Urban Rebounding: An Essay
Posted on May 22, 2012 by deanna
Urban rebounding. “Are you serious?” was my thought when Jessie (best friend) suggested we take this group exercise class together. We’ve been at it for the past ten months, but stepping onto that dangerous plane of synthetic black took a medium amount of arm-pulling.
It had something to do with the last time I was on a trampoline, the summer before 9th grade. I was babysitting two neighborhood kids and thought of myself a hip babysitter. You know, the ones who play pretend and hold a similar, if not greater, enthusiasm for whatever the adventure.
They had a giant trampoline in the back yard, and as noon rolled around and lunch settled into our stomachs, we headed outside for a bounce. Jumping up and down is only entertaining for an inch of time. We often needed a set of arbitrary rules or invisible obstacles, like lava, so we could jump with purpose.
On this particular day, we decided that jumping, landing on our butts, and landing back on our feet from the butt-bounce would be amusing for everyone. In the interest of safety, only one person could perform this combination at a time. We didn’t want any unpleasantries.
It was my turn, I executed the moves with ease, and felt so good, I decided to throw in an extra bounce because why not? I was in charge! It was the highest yet! It was unnecessary and flamboyant! I was soaring! Little Johnny* decided to break stride and start before I landed, pushing the horizon of the trampoline down to an unexpected depth. There was a loud crack. There was a crack and there was pain. I could not get up. The two bewildered children, four and eight respectively, looked on in what seemed to be a combination of pity and disdain. I broke my ankle. They ran to get the neighbor. I was not paid that day.
Back to the present adult trampoline dilemma. I did not want to take the class based on the aforementioned life experience and could only vaguely conceive of what to expect. Lucky you, now I can tell you what to expect.
What to expect:
You will bounce on a trampoline, a tiny one, built for a single person, to dance music—anything with an energetic, consistent beat. Our instructor prefers the current sirens of pop. Maybe yours will not.
While bouncing, you must execute a series of moves, most of which are heavily influenced by a combination of martial arts that I don’t understand. Kicking, punching, blocking, sometimes, all at once. It’s structured and very unlike the trampoline aesthetic of most children. Although, there is a little room for freestyle, an approach favored by Frances*, the red-haired woman of nearly seventy often seen in red lipstick, a bright pink unitard, and geometrically patterned tights. She’s my favorite.
It lasts for forty-five minutes. The longest forty-five minutes of your life.
After the first class, I thought, “I will NEVER go back.” Really. It is one of the craziest exercise shticks I’ve attempted and probably the most embarrassing because it acutely highlighted my lack of coordination and rhythm in a very public way. Every class has a front row of trampoline superstars who bounce and kick without effort in their stylish gym outfits and perfect ponytails. YOU KNOW what kind of ponytails I’m talking about. They probably do aerial silks in their spare time.
However, my friend possesses a level of masochism that I admire, so we went BACK. And it was…easier! Not much, just a little, but enough to go back the next week. And the next month. And soon, outside of this gym space, I found myself humming “Disturbia” waiting in line at the bank. Singing the “Party Rock Anthem” under my breath in a way that could convince other patrons at the neighborhood organic/local/grassfed/alterna cafe that I LIKE this song. And I do. It reminds me of the strange new feelings I have while bouncing (see image above to achieve a similar feelings). You’re welcome.
*Name changed to protect real people from the Internet.
If you’re not totally convinced to try a trampoline, maybe this will help. Trampolining has several benefits that far outweigh many of its shortcomings. I’ve put together a short list of the top 10 reasons to use a trampoline regardless of your age.
Reason/Benefit 1 – Trampolines Encourage Play.
In the world of technology, our kids are more dependent on video games, social media, cell phones, texting, television, etc. As a result, less kids are playing traditional outdoor games, riding their bikes, swimming, or even walking.
Trampolines stimulate play, making activities fun again. They are a welcome distraction you don’t have to force them to do, unlike a boring, undesirable chore.
Reason/Benefit 2 – Trampolines Reduce Restlessness and Alleviate Stress.
Restlessness, or the inability to relax (be still or sleep) affects people of all ages. This can be caused by anything — drinking too much caffeine, stress, physical pain, you name it.
For kids with ADHD, bouncing helps redirect energy and work out restlessness. Exercise also improves our overall sleep quality over time, according to The US National Library of Medicine. Because bouncing is a form of exercise, you can actually reduce insomnia by trampolining.
