As you get older, you need to do bone-stimulating exercise that will help strengthen your bones to prevent fracture. Exercise also keeps your heart strong as well as fights obesity and other diseases. Yet, if you have joint pain from arthritis, you may have given up on most exercise because of pain. Although you can swim or ride a bike that takes weight off joints (and prevents pain), there’s another form of exercise I bet you’ve never considered, or perhaps never even heard of. It’s called rebounding and I’d like to tell you about its “funtastic” benefits.
The Most “Funtense” Workout Your Bones Ever Got
Remember back when you were a kid and you liked to jump up and down on your, or your parents, bed? Remember how much fun it was? That is until you were put in “time out” for breaking the slats or springs. Basically rebounding is – jumping, and doing various bouncing-type exercises, on a specially constructed mini-trampoline, or the new Kangoo-Jump rebounding shoes.
Of course, your body and joints have gotten older since your childhood days. Jumping up and down on a bouncing surface might seem ridiculously dangerous now. However, rebounding is not only safe, but has proven to be very effective especially for those with special exercise needs.
Rebounding is actually a very good way for people over age 50 to get back into exercising. It’s not only easy on your joints and the rest of your body but it’s also energizing. Like one of my over age 60 patients said, “I put on my oldies dance music, bounce around and do the special exercises for 30-40 minutes. I feel great without pain or fatigue. Rebounding revs me up!”
Rebounding is a good weight-bearing exercise that provides a very effective way of building strength and density in the bones of your hip, spine, legs, wrist/forearms – the very bones that are most prone to fracture, as you get older. Even doctors and physical therapists use rebounding in rehabilitation to get surgery and fracture patients back up on their feet faster. Here’s why.
Hips, spine and leg bones –grow stronger and denser in response to absorbing the impact of your body working against gravity or resistance. Friction is caused when muscles move against the bones during exercise. This friction stimulates osteoclasts – bone cells – that make them grow. Just 5-20 minutes of rebounding a day makes bones denser and stronger.
Unlike resistance training like lifting weights, rebounding is an example of gravity training. While you’re up in the air during the bounce of rebounding, you are 1-1/2 times your normal weight. Your body experiences G-forces throughout your entire body, even on the cellular level. These forces strengthen your entire body, bringing more oxygen into your lungs, heart and brain, which energizes you.
Rebounding is so effective that NASA uses it to recondition astronauts after being in space. NASA researchers claim that rebounding is 68% more effective than treadmills, or other exercise.
Other Health Benefits of Rebounding
In addition to its bone-building, joint-protecting properties, rebounding also does the following:
- Boosts metabolic rate so you burn more calories/body fat faster. 15 Minutes of rebounding is equivalent to about 30 minutes of running or jogging.
- Helps stimulate the immune system by draining lymphatic tissues of fluid build up.
- Boosts muscle strength and tone throughout your entire body. Because you’re always balancing your body in 3-dimensions, it engages and strengthens all your body muscles.
- Helps improve balance and coordination. Even people who feel clumsy doing other types of exercise can benefit from rebounding. It can help stroke victims regain balance as well as very obese people take up exercise.
- Strengthens/tones core muscles too. Because you’re always trying to balance while rebounding, your core muscles are always engaged, and being strengthened. Strong core muscles help flatten your stomach muscles while boosting posture.
Forms of Rebounding
Rebounding exercise consists of two types, one stationary and one mobile:
1. Stationary. Regular mini-trampolines are elevated about 8 inches off the ground on sturdy legs. They have an attached balance bar to help people gain coordination/confidence while they get used to bouncing on the trampoline surface. Incline rebounders have legs that are nearly flush with the ground on one side. This creates a stepping up movement into the bounce on the trampoline’s surface. The incline type allows for inclusion of floor exercises with the rebounder.
2. Mobile. In the last few years, rebounding shoes have surfaced on the market. These are specially constructed inline-skate-like shoes that have a spring-attached, wide based, rubber-tire-like surface arc that springs/bounces when you run or jump on them. It’s a very fun, light-on-your-feet gazelle, or moon-walk like movement that independent research studies have shown reduces about 80% of impact. This allows you to rebound/jog on pavement with much less stress to your knees or hip bones. It also allows you to experience scenery as you exercise.
If you’ve given up on exercise because of pain, or it has become boring, don’t give up. Try rebounding! It’s a fun way to jump start your metabolism and make you feel great all over. When exercise is fun, you’ll do more of it! As always, please get clearance from your doctor if you have any specific health conditions or haven’t exercised for a while.
Mark Bromson, M.D.
Natural Health News
Can Exercising on a Rebounder Increase Bone Density of the Hips and Spine? http://www.livestrong.com/article/430074-can-exercising-on-a-rebounder-increase-bone-density-of-the-hips-and-spine/
Top 10 Ways To Reverse Osteoporosis and Build Bone, http://osteodiet.com/2008/01/02/10-ways-to-reverse-osteoporosis-and-build-bone/
Kangoo Jumps, http://www.kangoo-jumps.com/health
photo credit: starbounding.com