Rebounding is an exercise you could do daily, but I must admit that when I first heard about it, the idea sounded crazy. Rebounding started in the 1940’s but was not really used for exercise until the 90’s. If you aren’t familiar with it, rebounding is basically jumping on a mini trampoline either in gentle bounces where your feet don’t leave the trampoline or in complete jumps where you rise just about6 inches from the surface.
So glad you asked. Turns out that there are many benefits to rebounding (including NASA’s research showing that rebounding can be more than twice as effective as treadmill running). You can burn 500 to 600 calories in 45 min. According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, working out on a trampoline is 68 percent more efficient at increasing heart rate compared with running on a treadmill. The trampoline surface absorbed 80 percent of the shock – giving it an advantage over running or jumping on a hard surface.
The idea of rebounding has been around for a long time, but it gained popularity in the late 80s when NASA studied its benefits while trying to find an effective way to help astronauts recover and regain bone and muscle mass after being in space. Astronauts can lose as much as 15% of their bone and muscle mass from only 14 days at zero gravity, so NASA needed a way to help reverse this damage.
Some of the findings of the NASA study showed lower impact on the joints and great gains of the cardiovascular system.
- When the astronauts were tested while running on a treadmill, the G-force measured at the ankle was over twice what it was at the back and head. On a trampoline, the G-force was almost identical at the ankle, back, and head and at a lower level than that of the G-force at the ankle on a treadmill. This shows that rebounding can exercise the entire body without increased impact to the feet and legs.
- “The external work output at equivalent levels of oxygen uptake were significantly greater while trampolining than running. The greatest difference was about 68%.” In other words, the increased G-force in rebounding means you get more benefit with less oxygen used and less exertion on the heart.
How Rebounding Works
Many types of exercise are done to target specific muscles or just to increase cardiovascular function. Rebounding is unique since it uses the forces of acceleration and deceleration and can work on every cell in the body in a unique way.
When you bounce on a rebounder (mini-trampoline), several actions happen:
- An acceleration action as you bounce upward
- A split-second weightless pause at the top
- A deceleration at an increased G-force
- The impact to the rebounder
The action of rebounding makes use of the increased G-force from gravity-based exercises like this and each cell in the body has to respond to the acceleration and deceleration. The up and down motion is beneficial for the lymphatic system since it runs in a vertical direction in the body.
Another study showed that the increased G-force helped increase Lymphocyte activity. The lymph system transports immune cells throughout the body and supports immune function. For this reason, rebounding is often suggested as a detoxifying and immune boosting activity.
Rebounding, since it affects each cell in the body, can also increase cell energy and mitochondrial function.
One of the major benefits of rebounding is its benefit to the skeletal system. Just as astronauts lose bone mass in space as a response to the decreased need for strong bones in a zero gravity environment, weight-bearing exercise increases bone mass. Rebounding is especially effective at this since it increases the weight supported by the skeletal system with the increased G-force of jumping.
Benefits of Rebounding
- Boosts lymphatic drainage and immune function
- Great for skeletal system and increasing bone mass
- Helps improve digestion
- More than twice as effective as running without the extra stress on the ankles and knees
- Increases endurance on a cellular level by stimulating mitochondrial production (these are responsible for cell energy)
- Helps improve balance by stimulating the vestibule in the middle ear
- Helps improve the effects of other exercise- one study found that those who rebounded for 30 seconds between weight lifting sets saw 25% more improvement after 12 weeks than those who did not.
- Rebounding helps circulate oxygen throughout the body to increase energy.
- Rebounding in a whole body exercise that improves muscle tone throughout the body.
- Some sources claim that the unique motion of rebounding can also help support the thyroid and adrenals.
- Rebounding is fun!
How to Start Rebounding
Essentially, it is as easy as starting to bounce. Though rebounding is a gentle activity, it is best to start with feet on the rebounder and only gentle jumps and work up to jumping with feet leaving the rebounder.
Adapted from Health Benefits of Rebounding