The Benefits of Home-Based Rebounding Exercise

Why You Should Get a Mini Trampoline Now

Adults could take a cue or two from kids when it comes to getting active. Just watch young children playing at a park and you'll see them run, jump, skip, swing, and dance, embracing and enjoying the experience of human movement.

Adults just don't move the same way. Adults trade running, skipping, and jumping for the more "age-appropriate" walking and sitting, and in the process lose out on a lot of fun and rewarding exercise. Without a clear excuse to take part—like signing up for a race, or joining a new fitness class—you'll rarely see an adult taking the advice of House of Pain's 1992 song "Jump Around," to "Jump up, jump up, and get down!" That's a shame. Jumping is fun and it's a great form of exercise—just two of the many reasons to consider buying a mini-trampoline to start a home-based rebounding exercise program now.

1
Rebounding Is an Easy and Affordable Home-Based Cardio Solution

Rebounding exercise
skynesher/Getty Images

If you don't have a lot of space or money to dedicate to a home-based gym, it can be hard to figure out how to prioritize cardio, especially when the weather prevents outdoor workouts. Treadmills and other cardio machines are expensive, and not everyone likes following exercise DVDs or online streaming classes.

In this respect, rebounding exercise is a no-brainer. Mini-trampolines range in price from less than $100 to roughly $1,000—much less than most cardio machines—and they often come with folding legs or frames that make them easy to store away. Plus, the exercise itself is easy to do on your own without needing to watch or follow a pre-determined exercise program. This means you can pull out your mini-trampoline, turn on your favorite show or podcast, and start hopping.

Rebounding is also more beginner-friendly than other inexpensive forms of cardio, such as jumping rope. You don't have to "catch air" to enjoy a workout; all you have to do is bounce lightly or walk in place to get started.

2
Rebounding Enhances Balance and Coordination

Balance, agility, and coordination are skill-related components of fitness that are critical during athletic pursuits and day-to-day life, especially as you age. One of the most-studied benefits of rebounding exercise is its ability to help improve balance, particularly in an elderly population.

Take, for instance, two separate studies published in 2010 and 2011, that found that regular exercise performed on a mini-trampoline helped improve dynamic balance in elderly individuals, and also improved the ability of study participants to recover their balance during a forward fall. Considering that falls contribute to more than 800,000 hospitalizations and 27,000 deaths each year, particularly to older adults, any exercise program that can help prevent falls is a pretty good thing.

But rebounding isn't just good for enhancing balance in older adults. According to a 2007 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, a six-week program of jumping on a mini-trampoline was every bit as effective as a six-week program of training on a balance disc for improving the balance of athletes recovering from a lateral ankle sprain. Granted, this study looked at a specific population of injured athletes, making it hard to extrapolate results to a broader degree, but at a minimum, it indicates trampolining could be an effective training tool for athletes trying to recover after an injury.

3
Rebounding Helps Develop Stronger Bones

Rebounding probably isn't the first exercise you think of when you want to improve your bone health. High-impact exercises, such as running and weight-bearing exercises, including walking and certain forms of strength-training, are the typical suggestions from doctors when they want you to beef up your bone density. But that doesn't mean rebounding isn't effective. In fact, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science found that young, female trampolinists had greater bone density at the hip and spine, larger bones of the extremities, and greater bone and muscular strength of the lower body than the non-trampolinist controls.

To be completely fair, the trampolinists considered for the study were highly competitive athletes, so a little recreational jumping on a mini trampoline at home may not deliver the same results, but it indicates that trampoline jumping does, in fact, have some positive impact on bone density, particularly when the exercise is performed regularly.

4
Rebounding Can Help Control Blood Sugar

According to the American Diabetes Association, it's estimated that 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, and an additional 86 million adults over 20 have pre-diabetes. In other words, a whole lot of Americans have problems managing their blood sugar.

Of course, if you happen to have either of these conditions, you should work with your doctor to come up with a treatment plan, but regular exercise is almost definitely going to be part of your prescribed program. So if walking outside sounds boring, and hitting the gym sounds like a hassle, you're in luck: home-based rebounding exercise might be your answer.

According to a 2015 study published in the Australian Journal of Rural Health, a nine-week protocol of rebounding exercise performed three times per week for just 20 to 30 minutes resulted in positive changes to blood sugar markers as well as body mass index in individuals with type 2 diabetes. What's even more interesting is that the positive effects of trampolining don't just apply to those with diabetes or pre-diabetes. A 2016 study performed on individuals with normal glucose levels found that a 50-minute bout of high-intensity trampoline exercise effectively lowered blood glucose during and following exercise, providing evidence that rebounding may provide a fun and effective way to control blood glucose levels.

