Can a simple rebounder (mini-trampoline) allow you to bounce your way to greater health and fitness? Let’s take a look. Rebounders have been around for a while, but have never been mainstream. Recently, I had an article sent to my email address touting the health benefits of rebounding. Since I trusted the information source, I decided to do a little research.
Turns out that there are several different companies selling various rebounders on the internet. Some with some interesting information behind them from credible people.
Some of the benefits include fat loss, increased cardiovascular fitness, improved balance and bone density, and maybe one of the most important – increased movement efficiency in your lymphatic system. Meaning, a stronger immune system to help you fight off illness and disease.
Rebounding allows you to train the cardiovascular system at the same time you strengthen your muscles. It also can be done by those with poor fitness. For those just starting out, a simple downward push into the mat, where your feet never actually leave the surface of the mat, will work.
This is called a health bounce and is enough to stimulate your lymphatic system and increase your body’s cells need for oxygen, thus moving toxins and metabolic wastes out of your tissues. After you adjust to doing this health bounce for 5-10 minutes at a time, you can increase your jumps, so that your feet leave the surface of the mat.
This initial bounce can be done daily or twice daily, if desired. I tried it out to see what it would do. Even though my feet never moved, I noticed an increase in my breathing, bringing more oxygen to my cells. A sense of relaxation and well-being is also gained. Any stress you have seems to go away, a nice bonus in today’s high stress world.
For those who may have balance issues, make sure to use a rebounder with a stabilizer bar. In addition to working your balance, your postural muscles are stimulated. Being a big posture person, this is very important. You have some muscles that are mainly involved with posture and others, usually your large muscles, that are designed to generate large forces such as running, jumping or throwing.
When you jump up and down these postural muscles are utilized to keep you upright, so while bouncing, be sure to stand up straight, enhancing your posture.
Another way you can use the rebounder is in doing a circuit. For example, I will jump up and down, trying to jump fairly high each time – both straight up and with a twist to one side or another. Then I will do something for the upper body, such as pushups or pushing and pulling on tubing attached to a pole. This way I am working my entire body, upper, lower, and midsection all in one session.
This allows you to get a time efficient workout that will burn calories and increase your metabolism at the same time. Let’s face it, many people don’t go to healthclubs because they think they have to workout for an hour and a half to two hours to lose weight. That’s simply not true!
When you combine strength training and cardio in one session, where your heart rate is elevated the entire time, you burn more calories after you stop training. This is known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) and is more important in most cases than how many calories you burn during the actual exercise session.
In addition, rebounding can be done in the privacy of your own home. No waiting in line for the cardio pieces at the gym. I worked at a large healthclub in Atlanta where during peak hours, usually on a Monday, people sometimes had to wait in line for the cardio equipment. Who has that kind of time?
Besides, walking on a treadmill for 45 minutes or more is so boring that they have to place TV’s in front of the cardio equipment at healthclubs. If I’m going to walk for that long, it has to be outside.
One study done by NASA found rebounding to be 68% more efficient than jogging. Once again, health benefits in less time. Unlike jogging, there is little to no jarring of the joints. You get the strengthening of the bones and joints without the pounding, because the mat absorbs the forces generated.
In one article I read, a man in his late sixties, lost 20 pounds by rebounding. He admitted he could stand to lose a few more pounds, but think of how much healthier you’d be after dropping that much.
Brian Morgan has been a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) since 1993. He is also a massage therapist with 5 years experience working in rehab settings with people of all ages. For more information, go to and sign up for the newsletter “Mobility for Life.”