It costs less than $15, fits in your briefcase and is easy enough for a child to use.

The skipping rope has long been considered "a kids toy” — but now more professional athletes in a variety of sports, particularly tennis and basketball, are jumping rope as part of their fitness workouts — for the same reason boxers have "skipped it" for years.

An unparalleled all-around workout, rope jumping strengthens the heart, muscles and bones, promotes leanness and improves agility, coordination, timing, rhythm and explosive power on both sides of the body.

Skipping for 10 minutes has the same benefits as a 45 minute hard run. In fact one hour of skipping can burn up to 1300 calories! More than the average female consumes in one day!

Also if you are really trying to get toned abs, then learning to jump rope will help. Your core really gets worked hard because your abs are constantly working to stabilize your body as you jump.

Additionally, jumping rope will help release your fat burning hormone (HGH). HGH is a hormone that your body releases naturally. Increasing your levels of HGH in your body is your quickest route to burning fat. A proven way to increase HGH levels is to alternate high intensity cardio for 30 seconds followed by up to a minute of recovery time. This is called High Intensity Interval Training.

Rope Jumping Tips:

  • Be sure your rope is the right length. When you step in the center, the handles should just reach your armpits.
  • Wear a good pair of aerobic or cross-training shoes.
  • Jump to music that has 120 to 135 beats per minute.
  • Avoid concrete or hard tiles and jump on wooden floors, rubber tiles or low-nap carpeting.
  • Keep shoulders relaxed and elbows in close to your body.
  • Don't jump too high — unless you're doing tricks. And turn the rope with your wrists, not your arms.
  • Warm up with 5 to 10 minutes of light activity, then stretch gently before jumping.
  • If you've been sedentary and you're a man over 40 or a woman over 50, check with your doctor before beginning any vigorous activity.
  • Start by alternating brief periods of jumping with resting moves, such as turning the rope alongside your body without jumping. Over time, do fewer resting moves and more jumping. Your goal is to jump continuously for at least 15 minutes.