I have a hard time finding an exercise routine I actually enjoy.
I love physical activity -- walking, biking, hiking, dancing, etc. But a regular "exercise program" feels like work to me.
Last summer I agreed to join my 21-year-old daughter in a workout program called "Insanity." The name itself should tell you everything. I really did give it my best shot, especially since it was something the two of us could do together.
But if there's anything that makes you aware of your age and physical limitations, it's trying to keep pace with a 20-something and a hard-body instructor screaming at you like a drill sergeant. Fortunately, my knees began to swell up, so I had a legitimate excuse for ending the insanity.
Ending the insanity meant I had to find a new exercise program that didn't make me pass out, swell up, or give up from boredom. I found the perfect fitness routine with rebounding, which is jumping/running/dancing on a mini exercise trampoline. It's fun and has a ton of surprising health benefits.
One of my favorite health and fitness books is Younger Next Year for Women: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy - Until You're 80 and Beyond (there's also a copy for men). The book is filled with great information on living the best lifestyle now to extend your life and maintain great health.
Says the author Chris Crowley, exercise tells your body "to get stronger, more limber, functionally younger, in the only language your body understands. Because that is exactly what it does. And it works. It is the only thing that works."
We all know this, but my problem has always been finding a routine that I actually enjoy and that will work with my life, the weather, and my fitness level.
In my Sticky Habits Course one of our students wanted to develop the habit of jumping on a mini-trampoline. She mentioned how fun it was, but at the time it didn't strike me as a very serious exercise pursuit.
However, I did a bit of research on rebounding, and I blown away by the myriad of health benefits (see below). Rebounding can involve more than just jumping up and down on a mini-trampoline. So I went out and bought myself a rebounder trampoline and have discovered my go-to cardio exercise.
It appears that no piece of exercise equipment has such a wide range of health benefits as the rebounder. Rebounding provides a combination of health and fitness benefits that no other exercise can provide. And to me, it is one of the most fun, convenient, and low impact exercises I've ever attempted. I'm hooked on it.
Rebounding increases lymphatic flow
More than any other exercise, rebounding greatly increases lymphatic circulation. Lymphatic fluid is the most important fluid to immune function in the body. Two thirds of your white blood cells that eat bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi and cancer cells are found in the lymphatic fluid.
Rebounding improves detoxification and cleansing of the body
More than any other exercise, rebounding greatly increases lymphatic circulation and detoxification. Lymphatic fluid clears the system of toxins and waste products. The more we can increase lymphatic flow the more we can detoxify the organs, glands and tissues. Rebounding’s alternating weightlessness and double gravity produce a pumping action that pulls out waste products from the cells and forces oxygen into them and nutrition from the bloodstream.
Rebounding provides low-impact, safe cardiovascular exercise
Cardiovascular exercise is any exercise that increases the heart rate, like running, jogging, walking, etc. However, many of these exercises greatly stress the feet, ankles, knees, hips, back and discs. Jogging or running on a rebounder decreases shock and stress to the joints by 95% while still providing a cardiovascular workout as beneficial as running.
Rebounding strengthens the cells of the body
Rebounding helps keep all the cells in the organs, glands and tissues healthy and living long. When cells are weak and rupture easily, it weakens your immune system and shows up as symptoms, conditions and diseases. If cells are strong, you will have more health, energy and vitality. All cells in the body become stronger in response to the increased G-force during rebounding, and this cellular exercise results in the self-propelled immune cells being up to five times more active.
4 Best Rebounding Trampoline Reviews
1. For the serious rebound exerciser: Needak has the only rebounders manufactured entirely in the U.S. They pride themselves on setting the "gold standard" as the premier mini-trampoline manufacturer in the industry. All Needak rebounders come with a lifetime warranty. This is a great rebounder for someone who wants to exercise daily on their rebounder trampoline and who might do some high impact exercises. The stabilizing bar is great for beginners, seniors, or those who need something to hang onto when exercising. It can support weight up to 300 pounds. It is one of the more expensive rebounders, but has the quality construction to justify the price.
With this rebounder, you'll get a free DVD on rebounding technique, a free copy of the "Immune System" DVD, and a free informative reprint article on rebounding.
Cons: Price point might make it out of reach for some buyers. Does not fold up for storage, so you must have a permanent place to use it.
2. For someone on a budget: The Stamina trampoline is definitely a good choice for someone just starting out with rebounding or who can't afford the higher end products. The $39.54 price point of this rebounder makes it easier for people to test out a safe piece of equipment before buying a more expensive rebounder. Low-end mini trampolines often use metal springs that can be dangerous and aluminum frames that have diminished weight capacities. The Stamina features all-steel construction and quiet elastic straps similar to those found on higher-end rebounders. Also it folds up for easy storage.
This is the #1 bestselling mini trampoline on Amazon, and it has over 1000 reviews with an average of 4 1/2 stars, making it a good entry level product at a low price.
Cons: Elastic bands provide less bounce than metal springs. It may not be as durable for high intensity workouts.
