muscles instead of the joints. You tone the upper body and you torch calories.

Why aren't you jumping rope yet?

My clients cringe when I bring the jump rope out for the first time, claiming they won't remember how to do it. After a couple of sessions, clients are flying through their workout with conditioned coordination. It doesn't take long. Do yourself a favour and pick up this small tool - and get jumping.

Look forward to a lean, healthy, protected physique.