Health & Fitness

Why just walk when you can 'bock'?

Strap your feet to a pair of spring-loaded stilts, find yourself a big open space and you, too, can do a superhero imitation. The activity is called "bocking," a corruption of the last name of German inventor Alexander Boeck, and the stilts purportedly help users leap up to six feet, run as fast as 20 mph and take nine-foot strides.

The stilts (called powerskips, powerisers, fly jumpers or power stilts, depending on maker) are popular in Europe, says Dane Finch of Export Hub, which sells them for $300 to $500. It's just like walking with longer legs, Finch says. "You've got to get used to ... taking longer strides" -- something he says takes about 10 minutes.

Some companies market the stilts strictly as diversions, others as fitness devices. Some YouTube videos suggest ample protection -- helmets, elbow pads, knee and wrist guards -- would be a smart idea.