How and Why Rebounding Works
The primary reason that rebounding is such an effective type of exercise capable of providing so many health benefits is the combination of gravity and weightlessness that occurs while jumping on the mini-trampoline. As you begin to rebound, gravity exerts itself, pulling you downward, but as you touch down on the trampoline pad, you are immediately sprung upward into a momentary state of weightlessness. Researchers estimate that during each downward-upward-downward motion between 2-4 G (for gravity) forces are exerted on your body. The end result of this is that your body reacts as if it's carrying a heavy weight. But no strain is involved since the effect is so fleeting. Nonetheless, the overall effect starts a cascade of physical benefits.
According to NASA scientists who have studied the physiological effects of regular rebounding exercise, the temporary exertion of G forces caused during the exercise stimulates the body's lymphatic system while optimizing both blood circulation and the ability of your body's soft tissues and muscles to receive and use oxygen.
The effects on the lymphatic system are particularly impressive. The lymphatic system acts as the body's filtration system, and is responsible for ridding the body of toxins, dead cells and other cellular debris, heavy metals, and harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. In this capacity, the lymphatic system plays a key role in assisting the body's immune system. All too often, however, the lymph system becomes congested and clogged, causing a toxic buildup of the above substances that can ultimately lead to disease, many of which are quite serious. Further compounding the likelihood of this happening is the fact that, unlike the body's circulatory system, for which the heart acts like a pump of the blood, the lymphatic system has no such pump to ensure proper lymph flow and thus needs to be stimulated by exercise. Research has shown that rebounding is without question the most effective means of achieving this stimulation, which in turn accelerates the body's ability to eliminate toxins, germs, and waste products. This, in turn, leads to improved immune function.
Other Benefits of Rebounding
Researchers have identified as many as 30 health benefits provided by regular rebound exercise. They include: improved energy, strengthening of the heart muscle and overall cardiovascular system, improved circulation, reduced blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, increased production of red blood cells, improved oxygenation of cells and tissues (meaning cells and tissues receive more oxygen), increased respiration, improved metabolism, improved muscle strength and muscle tone, improved coordination, improved mental function, improved digestion and elimination, and reduced body fat.
Rebounding is easy to incorporate into your daily lifestyle, and the benefits it provides can be achieved in as little as five minutes a day. All you need is regular access to a mini-trampoline, which typically range in price from $99-$300, and are often available at sporting goods stores. (They can also be ordered online. Do a search for the term "rebounding exercise.") When selecting a rebounder, be sure that it is sturdy (good models will support a 300-pound person) and stands low enough so that you will not hit your head on the ceiling as you bounce (units that stand 10 inches off the ground are a good choice). Also be sure that the trampoline pad is supported by sturdy springs that are not connected directly to the frame. This will ensure a better and gentler bouncing action.
Once you've acquired a rebounder, the next step is simply to use it. Because of how gentle rebounding is, it is a safe exercise for just about anyone, regardless of their age or condition. (Health benefits can even be achieved by bouncing while sitting on the edge of the rebounder.) Some models also come with a support bar that you can hold onto as you bounce. Once you're on it, just start bouncing. Initially, you may want to only do so for a few minutes, but as you get used to it, try to aim for at least 5 to 10 minutes per day. After a few weeks, most likely you'll find rebounding to be one of the most fun and effective forms of exercise you'll ever do.