As children, we skip in play; we skip in dance; we skip just because. So why don't most adults skip? Probably for the same reasons we stop giggling, staying in awe of life's simple pleasures, and daring to try new things.
I skipped as an adult for the first time at the age of 30 when a friend spontaneously leapt down the street in front me and invited me to join along. I hadn't skipped since I was a kid and was so inspired by the experience that I ultimately decided to see if I could use the Internet to kickstart a skipping craze.
I created iSkip.com in 1999, when the world wide web was exciting and new. When People, CNN, Time, and every major fitness magazine reported on my quest, kindred skipping spirits from all over the world began contacting me through the website. Many had already been skipping for years. Others called themselves "closet skippers" and thanked me for giving them permission to skip in public. iSkip quickly became what it remains today - an information source and gathering place for people all over the world who enjoy a good skip.
While I could go on and on about the positive impact having a regular skipping practice has had on my life, the bottom line is that it is the most fun and uplifting way I've ever found to be fully present in the moment. It integrates body, mind, and spirit in numerous ways:
1. It's great physical exercise. Skipping burns twice as many calories as walking, has less impact on your joints than running, and is a lot more fun! Some people skip for long distances, and others simply incorporate 10 or so skips at a time into their walking routine to raise their heart rate. It's really fun on the treadmill too. There's nothing better than happily skipping to your heart's content at the gym with two serious runners pounding away on either side of you.
2. It makes the world a happier place. Skipping infuses your entire being with joy and inevitably brings a smile to the faces of those who see you do it.
3. It makes you feel like a kid again. Skipping automatically connects us with spontaneous, creative, childlike energy. It energizes our dreams and our imagination. It's a great way to experience the many benefits of play.
4. It connects you with the voice in your heart. Skipping gets your inner critic out of the way so your joyful spirit is free to shine. Even after years of skipping, my inner critic often still says things like, "Don't skip here! What will people think?" And the voice in my heart retorts even more loudly, "But I love to skip, let's go!" When we consciously choose to honor the voice in our heart, it grows stronger, and when we are connected to that voice, anything is possible.
For most people, skipping is a lot like riding a bike, in that it comes back to them even it has been years .
Here are some skip tips to keep in mind as you set out to put a bounce in your step more often:
1. Stay Low and Go Slow - Resist the urge to bounce high into the air. Start with easy, low-to-the-ground skips. Too much impact can be jarring to the adult body, so take it easy until you learn your body's limits.
2. Take it Easy - There is no need to skip for miles, although there are people out there who do. Instead, try blending short skipping intervals into walking and/or running routines, especially when you are first starting out.
3. Soften Your Landing - It is best to wear good running, cross training, or dance sneakers to help absorb impact. Skipping on dirt or grass is easier on your body than skipping on concrete.
4. Don't Worry, Be Happy - The most important thing to remember is that skipping is fun and uplifting by nature! The best measure of a good skipping workout is not distance, speed, or loft...rather, it's the quality of presence, freedom, and/or glee experienced in each moment that has the power to turn a good skip into a great one.