Bounce! Health benefits of rebounding
As the days are getting longer and winter looks like it’s eventually coming to an end, you might be thinking of getting fit or perhaps losing a few pounds (or kilos). Maybe you’re not sure about joining a gym and prefer to start an exercise routine at home but don’t know what to do or where to start. Rebounding might be something you’d like to try. The great thing about rebounding is that it’s a very effective exercise. There’s no need to leave the house – just pop on your favourite music and start bouncing. You’ll soon feel like a kid again! Read on for the health benefits of rebounding.
What is rebounding?
Rebounding is an aerobic exercise performed on a mini trampoline – you basically bounce around for a while! It’s gentle on the joints and allows you to perform a cardio workout without putting too much pressure on your body. It’s a great and fun way to work out and get into shape. The beauty of rebounding is anyone can do it – small children, older adults, there’s no age limit. (If you want to learn more about what aerobic exercise is, you might like to read our earlier article: aerobic and anaerobic exercise, what’s the difference?).
My first experience with rebounding
In my first ever rebounding class, I remember I was nervous about falling off at first! We started with small movements to warm up the body and I found bit by bit I was getting used to the new sensations.
As the class progressed, rebounding became easier, I stopped thinking about falling off and just focused on the instructor in front of me, by the end I wanted more! I could feel my whole body working. I felt more energised and alive. I enjoyed the class so much I didn’t feel like I was working out.
Health benefits of rebounding
Rebounding is a great exercise for the body and the mind, it can improve mental performance and hand-eye coordination. You work over 600 muscles, including big muscles groups like the core, lower body, legs and hips, which are crucial for balance. It affects every cell in our body, increasing cell energy and oxygen levels throughout the whole body.
Bouncing up and down on a mini trampoline can have some transformational results. Not only is it an amazing workout, it’s also a great way to flush out toxins that are stored within the body. Rebounding is one of the best forms of exercise that has an effect on the lymphatic system (read more here: rebounding to cleanse the lymphatic system). One of the other health benefits of rebounding is that it places positive stress on the cell structure, using three natural forces: acceleration, deceleration and gravity. This form of motion acts as a lymphatic pump, cleansing the lymphatic system.
Rebounding can also help to jumpstart your metabolism. It improves cardiovascular health by improving blood flow, conditioning and strengthening the heart and, in some cases, it can reduce blood pressure. It also helps to tone and strengthen many muscles throughout the body with low impact on joints and ligaments. It doesn’t stress the body the same way you would doing when running for example.
Rebounding is fun and fun exercises release our inner child, which in turn can boost confidence levels and help us to reduce stress and anxiety by encouraging our brain to release more endorphins. Endorphins give you that feel good ‘natural high’, which can help to reduce stress hormones. Exercising regularly can contribute to improving sleep patterns, change the way we see ourselves and help with our overall mental health, which in this day and age is so important.
Many different studies have shown that the increase of gravitational force on the bones that you experience while rebounding can help strengthen and increase bone mass. This also can increase your endurance for other physical activities.
If weight loss is your goal, an added bonus is that rebounding is around three times more effective at burning calories than running, five times more effective than swimming and eleven times more effective than walking! NASA performed a study (published in 1980, in the Journal of Applied Physiology) that showed rebounding is 68% more effective than jogging in burning calories. This study compared the results for an individual weighing 150 pounds spending one hour on the rebounder versus jogging, and found that they used more calories when rebounding than the same person jogging. NASA now use rebounding exercises to recondition astronauts to prevent muscle and bone degeneration after their space walks.
Rebounding is an amazing complimentary exercise to other types of fitness as it helps to remove lactic acid from your muscles. If you are suffering from lactic acid burn or any form of muscle pain, try rebounding.
You might also notice that you feel less tired – rebounding can help strengthen the glandular system, which helps to fight fatigue and increases stamina.
Tips for rebounding safely
Before we go into our top five rebounding moves, let’s go over a few safety tips. Here at La Crisalida we always ask you to listen to your body. If you are in pain or have any discomfort during the rebounding class, you should go for the healthy bounce (read more below) or perhaps stop completely and always mention it to the instructor.
When rebounding, always have soft knees and keep the feet around shoulder width apart – this helps to maintain your balance and ensures you are working with your muscles (to protect knees and other joints). Pull your belly button towards your spine to engage your core muscles and tuck your tailbone under this will help protect the lower spine, imagining you are keeping a braced position. Avoid putting your head back as this can put pressure into your neck. You can rebound in bare feet or wear trainers if you have weak ankles or calf muscles (trainers will give you more support). Go with what feels good for you.
