I love to jump rope. It’s strange, because there are many forms of exercise that I DON’T LIKE!, but somehow, jumping makes me feel younger, more agile, more like ‘Jack Be Nimble’. For those of you that hate to exercise, rope jumping or skipping may be for you. Whether you do it for a warmup or for the exercise itself, there is a place for this activity in every regimen.

Jumping rope is a great warmup for activity. Start with regular jumps-both feet. If you are unable to coordinate hands and feet, simulate using the rope and pretend to use it as you jump. It won’t be long until you can integrate the rope into the routine.

Why rope? It burns calories fast. It’s a complete body workout. Great for heart, lungs, and muscles. A lot of work can be done in a very short time; 1 minute of rope = 3 minutes of jogging. Jumping rope is great for agility, body awareness, activating the central nervous system, and improving footwork and coordination. A rope is an easy piece of equipment to take anywhere; doesn’t weigh much, portable, etc. Ropes don’t cost much, and you can buy many different types of rope; plastic, cotton, weighted, etc., and bouncing or vibration is all the rage for fitness and rehabilitation.

PS: Mini trampolines are also a great tool for exercise, balance, and agility. I read a recent testimonial from a patient who rid herself of hemorrhoids by jumping on a trampoline.

Nitric Oxide: A spark of life that needs to be re-ignited.Nitric oxide (NO), is a potent vasodilating (relaxing) substance produced by the endothelial cells in our blood vessels. No’s importance wasn’t recognized until the 1080’s, and it was quickly realized that L-arginine is the substrate necessary for NO production. NO is formed from L-arginine in the central nervous system and acts as a neurotransmitter, and is involved in every biological system, although best characterized in the cardiovascular, immune, and nervous system. The most important use for NO in humans is the relaxation of blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure, and in turn, lowers stroke and heart attack risk. Unfortunately, NO declines with age,which is one reason blood pressure rises as we age. Therefore,  good health requires adequate amounts of NO. How? Currently, there are only three FDA approved products on the market directly to NO: 1) nitroglycerin, 2) inhaled NO therapy for treatment of pulmonary hypertension, and 3) phosphodiesterase inhibitors. There are also over-the-counter products designed to enhance NO production using supplemental L-arginine. I take L-arginine every day. You can also get it from meats, chicken, poultry, and dark-green leafy vegetables.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.