3. My personal trampoline: The JumpSport Fitness Trampoline Model 250 is the rebounder I currently use, and I have only great things to say about it. The frame is constructed from 16-gauge steel and comes with a lifetime warranty. The mat is made from an incredibly strong woven material called Permatron, and the elastic strapping is rated to handle over two million bounces.
The exposed ends of the Bungee-like elastic straps are covered by a series of protective nylon "petals" which allow you to step out of the main bounce area without risking injury. The arched legs offer more stability than rebounders with straight legs. The weight limit on this rebounder is 250 pounds.
This rebounder has received over 200 reviews with a 5-star average rating, making it a fantastic product at a fairly reasonable price of $249.00. A fitness DVD is included, and you can order a stabilizing bar separately.
Pros: All-around excellent rebounder that affords a great "bounce" for high and low impact exercise and has a large jumping space. It has a lifetime warranty on the frame and legs. It has a durable equivalent of many commercial grade gym rebounders.
Cons: Not too many. It doesn't fold up for storage, but you can easily move it around. Slightly smaller jumping space. The price might be too high for some.
4. The viable contender: The MaXimus Pro Rebounder is one of the top selling mini trampolines in the U.S. It is extremely robust, has a great unique folding design, is very low impact when bouncing, and has huge jumbo coiled springs and double cross stitched mat giving it a very resilient bounce. It is made of high quality component parts that are built to last. It comes with a full warranty and all component parts are replaceable.
It comes with a stabilizing bar, and specially designed resistance bands which clip on to the springs for great toning work. It also comes with sand weights for extra resistance making this a great value rebounder fitness package. It has 64 Amazon reviews with an average of 4 1/2 stars. It has a weight limit of 286 pounds. At $229, it is one of the more reasonable mini trampolines that has great durability.
MaXimus Pro Quarter Folding Mini Trampoline
Pros: Solid trampoline with 40 inches of jumping space, excellent construction, and some nice extras included in the package. It folds for storage and has spring-loaded legs that fold down. It has the 2nd highest weight limit of the rebounders reviewed here.
Cons: Again, not too many cons. The price may be more than some can manage. It is for the more serious rebound exerciser.
Health benefits of rebounding
If you need more convincing that rebounding is a great exercise that you can do in the comfort of your home for a relatively inexpensive cost, here are some additional benefits:
- 20 minutes of a rebounder workout = 1 hour of running for cardiovascular workout
- Accelerates metabolism to burn calories for weight control
- Improves digestion and elimination of cellular waste
- Reduces body fat; firms legs, thighs, abdomen, arms, and hips; increases agility; and improves sense of balance
- Has a natural analgesic effect on the body, relieving pain in the neck, back, and head by increasing circulation and oxygen flow
- Lowers blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol naturally by increasing oxygenation and dilating the blood vessels for smoother and easier blood flow
- A year-round exercise that can be done inside or outside and is easily portable for those that travel
- Improves circulatory disorders by increasing cellular respiration
- Promotes regular elimination and relieves constipation by increasing metabolism
- Increases endorphin output, thereby promoting the relaxation response and stabilizing the nervous system
- Promotes physical and mental efficiency (and stability) by increasing oxygen levels and decreasing toxicity
- More effective for fitness and weight loss than cycling, running or jogging
- 12 minutes of rebounding burns about 10 more calories than 12 minutes of jogging
"…for similar levels of heart rate and oxygen consumption, the magnitude of the biomechanical stimuli is greater with jumping on a rebounder trampoline than with running, a finding that might help identify acceleration parameters needed for the design of remedial procedures to avert deconditioning in persons exposed to weightlessness." -N.A.S.A., Journal of Applied Physiology 49(5): 881-887
Hopefully you're convinced that rebounding is one power-packed exercise. But you may wonder what the heck you do on a rebounder once you begin. When I first started, I just jumped around like a kid on a regular trampoline. That was fun but soon got boring. You certainly can't do any flips or high leaps on the thing.
Below are some of the exercises I like to do on the rebounder. I generally do 20 minutes in the morning and 20 in the evening while watching TV. It's best to exercise barefoot (or with socks) on the rebounder as this strengthens the muscles in your feet.
To warm up I do a fast walk and some gentle bouncing. I mix this with some elbow to knee touches. I do this for about 5 minutes.
After the warm-up, I begin to jog at an increasing pace leveling off to a comfortable but steady jog. Then when commercials come on, I pick up the pace to a sprint or fast jog to really raise my heart rate. Sometimes I will include jumping jacks or the elbow to knee move but at double time.
High Knees/High Jumping
You can also increase the intensity of the workout by jogging but bringing your knees up really high as you run. You can also do high jumps by jumping up as high as possible with both feet off the ground and arms outstretched for balance.
Arm Lifts and Weights
If you want an upper body workout while you are rebounding, or just to increase your heart rate, try lifting your arms over your head in repetitions or use small hand weights to do bicep or tricep curls.
Be sure you stretch your calves, thighs, and hamstrings after your workout to prevent injury.
If you are looking for a low-impact workout or to supplement your current routine, I hope you will give rebounding a try. With the laundry list of health and fitness benefits it offers, you can go wrong with it!
Watch this video of an Urban Rebounding class to get a feel for the variety of exercises and how fun it is.