Do you like to bounce? As adults, you would probably answer no. But when you were a kid, I bet your answer would have been different. You would have gotten a big smile on your face and said yes!
I imagine some of you reading this column can remember a day when you had a trampoline for yourself or for your kids. Remember that workout? Your heart rate and breathing rate increased quickly and it didn’t take long to get out of breath. Five minutes of jumping on a trampoline felt like you just worked out for an hour! As a parent, I often hear other parents talk about jumping on their child’s trampoline and quickly realizing they’re out of shape.
I own a large trampoline outside with a large safety net around it. I also own something called a rebounder. A rebounder is a small trampoline for one person that can easily fit in a room in your house. My kids like to jump on the outside trampoline and play ball games on it just for fun almost every day of the year.
Fun? Remember when exercise was fun, not forced? Not repetitively moving because you have to get your steps in for the day, not being a slave to your fitness tracking device and feeling bad because you didn’t accomplish your goal for the day. Yes, fun. Fun is what keeps you motivated to continue on with exercise.
While my kids use the outside trampoline (I sometimes jump on it also), I often use the rebounder in the house to add variety to my exercise routine. I jump on it. I also do a lot of running on it. There’s many benefits from exercising on a rebounder:
Lower impact aerobic fitness. The flexible mat surface moves with you as you land reducing the impact to your joints. This can help reduce impact related injuries to your ankles, knees and hips.
Improved balance and coordination. In the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, a 2011 study found that when healthy elderly participants bounced on rebounders (mini trampolines), their balance improved and they were less likely to experience a forward fall. Researchers also found that children improved their motor/movement function and balance by jumping on trampolines.
Convenience. You don’t have to figure out your running route or where you’re going to bike ride. You don’t need to go to the gym or ball courts. You don’t need to wear special exercise clothes. You can do this type of exercise in the privacy of your home anytime.
If you want better mental health, stronger bones, lower impact exercise, increased metabolism, better balance and coordination and a convenient way to exercise, try a rebounder. As with any exercise mode, be safe and use it wisely.
Here’s to you making exercise fun!
Jonathan Souder is the Fitness Director at Manor House, an Acts Retirement-Life Community in Seaford, Delaware. This column appeared in the March 2, 2017 edition of the Seaford Star.