5
Rebounding Can Be Used as a Tool for Weight Loss

Whether you head out the door for a three-mile run or you jump on a trampoline for 30 minutes, regular exercise of any kind can help lead to changes in body composition and weight loss. Of course, you have to be consistent, and it certainly helps if you're consuming a well-balanced, calorie-controlled diet. That said, a 2017 study published in Science & Sports found that rebounding on a mini-trampoline could be considered a "vigorous" activity according to the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines, resulting in a calorie burn of roughly seven calories a minute. Calorie burn varies based on weight, age, sex, and body composition, but this means an hour spent jumping on a trampoline could burn roughly 400 calories. That's not shabby when you're trying to lose weight.

6
Rebounding Might Help Reduce Back Pain

One of the most surprising benefits of rebounding exercise is that a regular program may help reduce your back pain. At least, that's according to a 2015 study published in the Polish Journal of Sport and Tourism. Middle-aged adults who participated in a 21-day rehab program consisting of exercise on a mini-trampoline experienced improved functional capacity and significantly reduced lumbar back pain. That's a pretty big deal if you regularly find yourself laid up with serious pain. Just be sure to talk to your doctor before you get started; jumping too much, too high, or without control could just make things worse.

7
Rebounding Is Just Plain Fun

Be honest - jumping on a trampoline is just plain fun. No one can resist breaking into a smile after being catapulted into the air as if you were flying. In this sense, rebounding is an affordable and relatively safe way to enjoy a cheap thrill. Plus, it's good for you—it's a win-win activity for enjoyment and health.

8
How to Choose a Mini Trampoline

Bellicon mini trampoline rebounding exercise
Bellicon

Before you head to Amazon and buy the cheapest mini-trampoline you can find, do a little research. As with all forms of cardiovascular equipment, there is an element of "you get what you pay for." In other words, a rebounder with a rock-bottom price is likely to have poor construction and a sub-par bounce. Think about these factors before making a purchase:

  • Springs vs. Bungees: Generally speaking, spring-based trampolines are less expensive than those that feature bungee cords, but they're also louder and have less give on each bounce. Bungee trampolines, on the other hand, tend to be more expensive, but they're quieter, offer a softer, deeper bounce, and tend to be easier on the joints.
  • Diameter and Height: Mini trampolines come in a variety of sizes, from those with a 36-inch diameter and 10-inch height to those with a 49-inch diameter and 14-inch height. Of course, there are benefits and drawbacks to every option. The smaller the trampoline, the less space it takes up and the easier it is to store away. The larger the trampoline, the better the bounce and the more room you have to try different exercises. Generally speaking, if you have the space and funds to buy a larger trampoline, it will give you a better exercise experience.
  • Weight Limit: Different manufacturers have different weight limits for their trampolines. Make sure you know what the weight limit is before you make a purchase.
  • Storage Features: If you have limited space, you definitely want to make sure the trampoline you purchase is easy to hide away. Some trampolines can be folded in half, but you'll want to read reviews to make sure this feature doesn't reduce the product's integrity. Other trampolines provide screw-in or foldable legs so you can "flatten" the product and store it under a bed when not in use. Typically this type of storage solution is better in terms of maintaining the strength and integrity of the trampoline as a whole.
  • Additional Benefits: If you're new to rebounding, you may want to consider products that come with DVDs or video programming to take you through a variety of workouts.

As with almost anything, you can find rebounders at bargain-basement and high-dollar prices, so it's up to you to determine your budget before making a purchase. Generally speaking, ​bellicon trampolines are considered the top-of-the-line, offering bungee connections, a large surface area for jumping, a 14-inch height, a generous 440-pound weight limit, foldable and screw-on leg options for easy storage, and a year's subscription to an online exercise video library. They're also the most expensive mini-trampolines out there, starting at $399 and topping out at over $1,000. While they certainly deliver an excellent user experience, their price may be prohibitive, so consider all your options carefully.

Sources:

Aragao F, Karamanadis K, Vaz M, et al. "Mini-trampoline exercise related to mechanisms of dynamic stability improves the ability to regain balance in elderly." Journal of Electromyology and Kinesiology. http://www.jelectromyographykinesiology.com/article/S1050-6411(11)00006-X/abstract. June 2011.

Burt L, Schipilow J, Boyd S. "Competitive trampolining influences trabecular bone structure, bone size, and bone strength." Journal of Sport and Health Science. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254615000423. December 2016.

Kidgell D, Horvath D, Jackson B, Seymour P. "Effect of six weeks of dura disc and mini-trampoline balance training on postural sway in athletes with functional ankle instability." Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2007/05000/effect_of_six_weeks_of_dura_disc_and.31.aspx. May 2007.

Maharaj S, Nuhu J. "Rebound exercise: A beneficial adjuvant for sedentary non-insulin-dependent type 2 diabetic individuals in a rural environment." The Australian Journal of Rural Health. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ajr.12223/abstract?. August 2015.

Martins C, Raiana B, Araujo VH, et al. "Changes in blood glucose among trained normoglycemic adults during a mini-trampoline exercise session." The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/26853238. 2016.

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