Jumping rope for your heart

8:56 PM, Mar 20, 2013   |    comments
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  • Hopscotch at Chalder Woods Charter academy.
  • A Chalderwoods Fourth grader shows off her jump rope skills

BELMONT, Mich. (WZZM) -- A great way to burn calories is to jump rope; you don't need a lot of space and the equipment is cheap. Encouraging students to take up the activity is one of the goals of the American Heart Association's Jump for Your Heart initiative.

Michael VanDyke is the physical education teacher at Chandler Woods Charter Academy in Belmont. "All week we are doing jump rope for heart activities with our students," explains VanDyke. "Each class gets to come into the gym and have a little bit of extra gym time to exercise and do a lot of different jumping skills."

Students jump for flags hanging from the ceiling to see how high they can jump. Hopscotch is being played in the corner, the old game of painted squares on the floor where you jump one-legged. Dozens of jump roping students test their skills and try to best their high scores.

"Then we have our tinikling," says VanDyke. Tinikling is two people on the floor holding long poles lengthwise on the ground, tapping the poles together to the beat as others jump in between them.

The reason for all the jumping has to do with the health benefits. According to Livestrong.com, a 100 pound person jump roping for an hour can burn 500 calories. A 200 pound person can burn up to 1,000 calories.

"Jumping is one of the best cardiovascular workouts we have," says VanDyke.

The students spent the hour getting fit, and it looked like they were just having fun.

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