Picture a bunch of kids bouncing on a trampoline, at a gas station, as their parents filled up the tank. Sounds ridiculous, right? That’s exactly what was happening in the 1950s as the trampoline craze took the nation by storm.
More than 60 years later, trampolines are experiencing a modern renaissance, fueled by a host of fitness benefits. It’s even picking up steam in the U.K., where trampoline parks are springing up across Britain.
Here’s your quick primer on the history of trampolining and why you should consider taking a few bounces between your next gym sessions.
Trampoline Exercises – A quick history of trampolining
Invented more than two decades before that by gymnast George Nissen, the trampoline became the staple of his traveling act that included his wife, also an acrobat. The Nissens went around the country with their foldable trampoline, doing backflips and leaving spectators spellbound.
Using scrap metal and the inner tubes of tires, a teenage Nissen and his coach invented the first makeshift version to perfect Nissen’s act for the Iowa Hawkeye Circus. The coach and student would later form a company that manufactured portable trampolines, but Nissen’s business venture didn’t last long.
Parents of kids who were injured on one of Nissen’s trampolines sued the company in the 1970s. The Nissen Corporation was forced to call it quits after insurance against these claims skyrocketed. But George Nissen remained fit until his death, and as the story goes, he was still capable of doing a handstand on a table at his 80th birthday party.
The fitness benefits of trampoline Exercise
Yes, trampolining is dangerous when you don’t know what you’re doing. But the same goes for swimming and a host of other activities that require supervision and training.
There has been a staggering rise in the number of trampoline-related injuries, yet nearly 50 million North Americans visited an indoor park in 2015 to try out the sport. Trampolining is also an Olympic sport—a testament to its benefits beyond kid’s play.
Trampolining boasts a number of health benefits that can bring your fitness to the next level. Just make sure you have the right guidance before you dive into the world of trampolines.
Working out at the gym can get boring at times. But 30 minutes on a trampoline will fly by—and help you shed 160 calories in the process. If you work this fun activity into your weekly fitness regimen, that sculpted figure could be closer than you imagine.
A recent study got 24 college students on a mini-trampoline. The researchers found the physical effects to be identical to running six miles per hour when the college kids spent 19 minutes following a trampoline video exercise. What’s more, trampolining is a moderate- to high-intensity workout. The same study found that all participants didn’t feel completely fatigued after the workout, suggesting that trampolining offers more than it takes.
A full-body workout
If you’re worried about your muffin top, jumping on a trampoline could be the perfect way to help tighten and tone your abdominal core muscles. Your calf and leg muscles also get an intense workout when you’re on the rebounder. A trampoline’s shock-absorbing qualities make it a better option for those who can’t run too much without their joints acting up.
The constant bouncing can also help keep your lymph and immune systems in good shape. All your upper-body movements that occur as you keep bouncing help tone your shoulders and arms. What does all that add up to? A surprisingly effective full-body workout.
Step up your workout game
We tend to write off any exercise that looks like too much fun. But the 40% impact reduction of trampolining means you can recover faster from your workout and at the same time improve balance and boost your cardio fitness. A rebounder might look like child’s play, but it’s slowly entering a number of gyms all across America.
With limitless exercise upgrades, trampolining makes it easier than ever to challenge yourself to reach new fitness heights. On a mini-trampoline, jumping jacks are easy. But wait until you progress to stationary running while keeping your knees high. It’s a little more complex than a walk in the park, but you’re going to see better results over time. Sitting on a trampoline and then standing up suddenly with alternate arm reaches is a great core exercise that ups your effectiveness. Once you get a hang of it, you’ll be sweating it out and keeping it simple at the same time.
We all hate squats, but we know they’re important. Now imagine squatting on the unstable surface of a trampoline. Stand with your feet together, bouncing, and land in a faux-sitting position.
Who knew one man’s circus act from back in the day could be a way to stay fit in the modern world? The fact that trampolining is a serious sport just goes to show that bouncing isn’t just for kids, but also an increasingly popular way for adults to mix up their fitness routines.