Want to put a bounce back into your life and achieve scientifically proven health benefits in the process? Then get yourself to a mini trampoline — more correctly known as a rebounder, writes Margaret Jennings.
Nasa research in the 1980s found that jumping on a rebounder provided better cardiovascular and aerobic benefits, due to the low impact on your body, than exercise such as running.
It was exploring how best astronauts could reverse the de-conditioning they experienced in space, but for us ordinary grounded mortals, who simply want to keep ourselves fit and, wait for it, have fun in the process, rebounding could be the answer.
“You see people out jogging and they have pained expressions on their faces. I feel like saying to them ‘I’m here on my rebounder and I’m having fun, baby!’” says 61-year-old Helen Coe.
The Kildare-based healthcare practitioner and psychotherapist can be seen on her YouTube video — the picture of health, enthusiastically inviting us all to get bouncing.
Although Helen has always been keen on fitness, a health scare in 2015, when pre-cancerous cells were discovered in her breast, led her to rebounding and in fact designing her own mini-trampoline which she sells online.
“I researched what would be the best thing I could do to treat myself — because cancer is just a cell out of control,” Helen tells Feelgood. “I found out that rebounding treats the body at a cellular level; it’s the gravitational pull, the up-and-down horizontal movement, and because you are weightless off the mat and then the mat is taking your full weight, that creates the benefit at cellular level.
“But what I love it for most is that it treats the lymphatic system which clears the junk out of our bodies; that gravitational movement squeezes the lymphatic vessels, which increases the lymphatic flow by 15% to 30% which of course means your health will be much better.”
And it’s fun, so increases her so-called feelgood hormones, says Helen, who generally starts her day with the low-impact movement routine.
Not only is rebounding “amazing for your heart and lungs”, it also increases your bone density, which we lose as we age, says Lynne Ward, fitness instructor and owner of Rebound Fitness Studio in Tramore, Co Waterford.
Having installed 20 rebounders over two years ago at her centre, Lynne has regulars in the over-50 age group attending her 45-minute classes and is enthusiastic about the many health benefits attributed to the gravitational mat movement — apart from toning and weight management.
One regular rebounder at her classes for the past two years, 57-year-old Veronica Keating, says it is one of the best decisions she has ever made. “The improvement in my health has been amazing,” she says. “My muscle tone is much better, as is my overall wellbeing and I am sleeping much better. I have reduced my cholesterol levels from 6.4 to 5.3 without resorting to medication and knee pain and lower back pain that I had when walking a lot has totally disappeared.”
A major advantage of owning your own rebounder is that you can bounce away at home. But in case your inner child thinks you will be doing mid-air tumbles that would send the grandchildren fleeing for the nearest exit, the mini trampoline does not accommodate those kind of hi-jinks.
“It’s not like a garden trampoline,” explains Lynne. “It’s a smaller mat so you only lift your feet a few inches up; the movement comes from the waist down and the legs do most of the work.”
She also points out the toxin-clearing benefits: “When you jump, your cells get massaged because you are not stopping with a thud like you would on a hard surface and that flow of movement in your cells pumps the lymphatic system,” she says.
At €168, Helen Coe’s rebounder is a steep, em, jump, from those basic smaller models around. Whatever you opt for, you won’t be able to blame our unreliable weather for not getting your exercise in. But as Lynne says: “When you are bouncing you become happier. You can’t do it without smiling.”
Helen Coe — health-care-ireland.com
Lynne Ward — www.reboundfitness.ie