Reason/Benefit 3 – Rebounding Improves the Lymphatic System to Keep Your Healthier.
The lymphatic system works with your body’s immune system, defending it against infections. Sometimes, the system needs a little help, and this is where rebounding comes in. The up-and-down motion caused by jumping on a trampoline can help.
As you bounce, the fluids in your lymphatic system move with you. With only 10 minutes of rebounding, you can promote proper body circulation and move toxins naturally from the lymph ducts to the liver to the kidney and eventually out of your body.
Reason/Benefit 4 – Trampolines Keep You Younger Longer.
Trampolines slow down the aging process caused by the gravitational pull, counteracting the sag that often comes with aging.
As you propel upward and reach the height of your bounce, you’re weightless. Then as you decelerate and reach the bottom of your bounce (the mat), the gravitational force increases, strengthening your muscles, cells and bones in the process. The result is a firmer, tighter you on the outside and a healthier, younger you on the inside.
Reason/Benefit 5 – Rebounding is Safe on the Joints.
Rebounding is comparative to high-impact activities, such as jogging. However, unlike jogging, rebounding on a soft-bounce, high-quality rebounder provides a low-impact exercise that is safe on the joints.
In fact, rebounding can actually rehabilitate joint and soft-tissue injuries, relieving back, neck and knee pain over time. Unlike jogging, it also absorbs a majority of the impact from your bounce (up to 80%), further reducing joint problems.
Reason/Benefit 6 – Trampolines Strengthen Your Heart and Lungs.
A sedentary lifestyle increases cardiovascular disease, leading to all sorts of heart problems. If you’re looking for a great exercise that keeps your heart healthy and strengthens your lungs, a trampoline is it.
Like walking, jogging and cycling, trampolining is aerobic in nature and works with your cardiovascular system, decreasing your heart rate and blood pressure. Studies show that 20 to 30 minutes, four times a week, does the job. In fact, when compared to other exercises, you can gain these benefits in as little of 10 minutes.
Trampoline exercises, such as knee raises and jumping jacks, really get your heart pumping and increase your pulse rate, allowing you to pump oxygen throughout your body more efficiently.
Reason/Benefit 7 – Trampolines Strengthen Your Muscles.
Muscle toning gives your body definition, making it look tighter throughout. By using a trampoline, you can target specific muscle groups in your body, depending on your position. As with other muscle-toning exercises, a lean, well-balanced diet is vital.
As you strengthen your muscles, you slow down muscle loss as you age to reduce the risk of injury. An added benefit to building your muscles is improved metabolism.
Trampolines tone your muscles naturally without the impact of floor routines. You can even diversify your workout for added muscle-toning by adding light weights or simple routines to tone a specific area. To strengthen your upper thigh muscles, for example, try bouncing up and down on one leg, and then repeat this action on the opposite leg.
Reason/Benefit 8 – Trampolines Improve Your Balance.
Jumping on a trampoline helps with your overall balance and coordination, which is important for people of all ages.
When your child jumps on a trampoline, they automatically focus their attention on an ever-changing landing position. This activity, not only improves their balance, but builds their motor skills as well. These motor skills, in turn, filter into other aspects of life, improving your child’s learning, reading and day-to-day activities.
Trampolines are not only great for kids, but grownups too. As we age, our motor skills begin to deteriorate, making it harder to maintain our balance. Rebounding stimulates the joint receptors for improved stability, minimizing fall and injury.
Reason/Benefit 9 – Trampolines Help with Weight Loss.
As with other forms of exercise, a well-balanced diet and regular trampolining can help with weight loss and weight maintenance.
JumpSport, a popular trampoline manufacturer, states that with only 12 minutes of rebounding, a 150-pound person can burn 82 calories. When compared to other exercises, that same person burns 71 calories after 12 minutes of jogging at the rate of 5 miles per hour.
As an added benefit, your weight loss doesn’t stop once you stop trampolining. You continue to burn calories hours later.
Reason/Benefit 10 – Trampolines Reduce Cellulite.
Studies show that about 90% of women and 10% of men are affected by cellulite (the lumpy substance that resembles dimples on the skin). Cellulite not only affects those over 30, but some teenagers as well, regardless of size.
While we can’t completely remove cellulite with diet, exercise or body wraps, we can reduce these fat cells through exercise, particularly by trampolining. A trampoline is effective because it helps you burn fat and build muscle, which in turn reduce the areas that tend to get cellulite.