There are lots of reasons to be skipping for joy at the moment. Spring is almost here, there's Easter eggs in the shops and we're coming up to a nice long Bank Holiday.

But the biggest reason of all is that March 18 is National Skipping Day; the day we all remember the simple childhood joy of jumping over a bit of rope.

It’s not just joyous though; it’s brilliantly healthy too, burning calories, toning all sorts of muscles and even given your brain a work out thanks to all that co-ordination. In fact, it’s so good for you that fitness experts are predicting it’ll be the fitness craze of 2015.

Which makes you wonder about other retro games. Maybe we don’t need yoga in hammocks or bikram ballet classes after all – all we need to do is to re-embrace our childhood.

Master trainers and ambassadors for Fitness First analyse the best old-school ways of getting fit…


“Traditionally seen as something we did in the school playground, skipping is a great way to burn calories and lots of athletes use it to help them train including boxers and you’ll now find skipping ropes in lots of gym classes,” says Simon Cowen.

“It’s a high-intensity exercise and low impact on joints. Depending on your weight and exertion level can burn between 70-100 calories in a 10-minute session!”

British Bulldog

“A traditional playground game, British Bulldog incorporates lots of elements similar to that found in rugby,” says Myles Hopper.

“You need to have a quick reaction time, good acceleration and sustained top speed to evade other players.

Due to the constant stop/start nature of the game it bears similarities to interval training, using both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems.

“You can also improve your agility as you change direction trying to avoid other players, again mimicking phases rugby when trying to avoid the oppositions grasp.”

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Hula hooping

“Hula hooping is a personal favourite, and the weighted hula hoop is much easier to use, allowing you to pick up technique easily,” explains Amanda O’Hare.

“A great tummy toner as you brace your core throughout, by changing foot and hand position you can change where you work and by varying your pace you can alter the intensity.”


“Hopscotch allows you to work on your balance, helping with joint and core stability. Add some sandbells into the mix by throwing them to one of the squares and picking it up for more of a challenge,” advises O’Hare.

Duck duck goose

“A great way to introduce a little bit of team spirit into your work out,” O’Hare suggests. “The stop/start nature of the game and direction change is a fun way to introduce some interval training with a difference to your workouts! Interval training is great for improving your fitness levels and increase fat loss.”

What schoolyard games could you build into your workout regime? Let us know in the Comments section below.