Older Adults: Pick A Mini Trampoline Over Walking As Your Primary Exercise Routine
Trampolines aren't just child's play anymore. In fact, if you're an older adult, you may want to invest in a mini-trampoline, or "rebounder," because using one has benefits that are important specifically to you.
It's Low Impact, But Has High Results
A mini trampoline's flexible mat is attached to springs, so landing on one is much softer than it would be if you were jumping up and down on a floor. This lets you participate in exercises that are usually high-impact, like aerobics, without hurting your knees, hips, or ankles.
While that's a benefit to anybody, it's especially important to older adults who suffer from osteoarthritis or other age-related disorders that make getting adequate exercise difficult or painful.
In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, many older people turn to walking as a primary source of exercise. However, walking doesn't provide the same benefits that rebounding does. When using a rebounder, your entire body is engaged in a way that walking can't provide. Exercise on a rebounder improves:
- the cardiovascular system
- metabolic rate
- core body muscles
- the circulatory system
- the lymphatic system
- bone mass (density)
- back pain
- spatial awareness
Walking won't provide anywhere near that wide-reaching array of benefits, and it puts a great deal of pressure on your bones - as much as 83% more than using the rebounder.
There's no need to get fancy with your workout or remember complicated routines. Start by learning a simple bounce, which will help you burn calories and strengthen your leg muscles and back. Do this:
- Carefully get onto the rebounder and stand still, feet about 6 inches apart.
- Keeping your arms at your side, bend your elbows and make loose fists with your hands. This is the best position to maintain your balance.
- Bend your knees very slightly.
- Bounce. Gradually increase the force of your bounces, pushing off with your legs hard enough to lift around 6 inches off the platform in the rebounder with each bounce.
Start by doing this for about 5 minutes at a time, increasing the length of time by one or two minutes every few days. Gradually work at increasing the length of your endurance on the trampoline until you're able to bounce for 1/2 hour at a time.
Once you've developed a sense of coordination, and are comfortable bouncing on the rebounder, you can move onto more complex exercises.
For many people, a good exercise to expand with is one that mimics walking or running in place. The additional movement not only increases the cardiovascular value of the exercise, it helps strengthen your ability to stay balanced.
Eventually, you can add more complicated exercises, like squats, and free weights into your exercise routine - if you want. Or, you can choose to just keep bouncing, without changing a thing about your workout.
Take a lesson from your childhood: bounce around. Let your inner child out to play - it's a great way to maintain the energy and vigor of your youth while keeping your workout safe, effective, and fun.