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Rebounding is an exercise I do daily, but I must admit that when I first heard about it, the idea sounded crazy. If you aren’t familiar with it, rebounding is basically jumping on a mini trampoline either in gentle bounces where your feet don’t leave the trampoline or in complete jumps where you rise 6 inches from the surface.
Glad you asked. Turns out that there are many benefits to rebounding (including NASA’s research showing that rebounding can be more than twice as effective as treadmill running).
The idea of rebounding has been around for a long time, but it gained popularity in the 1980s when NASA studied its benefits while trying to find an effective way to help astronauts recover and regain bone and muscle mass after being in space. Astronauts can lose as much as 15% of their bone and muscle mass from only 14 days at zero gravity, so NASA needed a way to help reverse this damage.
Some of the findings of the NASA study:
- When the astronauts were tested while running on a treadmill, the G-force measured at the ankle was over twice what it was at the back and head. This means that the foot and leg absorb much of the force when running, which can explain the higher rates of foot, shin and knee problems from running (especially running incorrectly). On a trampoline, the G-force was almost identical at the ankle, back and head and at a lower level than that of the G-force at the ankle on a treadmill. This shows that rebounding can exercise the entire body without excess pressure to the feet and legs.
- “The external work output at equivalent levels of oxygen uptake were significantly greater while trampolining than running. The greatest difference was about 68%.” In other words, the increased G-force in rebounding means you get more benefit with less oxygen used and less exertion on the heart.
- ” . . averting the deconditioning that occurs during the immobilization of bed rest or space flight, due to a lack of gravireceptor stimulation (in addition to other factors), requires an acceleration profile that can be delivered at a relatively low metabolic cost. . .for equivalent metabolic cost, and acceleration profile from jumping will provide greater stimuli to gravireceptors.” In other words, the acceleration and deceleration of rebounding provides benefits on a cellular level and at a greater rate than other forms of exercise like running.
How Rebounding Works
Many types of exercise are done to target specific muscles or just to increase cardiovascular function. Rebounding is unique since it uses the forces of acceleration and deceleration and can work on every cell in the body in a unique way.
When you bounce on a rebounder (mini-trampoline), several actions happen:
- An acceleration action as you bounce upward
- A split-second weightless pause at the top
- A deceleration at an increased G-force
- Impact to the rebounder
The action of rebounding makes use of the increased G-force from gravity based exercises like this and each cell in the body has to respond to the acceleration and deceleration. The up and down motion is beneficial for the lymphatic system since it runs in a vertical direction in the body.
Another study showed that the increased G-force helped increase Lymphocyte activity. The lymph system transports immune cells throughout the body and supports immune function. For this reason, rebounding is often suggested as a detoxifying and immune boosting activity.
Rebounding, since it affects each cell in the body, can also increase cell energy and mitochondrial function.
One of the major benefits of rebounding is its benefit to the skeletal system. Just as astronauts lose bone mass in space as a response to the decreased need for strong bones in a zero gravity environment, weight bearing exercise increases bone mass. Rebounding is especially effective at this since it increases the weight supported by the skeletal system with the increased G-force of jumping.
James White, Ph.D., director of research and rehabilitation in the physical education department at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), has explained how jumping for health offers a true physical strengthening effect to the muscles.
“Rebounding allows the muscles to go through the full range of motion at equal force. It helps people learn to shift their weight properly and to be aware of body positions and balance,” says White.
An advocate of rebounding for athletic conditioning, White uses the rebounder in his rehabilitation program at UCSD. “When you jump, jog, and twist on this [jumping] device, you can exercise for hours without getting tired. It’s great practice for skiing, it improves your tennis stroke, and it’s a good way to burn off calories and lose weight,” says White. (source)
Benefits of Rebounding
I mentioned many of these above, but here are the benefits of rebounding without all the science and sources:
- Boosts lymphatic drainage and immune function
- Great for skeletal system and increasing bone mass
- Helps improve digestion
- More than twice as effective as running without the extra stress on the ankles and knees
- Increases endurance on a cellular level by stimulating mitochondrial production (these are responsible for cell energy)
- Helps improve balance by stimulating the vestibule in the middle ear
- Helps improve the effects of other exercise- one study found that those who rebounded for 30 seconds between weight lifting sets saw 25% more improvement after 12 weeks than those who did not.
