live it active

Wednesday’s Workout Tip: Start Skipping

Can’t fit a full workout in, but want to get a good sweat going? Grab a skipping rope.

In the early 1990s a group of researchers compiled a list of physical activities and their associated intensities. While there are some serious limitations to the Compendium of Physical Activity (its formal name) it provides a general idea of the metabolic cost of a number of physical, occupational, and leisure time activities.

If you skip at a fairly high-intensity (you would not be able to hold a conversation) for 10 minutes and weighed approximately 62 kg, you would burn about 124 kcals. How do I know that? I used the following formula:

(Intensity (METs) x body weight (kg)) x (duration (min)/60 minutes)

What are METs? METs or metabolic equivalents are a measure of intensity and can be converted to a more understandable unit of energy expenditure – calories. 1 MET is what we are burning at rest and is equivalent to 3.5 ml oxygen/kg of body weight (how much oxygen we consume gives an indication of our energy expenditure). 

From the Compendium of Physical Activity high-, moderate-, and low-intensity skipping are associated with an intensity of 12, 10, and 8 METs, respectively. Note: during low-intensity skipping you would be able to carry on a conversation.

OK let’s run through one more example:

Your weight is approximately 50 kg and skip for 15 minutes at a moderate-intensity.

=(10 METs x 50 kg) x (15 min/60 min)

= 125 kcals OR 8.3 kcal/min  

It’s amazing what you can accomplish in such a short period of time. Skipping ropes are inexpensive, portable, and provide excellent calorie burns in a short period of time.

Happy skipping!


Ainsworth et al. 1993. Compendium of physical activities: classification of energy costs of human physical activities. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise: 25(1);71-80.

Picture courtesy of Caza_N0_7, Flickr


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