Trampoline bouncing fun!



When I first arrived in Australia to settle, I was surprised at how many people had a trampoline in their backyard for the kids to play on.  Growing up in the UK, my memories of trampolines are either at my gymnastics club, or in school.  When we had them out to use at school, we always had to have a 'spotter' on each side of the trampoline - somebody to stand there and catch you if you fell off! 
So what about the safety factor in your own backyard?  Many trampolines have nets surrounding them, but there are still plenty that don't.  I suppose kids who have a trampoline learn to bounce and balance when they play on them. I'm sure they don't want to fall off them, just as they don't want to fall off a slide, or a tree they have climbed.  Sure there are accidents, but there always will be.


My kids sometimes ask if we can get a trampoline for our garden.  My feeling is that we have a swimming pool, and space to run around - you can't have everything!  However, this Christmas just past, I did get a mini re-bounder trampoline for inside - for me to exercise on, but also for the kids to play on.  I was spurred into asking for one after reading up on the benefits of bouncing on a trampoline. My goodness, they are a wonder - and if all the stories are to be believed, the best tool available for improving all aspects of your life!

Even NASA has gotten in on the act, with research they did showing bouncing on a trampoline to be better exercise than running on a treadmill!  Well, if it's good enough for astronauts, then it's good enough for me!


Where to start...
Firstly, bouncing on a trampoline is FUN!  We all love to bounce, who was
told off as a kid for bouncing on their bed?  And go on, admit it, given the chance you'd love to bounce on a trampoline as an adult.

When my girls were younger, I took them to the local gymnastics club for Kindy Gym classes.  This was a fun hour of using the gymnastics equipment, music and various props to encourage their motor skills and social development.  All the kids loved it - it was kind of like a huge park for them with things to climb, swing and bounce on.  When the kids were really small, the mums and dads had to climb up onto the full size trampolines to bounce with them.  As the kids grew older and more able and confident to bounce by themselves, you would often see the parents (me included) hopping up for a quick bounce by themselves after their child had finished..  Everyone came off with a smile, even if the consensus was that we all had more wobbly bits now than when we were kids!  The point was, we all still wanted to have fun and bounce on the trampoline!


Exercise

As a form of exercise, bouncing on a trampoline has to be good. It certainly gets your heart pumping and is very low impact on your bones and joints thanks to the gentle give of the trampoline as you land.  Anything that gets your heart pumping, increases the blood flow to your brain and other parts of your body, helping things work more efficiently, has to be good news.

What's so special about bouncing, is the effect of the increased G-force on your entire body.
If you think of lifting weights as an example.  You are lifting them against gravity, working specific muscle groups in doing so. When you bounce on a trampoline, your whole body is moving up and down, and literally every cell feels the pressure of the increased gravity or G-force, and as a result grows stronger. 


Health

Not only does the G-force pressure strengthen your body cells, but it also helps the functioning of the lymphatic system by alternating pressure and no pressure on the cells, which encourages the movement of nutrients in, and toxins out.  Our lymphatic system is what drains toxins away from our cells, and since the main lymphatic channels run up and down our legs, arms and torso, the vertical movement of bouncing on a trampoline, encourages the flow of lymph.  Since the lymphatic system is not connected to the heart, it relies on movement to function. Bouncing on a trampoline seems to be an extremely well suited movement to stimulate this vital process!



Brain

Another great thing about bouncing is that both sides of your brain are working together to keep your balance and co-ordination.  This helps to improve motor skills.
  Anything that stimulates both sides of our brain at the same time is a good thing.  Just like any physical exercise you do, you always do the exercise with both your right and left side, so the muscles develop evenly.  So it should be with your brain!



Eyes

Bouncing on a trampoline is also an excellent workout for your eye muscles, as they continually have to work to remain focussed as your body is in constant motion.  The eye's ability to focus on and follow objects - eye tracking, is a vital skill, at the base of literacy.  In order to read, we must be able to track the words across the page.  Eye tracking is one activity that is practised in some schools, to encourage muscle development and a good start in early literacy.  At my daughter's school, one activity in their Perceptual Motor Program in the preparatory year, involves students lying on their backs on a mat, following a swinging ball above their heads - this improves their eye muscles and eye tracking skills.



Are you convinced yet?  Have you rushed out to buy a trampoline?
There are endless articles available about the various possible health benefits of bouncing on a trampoline - from fighting depression, to assisting in the treatment of Parkinsons disease.

In terms of my needs, I see it as a fun way to keep fit, and stay healthy.  It seems to me to be a tool to help develop the whole body and mind!
I have my mini re-bounder on the floor in our lounge, and my girls can't help but bounce on it every time they walk past it.  They even bounce on it when they watch TV! (which has got to be better than just sitting motionless on the sofa!)


I'm curious about the rhythmical aspect of bouncing.  Skipping, or jumping rope, has a whole heap of rhymes and songs that complement the activity - surely the same could be done for the trampoline.  Can that rhythm be used as a learning method?  Study sessions on the trampoline could be a lot of fun!


Well I'm convinced, but what about you?  Do you own a trampoline?  Is it just for your kids, or do you use it too?  Do you buy into all these benefits or do you think it's just another fad, aimed at getting you to spend your money on yet another piece of exercise equipment or toy for your children?




4 comments:

  1. Hi Jill

    I am most definitely a believer in the benefits of trampolines.

    As the mother of three children with vestibular and proprioceptive sensory disorders I have used a trampoline as an effective therapy tool for years.

    The repetative bouncing does (when used regularly) help the body learn to read the impulses from the inner ear (vestibluar) and muscles and ligaments (proprioceptive) it is also very theraputic for chilren on the Autistic spectrum and can infact help them to reduce anxiety and focus more clearly.

    Many classrooms now have these mini trampolines available for chilren with special needs.

    Michelle :-)

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  2. We have a trampoline and love it!

    Following back. Thanks so much!

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  3. We had a trampoline when my kids were young and they LOVED it - all three would go out in the afternoon and bounce for hours or just sit and talk. My mom had a little one several years ago and she would jog in the evening - a much better option than running outdoors in the heat. You've got me thinking about buying one for myself.

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  4. I used to have one growing up and I LOVED it! Would love for you to HOP on by!

    xo - jami
    i m a g i n e

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