The John Tung Foundation yesterday encouraged parents and children to jump rope frequently as a way of combating depression and improving their health.
Foundation president Yau Sea-wain (姚思遠) said a survey it conducted on teenagers in 2004 found that people who said they had a bad relationship with their parents also tended to have more serious problems with depression, while a survey conducted in the US showed that parents’ levels of exercise related to exercise levels of their children.
The foundation also cited research by National Yang-Ming University that said that elementary-school children who jumped rope for 30 minutes a day for 20 weeks had enhanced nervous systems and improved learning abilities.
The foundation began working with five elementary schools last year to promote jump rope activities, and participating students have jumped rope more than 163 million times in only few months, it said, adding that exercise had improved some of the children’s physical and mental health.
The foundation said a mother of a student surnamed Huang (黃) told them that since she and her son started jumping rope every day, her son has grown several centimeters and did not have any sick days during the semester, while in the past he had needed 10 sick-leave days per semester.
Huang told the foundation that he gradually progressed from just jumping one jump at a time to jumping continuously several times, and this had given him greater confidence.
Chan Chia-chen (詹佳真), a physician at Taipei City Hospital’s Chung-Hsing Branch, said that when children receive encouragement from others for small improvements, they gain self-confidence and continue to improve themselves, leading to a positive cycle that also helps them deal with difficulties.
She said that if parents can accompany and support their children in these activities, family dynamics could improve and help stabilize the children’s emotions.
The foundation said a survey it conducted in 2011 found that up to 92.7 percent of students said they would be more willing to exercise if they were invited to do it with friends or family.