Friday, January 28, 2011

Trampoline as a fitness tool? You better believe it

Pretty much anyone who has experienced youth has experienced trampolines at one point or another.

Remember that friend down the block that had a big one in their backyard? Or maybe it was a small one you had in the basement, which you then placed at the bottom of the staircase for Lord-knows-what kind of stunts when your parents weren't home. (note: I'm not saying the latter was me, I'm just speaking hypothetically ... mostly)

Whatever the case, trampolines are about as much a part of being young as action figures and Super Soakers. It's not without good reason either. I mean, who didn't enjoy trying to land back flips on a trampoline during a warm summer day when they were young?

Well, as it turns out, trampolines aren't just fun for kids. They're also a pretty nifty workout tool.

I stumbled across this article when I was working last week about how trampolines have become a hot new fitness trend. Supposedly, trampolines have a lot of the same cardio benefits as jogging, only without the wear and tear on your joints. According to the article, you can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour working out on a trampoline (equivalent to what you'd burn running or biking at a good clip).

Trampolines also offer a lot of benefits beyond what you'd get from biking or running. It also increases flexibility, improves balance and fine-tunes coordination because the unstable rebounding motion forces the body to become more aware of its surroundings.

The article lists a host of different trampoline classes going on across the country, including a trampoline dodgeball tournament in San Francisco (admit it, part of you REALLY wants to try playing that). Further digging reveals websites like this one where you can purchase fitness-oriented trampolines for home workouts.

Fair warning about trampolines: They can be dangerous if you start trying to get too elaborate with jumps. I've had my fair share of awkward landings on them, and as this Simpsons clip would indicate, they're nothing to mess around with.

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