Nicki's fitness tip: Start skipping

Skipping is an excellent cardiovascular workout targeting the calves, thighs, bottom and shoulders, helping to keep these areas toned. It's cheap, fun, you can do it anywhere, and it really blasts calories.

Before you start

Adjust the rope for height. Stand on the centre of the rope and lift the handles up - the point where the handles meet the rope should be level with your armpits. Some ropes allow you to cut them down to size but if not just tie knots near the handles instead. (You can skip without a rope, but it's much better to use one).

Wear soft-soled shoes and jump on softer surfaces where possible (e.g. grass, carpet or wooden floor rather than a concrete pavement).

Beginners

Skipping technique

  1. Stand tall but relaxed – breathing naturally
  2. Keep your elbows at waist level with your arms extended sideways at about a 90 degree angle
  3. Use a circular wrist motion to turn the rope
  4. Hold the rope loosely, using thumb and index finder for control
  5. Jump on the balls of your feet landing softly
  6. Jump just high enough for the rope to pass under your feet

Sixty to seventy turns per minute is a good starting pace (roughly 1 turn per second). You'll be amazed how long just 20–30 seconds feels, so begin slowly and build up two to three minutes for a short, intense workout.