Trampoline Jumping Can Help Kids and Teens Stay Fit

Posted 11/28/2016 | By HealthCorps

If you’re trying to get a kid or teen to exercise, it may be a discussion that falls flat.  For many kids and teens exercise is drudgery. Teens, in particular, often abandon exercise and sports activities when they enter high school. Competition can be fierce, their changing bodies may feel awkward, and girls – once puberty begins – don’t want to get “sweaty or smelly.”

We need to start thinking out of the box in order to get kids and teens engaged with fitness activities.  NASA research has confirmed that using a trampoline can be an effective workout, helping to burn calories and provide a cardiorespiratory, endurance-building workout.  It’s also a lot of fun to jump and play on a trampoline!!

The small ACE-sponsored study recruited 24 college students who were healthy and engaged with recreational activities.  Researchers established baseline fitness levels by measuring maximal heart rate and oxygen uptake on a treadmill, before the trampoline aspect of the study started.  Participants then performed thirteen minute full body workouts on the trampoline.  Every five minutes they reported “perceived levels of exertion,” and researchers also measured heart rate and oxygen uptake every sixty seconds.  The researchers approximated caloric expenditure from the data, after each thirteen minute workout.

Findings included:

  • A mini-trampoline workout is sufficient to improve endurance and burn calories.
  • Subjects’ perception was that the workout was actually easier than what their heart rate levels and oxygen uptake actually suggested.

The second finding was actually quite interesting given that many people abandon a workout that feels too long, too daunting, or boring.  So a mini-trampoline workout might be a really great exercise tool for kids and teens, offering a great workout, especially if they follow a routine (there are many programs online).  It’s also not a very expensive piece of exercise apparatus so parents might be able to invest in a mini-trampoline for the home.  It might be a viable investment for schools too.

Larger, outdoor trampolines have a higher incidence of injuries because of the large surface area and the limited ability to control movements, unless you’ve had formal training on the apparatus.  Some mini-trampolines also come with a “hold on bar,” so you can initially practice with support.

The research found that on average, male subjects burned about 11 calories per minute, while women burned about 8.3 calories per minute – a level of energy similar to running six miles per hour, biking at a level of 14 miles per hour, or playing a game like American football, basketball or even Frisbee. The researchers classified the effort as moderate to vigorous, depending on how fit the subject was.

The nice thing about using a mini-trampoline is that the learning curve is usually short. Even the most inexperienced exerciser usually feels acclimated to the apparatus pretty quickly.  The surface is also quite forgiving and, it’s a load of fun to bounce on it. It takes up little space – you can usually shove it under a bed for storage, and many of the new ones have legs that you can remove for easier storage.

So get your reluctant exercisers bouncing!!

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