Getting fit in leaps and bounds

FINDING love on the rebound has a new meaning these days.

Rebound workouts are the new fitness craze sweeping America and now Europe, too.

Personal trainer Eileen Mooney says she fell in love with the trampoline craze when she discovered how easily it could be adapted to any individual’s needs.

In the US, many rebounder classes are in bare feet on the beach, but in gyms here participants wear trainers. Now, thanks to Jumpzone, which opened before Christmas in Dublin, Eileen encourages her class members to go barefoot.

Jumpzone, Ireland’s first trampoline park, and Europe’s biggest, is the brainchild of business partners, Daniel Begley and Paul Quinn. They identified a gap in the fitness/fun market, having seen indoor trampoline parks in the US. The 20,000sq ft facility in Sandyford, south Dublin, has been a big hit with all age groups in a range of classes from trampoline aerobics to dodgeball.

The park is laid out in two zones of separate trampoline squares, with court supervisors on the floor at all times. The heavy-duty, spring-loaded frames are covered by two-inch thick safety pads, and large rubber separators keep participants from colliding with each other. During Eileen’s ‘rebound revolution’ classes, each participant has their own trampoline, with 20-30 people comfortably taking part.

“Jumpzone asked me to design a cardiovascular aerobic workout and I didn’t want to design anything that would exclude any groups — like new mums, people with back problems, or other issues. Bouncing here is like a workout for the lymphatic system, it’s like a natural detox and there’s no force on any joints as you can bounce as gently as you like,” she says.

The 50-minute class isolates areas like legs and arms, incorporating weights and cardio training. “We do shuttle runs between trampolines as well, and you can burn up to 1,000 calories per class,” she says.

Most rebounder classes in the US involve a 19” personal trampoline (a ‘rebounder’), but Eileen says the workouts at Jumpzone can be transferred to any of the thousands of kids’ trampolines in back gardens. “Absolutely they can. Working on a trampoline is very de-stressing, whatever the size.” Our teens are keen on making use of the trampolines of their childhood years. “With obesity becoming such an issue here, we really need to educate our teens more about fitness, and trampolines have always been associated with fun, so it’s a great way to strengthen muscle tone, and cleanse the body.”

Eileen says it’s also a wonderful cure for constipation and headaches, and the workouts shouldn’t exclude anyone. “I am living proof of it — I had a hysterectomy when I was 37, and I am 48 now, and I really feel that rebounding gave me back my life.” Studying in college to be a fitness instructor, after years of being a stay-at-home mum, she discovered the rebounder phenomenon and investigated it further. “Now, I do 25 classes a week, and there’s a great social element to them, too. I find that women tend to stay to chat afterwards, or have a snack in the café. I really wanted to do a Sunday morning class, and that’s been really popular.”

“Safety is hugely important to us,” says Paul, pointing out the large separators between the individual trampoline squares, covering 7,500sq ft in total — divided between a main jumper court and a ‘Thunderdome’ court, the latter hugely popular for dodgeball games.

There are several supervisors at each session, including the ‘freestyle’ kids’ and adults’ jumping times, when you can bounce away at your own pace. The only stipulation is that you cannot bounce into a trampoline square if it is occupied.

Just as the staff at the ice rink love to ‘show off’ on their down times, so do the Jumpzone supervisors — doing back and forward flips, careering off the two trampolined walls, and even doing air-borne splits, when they have a few moments to spare.

The rest of the time they are quietly bouncing around in the background, keeping an eye on everything and making sure nobody is ‘messing’. Jumpzone say they can accommodate anyone ‘from 5 to 55+’ and Eileen says the upper age limit is flexible for her classes.

“I had two much older people join us recently, and I was worried that they might feel it would be too much for them. But I told them to take it at their own pace, and I was thrilled to see them back again the next week — for me, that was the biggest pleasure, because they realised they could actually do more than they thought they could do. I always feel that if our bodies are in a good place, our mind will follow, and trampoline fitness is a perfect example of that.”

* www.jumpzone.ie

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