The benefits of skipping

The last time you skipped anywhere, you may have been wearing pigtails or carrying a superhero lunch box. Indeed, skipping is often thought of as a playground activity reserved for children who still frolic around swing sets and sandboxes.

However skipping, like so many other forms of play, is often left behind with age. As young adults take on more serious forms of exercise such as running. But running may be doing a great deal of harm to the bones, joints, and bodies of people who prefer this form of exercise.

With that in mind, researchers from two universities in North Carolina suggest people who appreciate the cardio activity of running but want to avoid injuries may find skipping is a well-suited activity.

Yes, the same skipping you once enjoyed as a child.

The science

To study the different impacts of skipping and running on the body, researchers at East Carolina University and Appalachian State University worked with 30 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 30, evenly divided between men and women.

Each study participant took part in a training program that taught them how to properly skip for longer distances (up to one mile) while on a laboratory treadmill.

Once the participants were able to do this, the researchers began taking measurements of gait, force, and energy expenditure (that is, how many calories they actually burned).

The study authors found that running produces nearly two times the peak force on the patella or kneecap compared to skipping.

The average peak force on the tibiofemoral joint (the knee hinge where the femur, tibia, and patella meet) is 30 percent greater in people who run compared to people who skip.

What’s more, skipping allows for a greater calorie burn. Skippers burn 30 percent more calories than runners, the study found.

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