Harkening back to my childhood and vacations in Baguio, when kids would line up to use a large trampoline next to the mini golf course in Camp John Hay, the trampoline re-entered my life in month three of lockdown. Working out was not high on the list of things to do. But my body was feeling bloated and lethargic, which wasn’t helping my mental state, and I, like many others, sought comfort and calm.
During one of my YouTube searches for exercise videos, I stumbled upon trampoline workouts — also called Rebounding. I had no idea that this was a thing — and yet it made sense when I saw it. Done at home with the purchase of one piece of equipment (no need to worry about figuring out how to breathe under a mask), rebounding is an ideal social distancing exercise.
While there aren’t any local instructors for rebounding just yet, I am partial to the bellicon USA and Rebound Fitness channels on YouTube. Meanwhile, the Lululemon crowd can avail of memberships to popular rebounding sites and apps, like the ness from NYC, endorsed by polarizing lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow.
Rebounding is low-impact (i.e. easy on the joints and muscles) but still a high-intensity workout that burns major calories. As I read on, I found that rebounding is frequently used by NASA to help astronauts regain bone density and muscle mass after returning from space. A published NASA research report says that rebounding exercise is 70- percent more effective than other cardiovascular exercises like running or jogging. It works out the entire body and helps improve core strength, cardiovascular fitness, and toning, particularly the legs and glutes. “Rebounding is a safe, effective, and fun low impact workout performed on a small trampoline. Research into rebounding has proven many health benefits including burning thousands of calories, melting body fat, stimulating lymphatic drainage, activating deep core muscles and strengthening bones and joints,” says James Winfield, Co-Founder of Rebound Fitness, the UK’s first online rebounding platform.
But how to find a trampoline? There are many trampolines that are specially designed for rebounding, but I just opted to search Lazada. Most rebounding workout videos prescribe a mini-trampoline, which is good for just one person. It should be low, to make them more stable and secure, and able to withstand both your weight and the intensity of your workout. I found one which had all those qualities, plus detachable handle bars for balance.
I started with easy workouts in the beginning, moving on to more intense HIIT-like exercises with jumping jacks, high-knee runs, squat jumps, and twists that looked so doable, even my mother made me buy her a trampoline of her own. That’s the other great thing about this workout: all ages and skill levels are welcome. There are even rebounding workouts meant for relaxation.
The first time I stepped onto the mesh, I was surprised by the firmness of it but at the same time I wasn’t steady. Even standing took effort. Your core activates immediately as you try to stand still and straight, pressing your heels down helps keep your balance, while directing weight to the balls of your feet may result in tipping over. It feels unnecessary but don’t forget to wear sneakers on the trampoline; it gives you more balance and protects your ankles from pain.
Like most workouts, repetition is key to build up stamina. According to Aly Giampolo, who teaches trampoline classes in the ness in NYC, 25 to 30 minutes of rebounding, three times a week is the ideal starting point. That doesn’t seem like much, but it is a lot if you’ve never rebounded before. When I first began, I could barely get to the 15 minute mark. I was dying: my abs hurt, my calves were burning, and I was out of breath. What kept me going is that it was still fun, no matter how out of breath I was.
Bonus: Keeping the trampoline in my room got me moving more in my downtime. Sometimes I would just turn on the T.V. and watch a show while doing little “health bounces,” which basically means bouncing without actually jumping up. The feet stay firmly on the mat. This helps open up the lymphatic system, flushing out toxins.
Trampoline jumping may sound silly to some, but due to social distancing guidelines, when most of us must make do, what is the harm in adding fun and silliness to the home exercise experience? In a few weeks, my stomach lost its bloat, my legs and butt were more toned, and thanks to renewed core strength, I felt that even my posture benefitted from the exercise. All that and it’s fun, keeping the pandemic-era anxiety away? I’m sold.