- Rebounding helps circulate oxygen throughout the body to increase energy.
- Rebounding in a whole body exercise that improves muscle tone throughout the body.
- Some sources claim that the unique motion of rebounding can also help support the thyroid and adrenals.
- Rebounding is fun!
How to Start Rebounding
Essentially, it is as easy as starting to bounce daily. Most sources I’ve seen recommend rebounding for 15 minutes or more a day, though this can be broken in to multiple 3-5 minute groups.
Though rebounding is a gentle activity, it is best to start with feet on the rebounder and only gentle jumps and work up to jumping with feet leaving the rebounder.
Personally, I jump on the rebounder for a few minutes when I wake up, then dry brush my skin (both are good for avoiding cellulite) and then shower. I also jump on the rebounder a few times a day when I remember. I keep it in my bedroom, so I usually remember when I go in my room to fold laundry or change clothes.
There are a lot of different models of rebounders to choose from. The more expensive models are supposed to have better springs to reduce the impact to joints, but any small trampoline will work. Here are a few I’ve personally tried:
- This Needak Rebounder (the one in my room)
- This Jump Sport Rebounder (a little cheaper) – One of my friends’ favorites.
- A Stamina 36 inch Rebounder (cheapest option, only $59) – Another friend has one of these and likes it a lot.
Ever tried rebounding? Will you give it a go? Tell me below!
Discussion (212 Comments)
Thats it – I need a trampoline!!
Long story short, I was at this trade show for toys (like, kids toys, like I said, long story) but there was a trampoline company, and I spend a few minutes jumping around while all of the other “professional” types wandered by talking business…
I do not have the slightest doubt that I had a better day than anyone who didn’t jump on that trampoline.
And now I have been reminded of how desperately I want a trampoline.
How far along in pregnancy is this recommended to start?
Quick question – does it have to be a mini trampoline, or could you just use the general family trampoline with the same results?
Katie - Wellness Mama
It can be a regular trampoline, you just will only try to bounce about 6 inches above the trampoline.
Great article. Can you rebound on a large outdoor trampoline ? Does it have the same benefits?
Katie - Wellness Mama
Yes, you’ll just want to only bounce about six inches.
This is something I know I would have loved prior to my pelvic floor issues! I’ve been working on strengthening that area and have no leakage issues any more (I have a grade 1 bladder prolapse) but sadly this would probably not work for me. Any thoughts?
Katie - Wellness Mama
Have you looked at Katy Bowman’s info? Google Aligned and Well or Katy Says. She does a lot with pelvic floor health and her info has been really helpful for several people I know with similar issues.
Katy is a brilliant mind and has great information, but you might also be interested in this article that I recently wrote (and re-vamped with a step-by-step how-to)… https://femfusionfitness.com/rebounding/
This is written from my perspective as a women’s health physical therapist and women’s fitness instructor. I hope it gives you a place from which you can start!
First, I love rebounding, and don’t know how to advise you re: the prolapse issue and rebounding, BUT my mom had a prolapsed uterus and opted for the operation (hysterectomy, removal, cutting-healing, etc)… and at that time a naturopath friend of mine told me it was unneccessary for her to do that… that one very helpful thing she could have done was lying on a slant bed or using an inversion table. Both things that I have used and enjoy. Do some of your own searching and give it a try. Wish you the best. 🙂
Do you think the cheapest option you listed will have the same positive health effects as the expensive one? Was wondering if a cheaper rebounder could possibly cause more joint pain.
Katie - Wellness Mama
It should definitely have most of the benefits, I would just start slowly with the gentle bounce and work up to a real bounce.
Did you “bounce” while you were pregnant? I was thinking this may be a good low impact way to burn some calories while pregnant. I can’t find too much info about bouncing and pregnancy. If you have a minute, would you respond? Thanks!
