HOUSTON — On a dry day, you’ll find Jhon Ortiz outside. On a mat. With his rope. Jumping.
"Love jumping outside," he comments as he swings the rope under his feet.
He didn’t always, though. Ortiz's passion for jumping rope started when something caught his eye at the University of Houston-Downtown gym, where he’s a trainer.
"A guy was doing side swings," Ortiz says as he demonstrates.
The moves looked like a challenge to him, a whole new way of jumping rope.
"That happened a year ago and ever since then, I’ve been practicing, practicing and I’ve been developing other stuff too," says Ortiz.
As he gains skills and learned new sequences, he shares videos on social media, where there’s a whole audience for that kind of stuff.
"Jump rope searches have jumped 75 percent," Ortiz points out.
As a trainer, he says jumping rope is a great workout.
"You burn about 800 calories in 30 minutes," says Ortiz, adding that a jump rope is portable, so you can take it anywhere.
On top of that, he says it’s not as intimidating as it might look. His suggestion: start with a basic bounce for 10 to 20 seconds. Rest for a bit, then repeat for about 10 minutes. As you get used to the workout, add time. That's how Ortiz started.
"A year ago, I was actually 50 pounds heavier," he says proudly.
But weight loss is only one of the benefits of picking up a jump rope. You gain coordination, agility, spatial awareness, endurance, bone density and even improved posture.
So if you’re looking for a way to hop into 2021 a little lighter, grab a rope and maybe check out Ortiz on Instagram for inspiration.
"It just becomes fun," he laughs. "Since it’s fun, I lose track of time."