Bouncing for Fun

bouncing-for-funWhat kid doesn’t love jumping on Mom and Dad’s bed or hitting the sofa with leaps and bounds? This early introduction to bouncing is actually the beginnings of a fitness program that can last through adulthood. Bouncing for fitness is becoming a popular way to release stress, get a good cardio workout, strengthen leg and torso muscles and interact in a fun, social environment.

Additionally, trampoline workouts can also result in improved balance, better performance in sports requiring multi-directional movement, enhanced coordination and weight loss.

Bouncing for Kids…

A favorite toy that has spanned generations is the Hippity Hop ball. Kids sit on it, hang on to the handle, and bounce their way across the living room or back yard. A great way to introduce children to the fun and fitness aspects of bouncing, the Hippity Hop ball is available though many retail toy outlets as well as on line.

Want to provide a measure of safety to the bounce experience? Toddlers and young children love the mini-trampoline with grab bars. Small enough for indoor use, parents can keep a watchful eye as their little ones burn off energy and get wholebody exercise.

Bounce houses are popular, and are available for in-home use as well as through commercial venues. Popular for birthday parties as well as family outings, bounce houses offer a controlled, safe environment for social interaction and beneficial play.

Chris Mannering, co-owner with his wife, Jennifer of Bounce Down Under on North Beneva Road in Sarasota, notes that bouncing is a great fitness activity. “Kids can exercise while they’re playing, and the options by age group are terrific. We cater to toddler through 13-year olds, and the bounce times usually range between 20 minutes to an hour and a half. There actually is no ‘set’ time – kids can stay as long as they like.”

“Cleanliness and security are top-of mind here,” he continued. “Kids must wear socks, and our equipment is sanitized regularly. From a safety viewpoint, we use wristbands to match children and adults as they exit the building, ensuring the safety of every kid involved.”

…and Adults

Today’s bounce houses have become more diverse to appeal to a wider audience.

Older teens and adults can challenge their skill level through new venues such as Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, located just off Bee Ridge Road near I-75 in Sarasota. Owner Paul Orsino notes that the main goal of Sky Zone is fun physical activity for everyone of all ages. “The all-trampoline walled courts are designed to provide a wide array of low-impact activities,” he says,” everything from free-style play to dodge ball to SkyRobics.”

SkyRobics combines advanced calisthenics with a three-dimensional cardio and strength training program, taking cardio to new heights. “Trampoline play really boosts the heart rate; a person can burn up to 1,000 calories per hour and you’re using muscles that are difficult to engage in traditional exercise,” says Orsino.

Backyard trampolines can be a great investment as both a training device and for family recreation, especially here in Florida where they can be used year-round. Although a convenient alternative to treks to the gym or joint-pounding running, kids and teens do need spotters and supervision when bouncing. Athletes who incorporate plyometrics and cheerleaders and gymnasts can benefit greatly through trampoline use.

Physiological Benefits of Bouncing

Bouncing uses almost every muscle and focuses specifically on the stomach, arms and legs, burning calories with every jump. In fact, you can easily burn up to 1,000 calories an hour by jumping on a trampoline- based surface. Core stability muscles are consistently engaged to help enhance balance. This type of training helps boost your metabolic rate and the ability to burn fat and calories.

Another advantage to bouncing is the fact that it is low-impact for bones and joints, making it a good choice for those who want to increase flexibility and strength without the damage that can occur with running or more high-impact activities.

Give it a Try!

Bouncing can be safely added to a kid’s exploration of movement, a fun fitness and social activity and as a family exercise experience. If you’re already physically active, it’s a great addition to your current routine as an alternative to regular workouts, as cross training is known to enhance overall fitness and help prevent repetitive stress injuries.

As always, with any change in exercise, please consult your physician before taking part in a new regimen.