There have been a
great number of thoughts about proper exercise.
All of them have their advantages and a number of them
have not only disadvantages, but sometimes significant
disadvantages. Exercise that includes a repeated
pounding of the joints and bones of the skeletal system
is hard on the body, especially if the muscle groups are
restricted to a certain type of motion. Jogging.
for example, puts the body into very high stress loads
at the joints and does little for long range training -
unless one expects to emulate the gazelle or the workhorse.
Some of the difficulties of high impact exercise
can be negated by a shoe
designed to absorb part of the shock but many
disadvantages remain. Properly designed indoor
courts with wooden floors with a bit of give, or grass
fields can absorb some of the shock to allow the safe
use of many forms of exercise/sports. Swimming
pools can be very
beneficial, especially if inducing high
intensity and short duration exercises. But there
is another media that offers many, many
Enter the rebounder.
The lowly rebounder has been around for quite a while.
It is the product of the many benefits of trampolining reduced to a
much smaller surface area and convenient footprint.
Where normally you had to join the circus or allow your
backyard to be overtaken by a gargantuan matt suspended
by springs and gizmos, rebounding is capable of offering a low
impact, high intensity, short duration workout (IIDE) in a very
small space. All that is left is to match the best
exercise to the rebounder and you suddenly have the
equivalent of a 21st century exercise technology for
health and long life.
My personal background
includes a serous whiplash accident when I was
about 24-years old. I lived with pain most of
my adult life and initially found Vitamin C and lap swimming
to be my first alternative to Motrin, muscle relaxers and
tubs of valium of many years ago. Over the years, I
have been intrigued with the simple footprint of the
rebounder and attempted to learn how to use it, only to
injure myself time and time again. It wasn't the
rebounder itself, but my seeming need to push myself
until I finally exceeded my body's comfort. But I
never gave up on my belief that the rebounder is the
ultimate work-out vehicle.
And while the
rebounder is the ideal platform for low intensity, high
impact, short duration exercise, it took me a while to
figure out how to best use it. Not too long ago, I
was living in a high-rise building, writing 18-hour
I had a
great outside patio with great morning sun. I owned a
rebounder, had read about the importance of daily sun
and decided I could combine bouncing with getting some
early morning sun.
Sunlight is crucial to health and it turns out the sun
is one of the best means of reducing your risk for skin
cancer and other maladies. 30-minutes of sun
exposure to 60 percent of your body every day is
sufficient to produce enough vitamin D for your daily
needs. By exercising in the sun, one can
accomplish a number of goals at the same time. (Carefully
supplement with Cod Liver Oil in the
would set my cell phone alarm for 7:55 as a reminder and
slip into some short shorts with no shirt and
get my rebounder set up and bounce for 20 minutes 7 days
a week - rain or shine. I found that I could do this year round,
get a bit of a tan to offset my author pallor and build
my strength. At the time, I was unaware of High
Intensity, Short Duration exercise, but I was
accomplishing several of my goals, one of which to learn
how to use a rebounder without hurting myself.
Movement is good
Gentle bouncing is
all it takes - getting your heals several inches off the
matt is all that is required. Gentle bouncing activates one of the
best well-known benefits of rebounding: moving your
lymph which allows the cells to release their wastes and
take in new nutrients, etc. According to Wikipedia,
you have far more
lymph than blood and the lymph has no
circulatory system other than movement. Movement
is thus a good idea; circulating your lymph is a good
idea. It will keep you alive and vital much
Another of the benefits of rebounding is
that at the bottom of the bounce, you weigh
approximately twice your normal weight. Thus bone
density grows, muscle and ligament density grows and you simply
become stronger because the weight load increase requires adaptation. It has been reported
that the astronauts used the rebounder to counteract the
difficulties of space travel.
I found that
tensing my muscles as I bounced gave me something to do
while I exercised. It gave me tone, awareness of
my muscle groups and built strength. Further, I
started feeling what it felt like to be in my body.
I would bounce stiff-legged, find muscle groups to tense
and build strength. At some point I became able to
close my eyes, maintain my balance, hold tension in my
gluteals (butt) and upper legs, bounce
on my heels and meditate.
As I learned to
bounce on my heels and hold tension in my body, I would
simply steer with my toes. While many are overly
fearful of shock on their joints, the real truth is that
the ligaments and muscles protect the joints.
Otherwise, on the balls of one's feet, or bouncing with knees bent only reduces the
shock at the bottom of the bounce necessary to
I want my
body to adapt to the shock of my weight doubled at
the bottom of my bounce. I enjoy the
subtle weightlessness at the top of the bounce, all the while
my heels are not much more than several inches above
the matt and my balance is steered by my toes. My cell phone
alarm would go off again at 8:20 and I would be done.
Often, I disappeared for the whole twenty minutes.
I did this for about a year with wonderful advantages
and no disadvantages.
I have seen helper bars on rebounders. They allow
you to maintain balance as you acclimate to
the balance required to use a rebounder efficiently. From the
first day you step on a rebounder, you gain benefit.
There is no hurry and it is all cumulative. It is
said that someone with severe health challenges, to
simply sit on a rebounder while someone gently bounces
is excellent rehabilitation. The use of a balance
be the next step.
Just be careful.
There is not need to overdo it. Simply set your
cell phone alarm to remind you to do it each day
(including when to get off), get into the habit and
build on each day Be sure to take advantage of
exercising in the sun and if you are in a high-rise,
just don't exercise too close to the edge of your patio!
Low Impact, High Intensity, Short
|Heart & Lungs
|Low Impact, High
Intensity & Short Duration Exercise
|Never Say Die
It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?
New York Times
Sunday Magazine Article
Your Native Fitness
Under the Sun