Jump rope, at first glance, is a relatively simple sport. It is an easy exercise to take up, requiring one singular and relatively cheap piece of equipment and a flat surface, which makes it an ideal activity to take up in a pandemic, when restrictions kept most people indoors.
This is around the time when Jump Rope Brunei formed, in March 2020, when the global COVID-19 pandemic was starting to take shape. As the pandemic wore on, the group found more and more members looking for a routine to keep themselves healthy, physically and mentally.
Now they have 150 active members, moving from online meetings to physical face-to-face meet-ups, training together, organising and participating in public events, all with the aim of encouraging more people to join in the deceptively simple sport.
Also known as skipping rope, jump rope is a low-impact activity that can just about be done anywhere, said founder of Jump Rope Brunei Pengiran Adi Samsul bin Pengiran Haji Annuar.
And despite its apparent simplicity, it offers quite a bit of a workout.
“Jump roping for 10 minutes can be equivalent to a three-kilometre jog,” he said.
It can also be a rather complex sport, with experts weaving in tricks with the rope on each jump.
Among the group, “Many of the tricks are self-learnt from mimicking videos of jump ropers from across the world and are passed around within the community,” said Pengiran Adi Samsul. The group has since formed links with other Jump Rope communities from across the world, including Malaysia, the United States and the United Kingdom.
“We did not expect that many who joined in our group’s activities were able to quickly pick up on the skills and stamina needed to perform the many tricks in jump roping. This is something that we are very proud of,” he said.
Jump rope is an all-age sport, said Pengiran Adi Samsul, ranging from children as young as seven years old and adults already in their 50s.
While it isn’t a high impact activity, the group nevertheless advised people who are just starting out to take it easy.
“While there are many who are eager to hone their jump rope skills, especially the children who are learning new tricks.
“It is important to have some rest days in between sessions,” he said, adding that overexertion can lead to increased chance of injury.
Noorshazarienna Baizura binti Azman Irrawady started jumping rope a year ago, around the time of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Brunei.
“It’s easy to get into while juggling working from home and taking care of my children,” she said. “At first, it was hard. even just jumping for around 10 minutes can make your whole body feel tired.
“But over time, as your body builds up stamina and strength, you get used to it,” said Noorshazarienna. “Now I am confident that I can jump for close to an hour.
“For parents like us who might not have the time to go out to jog and run, jumping rope is a good alternative activity,” she said.
“It not only helps strengthen the core leg strength but also as a whole body workout.”
She also encourages people who are looking for new sporting activities to keep fit, not to overlook the potential of jump rope.
“All it takes is a simple rope, and anyone can easily start. There are a lot of groups such as Jump Rope Brunei as well as tutorials online where people can learn from.”