If you’re over slogging it on a treadmill or strapping into spin, the new trampolining workouts promise to detoxify, flush fat and make you have fun in the process
Get in touch with your inner child!” roars celebrity shapeshifter Simone De La Rue from her West Hollywood studio. While her Australian twang is mildly comforting to this Sydneysider, her booming voice is unfathomably intact for someone who has been simultaneously jumping on a trampoline and yelling for the better part of an hour. “Have fun, don’t forget to smile!” Maybe I could have benefitted from a reminder to breathe, but I didn’t need one to smile because I already was – the positive vibes in the room were palpable.
I’m bouncing my way through my first Body By Simone Tramp Cardio class, a choreographed session that sees you running, jumping, dancing and panting on a revamped ’80s-style mini trampoline called a rebounder. It’s hard, fast and fun, despite the preconceived dag-factor. “I’m trying to make trampolining cool again because it’s a perfect workout for anyone with injuries, it’s amazing for weight loss, it’s a great core workout and it really kicks the heart rate up,” says De La Rue, who has been espousing the benefits of bouncing since opening her first US studio in 2011.
Australians are jumping away the bulge, too – Bounce Inc has kicked off fitness classes at its trampoline parks across the country. Unlike with De La Rue’s rebounders, any hope of being cool and coordinated on a giant trampoline is quickly dashed, and unlike some other gym classes, so is the competitive atmosphere. “Our Bounce Fit customers genuinely love coming to classes, which is hard to say for a lot of exercise options,” says Liam Dempsey, head of programs at Bounce Inc. There are no mirrors, no clocks, no unspoken hierarchy and no intimidating regulars, because essentially there’s no way to be “good” at running across a giant trampoline in seven seconds flat. “I’d challenge anyone
to spend some time on a trampoline without laughing or smiling.”
Fun aside, tramp fans regularly tout the fitness benefits uncovered by NASA, which found that bouncing on a trampoline is 68 per cent more effective for cardiovascular health and fat-burning than running. Used by astronauts whose fitness had diminished after prolonged periods of weightlessness in space, the research showed rebounding was softer on joints, too, with impact pressure evenly distributed across the body rather than hitting the ankles like other forms of cardio. NASA also noticed that rebounding strengthened the bone density that astronauts lost after months of zero-gravity life – and it’s just as physically effective for us regular folk back down on earth.
“When we rebound there is an acceleration and deceleration that happens on each jump and this increase in g-force puts just enough pressure on bones in order to stimulate them to produce new cells to replace old ones and absorb calcium, making bones stronger and halting the impacts of osteoporosis,” explains body alignment specialist Lauren Roxburgh. “The g-force also helps to increase proprioception [body awareness], while internally lifting and strengthening the pelvic floor.”
It’s also believed that the balance and coordination that bouncing calls for can decrease memory loss and boost brain functioning. “When jumping in the air, both sides of the brain are activated and working, meaning both sides of the body must work in unison to maintain coordination and balance. This improves motor skills and control,” says Ebony Ablett-johnstone, team leader at Bounce Inc. “After this type of workout, which demands so much of the brain, the brain is more stimulated and engaged. As well as having better resources of oxygen flowing through, this leads to a more productive and healthy life.”
If you’re more of a live-for-the-now kind of person, trampolining also trumps other forms of fitness in the detox and digestion department. “The up and down g-force acts like a gentle massage to the organs, activating every cell in your body and boosting the lymphatic system,” says Roxburgh, referring to what she calls “the garbage disposal of the body”, and the key to trampolining’s fat-flushing prowess. “Researchers believe that the circulation of lymphatic fluid increases during changes in [the] gravitational pull on your body – which helps to flush toxins and fat more efficiently. So as you bounce on the rebounder, the increased g-force that occurs each time you land is thought to cause a surge of lymphatic drainage, boosting immunity, improving circulation and digestion, helping flush toxins from your body and even reducing cellulite.”
While bouncing won’t see you dropping multiple dress sizes in a week, Roxburgh says her routine of dry-body brushing, followed by foam rolling, rebounding and an infra-red sauna or hot salt bath is a killer combination to torch those last stubborn kilos. “We all have a beautiful musculature underneath the fat, so what we have to do is clear that fat in the most efficient way possible,” she says, adding that a stressedout nervous system will never let you lose weight, no matter how much you restrict your kilojoule intake. “Rebounding reduces stress and, when you release stress, your nervous system calms down, you make better food choices, your energy is flowing, your chi is flowing and your metabolism is more enhanced because you’re breathing better. It’s the most miraculous cardio workout available.”
And it’s not just the increased circulation that will make your skin glow, that g-force from jumping has an anti-ageing effect, too. “Research has shown with repeated exposure the cell membrane thickens, thus becomes firmer and gains elasticity,” says Ablett-johnstone. “Your skin is a community of cells, therefore consistent use of a trampoline will firm up your skin and give you that naturally more elastic feel.” Go ahead and jump.