Ever get those lightning-quick pains stabbing your knees as your feet slam into the gym floor? Wear and tear from traditional rebounding exercises -- jumping jacks and plyo plunges -- jar your joints. The higher the impact the more your knees can ache. Don't give up on the benefits of rebounding exercises, though. Check with your doctor first and then grab a mini-trampoline -- or rebounder -- for joint-friendly, heart-healthy exercise.
Bouncing on a mini-trampoline offers more than just a cardio boost. As you bounce, your brain becomes oxygenated and you're filled with renewed energy. Your body also creates endorphins when you bounce, which can make you feel lighter and happier. You don't need a costly gym membership to enjoy a knee-friendly workout, though. Calorie burning mini-trampolines are both affordable and easy to get your hands on. Many sporting good stores and retail chains sell lightweight mini-trampolines that can be stored in closets or under beds.
When you think of high-impact exercises -- running, jumping, jogging -- you might think of asphalt or treadmills. High-impact and hard surfaces go together. But mini-trampolines provide more give than hard pavement, reducing impact and placing less stress on your joints. Best of all, you can burn 290 calories rebounding per hour while watching television in your living room.
Start out by just jumping up and down, and side-to-side on the mini-trampoline to get comfortable. Hold on to the attachable bar if your model comes with it. When you're ready to try some rebounding exercises, do one-legged hops and one-legged balancing ball tosses. You'll need a partner and a ball for that last one, but each move challenges your sense of balance while toning your abs, glutes and calves. Do enough to feel tightness in these muscle groups. Don't neglect your upper body. Get down for a few sets of pushups, pushing against the trampoline's center with your arms.
Avoiding Knee Pain and Harm
Knee injuries and pain can happen with traditional rebounding exercises. Exercises that have you bouncing and jumping on hard, unforgiving surfaces can, with time, lead to arthritis and inflammation in your joints. In their book "No More Knee Pain," osteopath George Kessler and science writer Colleen J. Kapklein recommend rebounding on a mini-trampoline to help ease and prevent knee pain. Watch your landing, though. Don't fall or jump on the frame to avoid injury.
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Having studied at two top Midwestern universities, Catherine Field holds degrees in professional writing and patient safety. Writing since 2000, Field has worked with regional newspapers while publishing fiction online. She conducts medical communication research at a Midwestern medical institution and is slated to write a book based on her research findings.