There’s a reason why NASA- trained astronauts are put straight onto a 12-week rebounding programme after returning from space. Astronauts are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis as they lose up to 15% of their total muscle mass and bone density in space, thanks to zero gravity. This also accelerates bone loss and generally weakens the body.
However, rebounding on a mini-trampoline is one of the quickest ways to rebuild muscle mass and improve overall strength and fitness levels. This is because the body works twice as hard to defy gravity (as well as the forces of acceleration and deceleration) when bouncing on a mini trampoline, and this has an impact on every cell, muscle and organ in the body. In fact, NASA scientists discovered that jumping regularly on a mini trampoline (for just 10 minutes at a time), requires more effort than jogging or running, but with no negative impact on the joints. The good news is, rebounding isn’t reserved for athletes and astronauts – anyone can do it and reap the same benefits.
The ultimate exercise for all ages and stages
“Rebounding is ideal for everyone at any age,” says Jo-Ann Greenwood, Territory Training Lead for Bounce Inc, in South Africa. There are no age limits or social boundaries, with one of the biggest advantages being that people enjoy it so much that they don’t even realise they’re building up a sweat and burning calories.
Rebounding is also ideal for those who can’t do other forms of exercise due to chronic pain or health conditions such as arthritis or obesity.
The benefits of rebounding
According to founders of Rebound SA, Keith and Justine McFarlane, there are many benefits to be reaped from this fun and challenging activity. Here are just some of the key advantages they highlight in their book, Rebounding For Health and Fitness:
It promotes weight loss
Although it might feel like you’re just having a good laugh and bouncing around, rebounding is a brilliant high- intensity workout as the body goes from weighing nothing at the top of the bounce to weighing double at the bottom. This sudden increase in weight forces the body to work hard and adjust, which boosts the metabolism and speeds up weight loss.
It improves recovery time
Traditional exercises can lead to increased lactic acid production, which makes the body feel sore, stiff and bloated. This is one of the main reasons why people don’t return to challenging exercises. However, rebounding is one of the only exercises that boosts blood and lymph circulation, while keeping cells healthy. All it takes is three to five minutes of gentle bouncing to improve recovery time after any exercise session.
It enhances relaxation
Bouncing regularly has been found to slow brainwave activity and synchronise the left and right brain. This helps to calm and focus the mind and improve sleep.
It boosts the lymphatic system
“Unlike your cardiovascular system, which relies on your heart to pump blood, your lymphatic system relies on movement and gravity to keep the lymph flowing into the nodes,” explains Jo-Ann. “So, as we move, our muscles contract and this helps to pump lymph around the body. Lymph is like a built-in garbage disposal system for the body. The more you move, the more regularly you’re cleaning out your system. It’s a one-way system, meaning that excess waste products are pushed through the body and excreted through sweat and urine.” This helps to keep your immune system strong and healthy, as well as reduce the appearance of cellulite. Bonus!
How to rebound
There’s nothing complicated about rebounding – all you need is your rebounder and you’re good to go. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Rebounding programmes involve a combination of cardiovascular moves, plus total-body resistance exercises all combined into one. Although rebounding involves little to no impact, it’s still important to wait six weeks after giving birth before you begin any exercise programme. It’s also crucial to get the all-clear from your doctor before you start.
Use a good-quality rebounder
These aren’t the same as your little one’s trampoline in the back yard. Rebounders are smaller, more lightweight, portable and have a different spring system to a traditional trampoline.
Be aware of possible side-effects
It’s normal to feel aches and pains, especially in your calf muscles as this is just different muscles engaging with each bounce. You might also feel dizzy or light-headed due to rebounding’s detoxing effects and the fact that your body needs to adjust to the G-force. However, if you feel pain in your chest or experience shortness of breath, stop jumping immediately.
Find your zone
As Keith and Justine explain, “Your zone means a bounce you slip into without even thinking about it – it’s comfortable, natural. When you bounce, make sure your knees are soft and relaxed, tummy muscles pulled in, buttock muscles clenched, shoulders relaxed – and keep your breathing steady and deep. You can either bounce on both feet, or from one foot to the other. The level of intensity is up to you.”
Don’t forget to breathe
Deep breathing while rebounding is vitally important, adds Keith. It not only increases oxygen consumption, but allows lymph stored in your ducts to be released as well.
Rebounding is the ultimate post-preggy workout
“When you jump on a rebounder, every muscle in your body is engaged including the muscles surrounding your organs,” explains Jo-Ann. “When you land, your deeper abdominal muscles stabilise your body, including your pelvic floor muscles. These deeper muscular contractions help to strengthen and tighten the muscles that become lax during pregnancy.” This works much the same way as Kegel exercises, which are key to preventing bladder issues such as incontinence. “It is especially necessary after childbirth,” she adds.
Wellness expert and mom Lisa Raleigh, experienced all these benefits and more after she started rebounding regularly a few months after having her daughter, Bella Skye. In fact, she loves rebounding so much, she launched her very own Bounce Back programme for new moms (and dads) wanting to lose weight, tone up and get fit.
Tammy is a wife, mom and freelance writer with 15 years’ experience in the media industry. She specialises in general lifestyle topics related to health, wellness and parenting. Tammy has a passion for fitness and the great outdoors. If she’s not running around after her daughter, you’ll find her off the beaten track, running, hiking or riding her bike.