Break Out The Jump Ropes: Double Dutch Used As Therapy
More and more adult women (and men) are getting back into doing what they used to do as kids: double dutch. Now that they are older it’s more than just something to pass the time: it’s therapy.
Antoinette Marshall, a 41-year-old single mother of three who drives a school bus, has taken up Double Dutch again. A couple of nights a week, she meets up with other women from around the city to simply jump rope. They gather each Wednesday evening or host pop-up gatherings in Philly.
At these gatherings, there’s no agenda other than to jump rope like a bunch of school girls.
The activity and camaraderie of jumping rope with other women has helped Marshall deal with the loss of her brother, her painful break-up recently and even the everyday stress of being a working single mom.
“It’s therapy for me because if I didn’t have that, I would explode,” Marshall explained to DailyNews. “I have a temper and I’m trying to deal with it in the best way I can.”
Mental health professional, Dr. Jeremiah Clemency agrees with the health benefits of double dutch. He says jumping rope is beneficial mostly for fluency. Fluency is part of motor praxis (meaning “planning”) and is basically the ability to keep a steady pace and rhythm. It can be seen in reading fluency, math fluency, and even fluency in independent working pace. Jumping rope is especially helpful for children with ADD/ADHD.
Fluency is an executive function of the brain, meaning that it is a high level skill. Jumping rope helps with academic skills, timing, sensory processing and motor coordination.
Take a look at actress and host Tamera Mowry getting back in jumping rope too:
All physical exercise is good for the brain. But when you combine both physical and mental demands (like ballroom dancing or jumping double dutch), they have higher impacts on cognitive functioning than exercise tasks alone (like the treadmill or stationary bike). Because you are coordinating your steps with timing and trying to sing on beat, jumping double dutch is one of the very best workouts for brain health. All of it involves coordination, rhythm, and strategy.
Jumping aids in the development of the right and left hemispheres of your brain, that further improves reading skills, enhances memory and makes you more mentally alert. Jumping on the balls of your feet requires your mind and body to make neural muscular adjustments to imbalances created from continuous jumping.
Taking it a step further, think about boxers. Boxers in the ring who jump rope actually are calmer overall than those who don’t. Here’s why: