Trampolines are synonymous with fun, and they continue to be a favourite backyard attraction with children all over the world. However, adults don’t need to miss out on all the fun and the side-benefits – you may consider a trampoline to be a toy, but it can actually be an effective piece of fitness equipment.
Jumping is a fundamental movement that has many physical benefits. To start with, trampolining is an excellent activity for cardiovascular exercise, as the constant jumping gets your heart rate up.
The heart is not the only thing that benefits from a good jumping session on the trampoline. Bones can actually increase in density as a result of the minor stresses placed on them while jumping. In addition to this, your muscles also benefit at the same time – leg muscles get stronger from the jumping contractions, and you can also increase your muscle stamina as a result of the regular contractions.
The abdominal muscles are another beneficiary of a trampoline jumping routine as the jumping motion requires you to contract your stomach muscles, in time with the push off with your legs (this also tones your buttocks).
Jumping on a trampoline stimulates blood flow throughout your entire body. This results in better circulation and a greater flow of oxygen, which improves your energy levels and can even lift your mood. The release of endorphins (or feel good chemicals) can beat stress, anxiety, and even depression.
Bouncing on a trampoline actually stimulates your lymphatic system, as it emulates the drainage function, removing toxins from your cells.
Finally, rhythmic jumping requires you to utilise your motor skills to coordinate movements. This can help your coordination skills, improving cognitive function and mental alertness.
There are a number of exercise routines that you can do on your trampoline, and you can even customise your own workouts. The first thing to do is play some music to help motivate you and keep your rhythm whilst exercising. And it’s always important to warm up before diving straight into a routine. This can be done by some light bouncing on the trampoline, moving into a very light stationary jog. As your body becomes warmer, you can then start increasing the force with which you jump, paying particular attention to the contraction of your leg and abdominal muscles.
Mastering the basic movement of bouncing at the same speed and height for a set amount of time may sound easy, but it’s really not. This is a great place to start your trampoline exercise routine.
Once you have mastered the bounce movement, incorporate some high knees or knee touches (also referred to as tucks) with each jump. Be careful that you don’t push off from the trampoline with too much force, as this could destabilise you and cause you to fall.
Star jumps are a classic move when on a trampoline, but the exercise benefits of this move cannot be ignored. Not only are you getting your arms involved in the work out, but you are stretching out all of your leg muscles at the same time.
30-60 minutes of this at least three times per week can provide you with a moderate to high intensity workout, and have you on your way to toning and improving your overall fitness.
While we may never have considered the humble trampoline to be a serious tool for health and wellbeing, there is plenty of evidence to show otherwise. The next time you see the kids playing on the trampoline, think about how incorporating some jumping into your life could improve your fitness, mood, and even help you lose weight.
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