Age is Just a Number: Chicago-based 40+ Double Dutch Club takes the world by storm
CHICAGO - It’s an international club where jumping for joy is a prerequisite. But there’s one rule: you must be over 40 to join.
It’s an adrenaline rush. As the ropes hit the floor, anticipation builds.
"I grew up on the South Side of Chicago. Back then, you didn't have video games, so what you did is you jumped rope. You jumped in the alleys. You jumped in the street. Whoever had the ropes you did it. We used clothesline," said Sanya Wiggs, who was a first-timer at a Forty Plus Double Dutch meet-up in Markham.
"When you finally get to jump, it’s just a wonderful feeling. You feel like you've conquered the world, you know," said 88-year-old club member Joyce Patlak.
It’s a movement that began in Chicago, seven years ago, founded by friends Pamela Robinson and Catrina Dyer-Taylor.
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"And Katrina said, well you can post it on Facebook, but if nobody else comes out we'll tie the rope to the fence and we will jump together. But we never had to tie the rope to the fence," Robinson said as she reminisces about the club’s beginnings.
The ropes are now turning international, with 100 "sub clubs" across the globe.
Sixty-three-year-old Wiggs is visiting from California.
"You can feel that people are jumping away their stress. You can feel that people are jumping because they love it, and they did it from long ago," she said as she watches a gymnasium full of women having fun.
Each of them wears a number on the back of their club shirt. That number is their age.
"They're coming out to connect with other women, to fellowship, to laugh, to play, just to be kids again," said Robinson.
The club is free and open to every woman over the age of forty.
"This is our opportunity to set aside some time for self-care to help improve our physical health, our mental health, our spiritual health, and we're having fun while we're doing it," said Robinson.
To find a 40 Plus Double Dutch Club near you, visit www.40plusdoubledutchclub.org