I did, but very gently. I’d check with a doc or midwife to be sure though, and to make sure there isn’t any reason you shouldn’t (placenta issue, etc)
Hi, I’m wondering if rebounding can be done even though I have a partial pelvic prolapse. I avoid running for this reason (as well as others). Any type of bouncing leaks urine in a lot of women who have had babies. Ideas?
Hi Suzy, I hope you don’t mind me popping in with a comment but I wanted to let you know that I have clinical experience working with women who have pelvic organ prolapse (I’m a women’s health physical therapist, currently focusing on women’s fitness instruction) and I recently wrote a blog post about rebounding! If you’re interested: https://femfusionfitness.com/rebounding/
Thanks! Great video.
I love the idea of “zipping up the mom jeans”. I’ve had 7 children, and have had incontinence issues for years. I thought I couldn’t rebound because of leakage, but I was determined, so I started out by wearing an incontinence pad. I found that as I became more fit and my pelvic floor became stronger, I stopped leaking! I am finally able to rebound without a problem, but I do need to remember to “tighten up” first.
hello! thanks for this great post. I have been wondering about rebounding! I just bought one! I have a question though, do you just bounce up and down? they had all kinds of different work out videos on amazon and I was just wondering what type of rebounding you do? thanks!
Katie - Wellness Mama
I just bounce up and down and usually move my arms up and down like a jumping jack
Can you use the rebounder if you have had Achilles tendon repairs? Thank you. Linda
I have ankle problems and it is much easier on my ankle than walking on my treadmill. I’ve bought a Vatalizer mini trampoline from my neighbor. She said she paid $75 for it new 30 years ago, so I hope it is a good brand. I have had it 1 month, and so far I love bouncing! It makes me feel energized, like the article suggests, I don’t have to bounce for over 15-20 minutes to feel the effects. Thanks for the article!
My daughter and I love to jump on our full size trampoline in the backyard. Any idea if I’m getting the same health benefits as I would on a smaller trampoline?
Katie - Wellness Mama
Yep, you’ll just want to gently bounce for up to 15 minutes
The bounce on a large trampoline is actually much better healthwise, than on a small rebounder, because the bounce is so much softer and deeper as trampolines have a whole lot more give. If you get a rebounder, be sure to get one with a very soft bounce. The more springs there are, the better the bounce. The firm rebounders with very little give are hard on the skull, because they can cause a jarring sensation over and over again. That doesn’t happen with a mat that has a lot of give.
Wrong. The trick is to NOT buy one from a sporting goods store. You need a quality rebounder designed for daily use and gym quality such as a celleriser (sorry if spelling is wrong), Needak or a similar quality brand. Even the Bellicon which is by far the most expensive and not really designed for workouts like a spring based rebounder is. The reason why is because large trampolines do not give you the bounce per minute that the rebounders do and that is part of the magic of a rebounder so next time do your research.
O yes did does I bought a rebounder bellicon far better than anyone out there .
I agree Annette. After trying a friend’s Bellicon and doing a lot of research- and having had ceased rebounding long ago after owning a cheap, squeaky spring rebounder- I bought a Bellicon. It is the creme de la creme of rebounders in my opinion. It’s German workmanship and worth every penny. It stands much higher off the floor, feels like you’re jumping on a happy cloud and is virtually silent, save the thud of your feet on the mat. It actually makes me happy.
I have a bellicon they are the best!!! ?it!!
I got my Needak back in the early 80s, still use it regularly in just a few minutes actually. The only wear on it in all these years is just to the cover on the rim caused when moving from one house to another.
Why so triggered, Valerie? You don’t need to be condescending towards Terry to prove your point.
I love my Rebounder too! It’s such a way to get the blood (and lymph) flowing. Great idea to do it in small bouts throughout the day!
Brilliant – i have been thinking about getting a mini trampoline as i love playing on kids ones and get a workout from them! Didnt realise the other health benefits it had – amazing how healing moving can be. Just need to find space for it in my house somewhere….