Top five rebounding moves
Below are some of my personal favourite moves, remember the safety tips above and be sure to check with your Doctor if you have any current injuries to ensure a safe and fun workout. When you are ready to start rebounding, pop on your favourite songs and give these moves a go.
The healthy bounce is the best move to start off with, particularly if you are new to rebounding. Lightly bounce up and down, keeping the knees soft. Make sure you keep the balls of the feet down on the rebounder at all times. If you feel comfortable, start to lift the heels off, keeping the balls of the feet connected.
Forward and back
The art of this move is keeping both feet together, so both feet move as one. Start in the healthy bounce then when you feel comfortable, jump both feet together to the front of your rebounder. Then jump them straight to the back of your rebounder. Repeat as many times as you want. You can intensify this move by adding your arms, so they also move in a forward and back motion, as you jump forward send the hands back and as you jump back send the hands forward.
Starting with both feet shoulder-width apart, shift your weight onto your right foot. Check your balance, if you feel okay lift up the left foot and bring your left heel up towards your bum. Return the left foot to the rebounder, shift your weight into the left foot. Then lift the right foot up, bringing the right heel towards your bum. Bring the right foot down to the rebounder and start again. Repeat this movement for 16 kicks. If you feel comfortable and want to increase the challenge, add in some bicep curls drawing your arms up from your side to your chest.
While performing the healthy bounce, jump both feet into the centre of the rebounder, keeping the hands down by your hips. On the next bounce open the legs out wide and lift the hands up out to your sides above chest height. Repeat 16 times.
When it comes to high knees, start with a slow march to get used to taking one foot off the rebounder. Start with the weight in your right leg, then bring your left knee up in front of you towards your chest. Return the left foot to the rebounder, shift your weight onto the left leg and bring your right knee up in front of you towards your chest. Repeat 16 times. Once you feel comfortable with your balance and you feel good with this movement, try and get each knee as high as you can. You can also speed it up a little for more challenge.
You could link all these moves together to create a great home routine – I like to do 16 of each move. I suggest getting on the rebounder for around 20 minutes, three times a week if that’s possible for you. Always start your rebounding with a quick warm up and remember to stretch in your cool down. Stretches that work on the hamstrings, calf and quad muscles are best.
When can rebounding be bad for you?
With any form of exercise there are risks of injury, so you really need to take care, pay attention to your body, use the safety tips we went over earlier and keep an eye on your posture throughout the class or home workout. We’ve see that there are many health benefits of rebounding and it is generally good on your body, but if you have pre-existing injuries or conditions, then please be careful.
If you have never tried rebounding, then we recommend having a class with a local instructor first (or come to the retreat to try it out). Make sure you drink plenty of water and always consult with your doctor beforehand if you have any ongoing injuries or are new to exercise. Rebounding has so many health benefits that it’s hard to believe there are some cases where you should keep to a light healthy bounce or maybe even avoid this kind of exercise all together.
As we jump up and down with forces that are strong and sudden, anyone with a history of back pain or a continuing injury in the spine should take care. If your doctor says that rebounding is a good exercise for you, maybe try sticking to the light healthy bounce and see how you feel without pushing yourself in the beginning.
Anyone suffering with a pelvis organ prolapse should avoid any form of exercise where bouncing is involved or at least modify the routine to suit the injury as it depends on the severity of the condition. For anyone with weak pelvic floor muscles you should never rebound with a full bladder and always think about the intensity of the workout. Rebounding does not have a negative effect on the bladder but if you have been diagnosed with urinary tract problems you need to be careful.
Rebounding to re-balance and re-energise
Rebounding is an amazing way to feel re-energised and re-balanced, it’s a fun way to lose weight and strengthen your body. When rebounding, whether it’s in your home or out at a class, remember the safety tips we went over earlier and just make sure you have fun!
I hope you have enjoyed reading about the health benefits of rebounding and the wonderful things this energising exercise can do for you. If you’d like to give it a go for yourself, then you might like to read more about our detox and weight loss retreats at La Crisalida Retreats, as we include rebounding regularly as part of our activity programme. La Crisalida Retreats is open all year round and our programme is flexible so that you can pick arrive and depart on any day you like.
I love rebounding and I hope you do too.
About the author
- Lauren is a member of our programme team, who leads many of our exercise classes, walks and other programme activities.