For Emily Brasel, fitness has always been a priority, beginning with high school sports. As she got older, she faced a common issue among women — weight gain and lack of time to stay as active as she had been. In February 2015, Emily found an exercise that was as fun as it was effective, and she was hooked.
Jump-rope fitness might bring to mind images of middle school gym class, but scour Instagram and you will find quick footwork set to popular songs and classes full of men and women completing jump-rope circuits.
“It’s like dancing, you put on headphones and have fun with it,” she said. “It’s excellent cardio.”
Jump-roping routines can be tailored to focus on multiple muscle groups and require intense focus. Like pilates, it simultaneously encourages strength and balance.
“I think it’s really important for someone trying to get fit that they find something that they enjoy,” she said. “When I was first trying to get in shape, I would run three miles on the treadmill three times a week. I was miserable and I couldn’t lose weight. I dreaded every time I went to the gym. Now, even on an off day, I sometimes decide I want to go and jump rope.”
Emily finds herself drawn to anything considered “functional fitness,” or using common movements to train muscles. She is especially interested in kickboxing and yoga, in addition to jump-roping and dancing. Once she has mastered one move, she sets her mind on a new task.
“What I like about it is that I am challenging myself. I like seeing how far I can push myself with learning new things,” she said. “I’ve seen way more results focusing on achieving physical goals than I did starving myself.”
Now, Emily teaches classes and uses her Instagram page to inspire others to stay active by whatever means they choose. Her message is simple: Find an activity you can build a lifestyle around and fitness will be fun.
Story by Carmen Cristo // Photos and video by Lauren Wood