Bounce and hop your way to better health on a trampoline

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NEW YORK – Dr John P. Porcari is a bit of a reality-television show junkie.

When he wants to work out, the retired professor of sports and exercise science from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse watches Alaska: The Last Frontier (2011 to present) or Naked And Afraid (2013 to present) while bouncing on a mini trampoline.

The global market for trampolines is anticipated to rise to US$4.1 billion (S$5.4 billion) by 2027, up from an estimated US$2.9 billion in 2020.

Despite its exploding popularity – fuelled in part by the pandemic, when demand for mini trampolines skyrocketed amid gym closures – the trampoline still seems more like a kid’s toy than a legitimate workout tool.

But a growing body of recent research suggests that trampolining (also known as rebounding) is an impressively effective, efficient mode of exercise.

In one 2016 study Dr Porcari conducted for the American Council on Exercise, 24 college students jumped on mini trampolines for six months.

During each 19-minute workout, men burned an average of 12.4 calories a minute, while women burned 9.4 calories a minute, similar to running 9.7kmh on flat ground. Yet, the participants rated their effort on the trampoline as lower than one would expect for that level of exertion.

In short, Dr Porcari said, they were having too much fun to notice.

Though there are few large, high-quality studies on trampolining, the studies that exist suggest it improves balance, cardiovascular fitness and pelvic-floor musculature, all while being gentler on the joints than higher-impact forms of exercise.

Here is what the experts say about trampoline workouts and how to get started.

Improve your balance

In addition to being a cardiovascular workout, bouncing is “fantastic” for balance as it builds muscles in your feet, ankles and calves, Dr Porcari said. This is particularly important as people age and their risk of falling goes up.

Another study, published in 2011, suggested that jumping on a mini trampoline can specifically improve dynamic balance – the type of balance required when you ar...

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