Have you ever noticed how happy babies are when they simply hold onto something, and just bounce? As an adult, I’m now as happy as a baby all over again, because I have discovered bouncing (aka rebounding). Rebounding is a term used to describe bouncing, jumping, running and other forms of exercise on a mini-trampoline, also known as a rebounder. Rebounding is beyond what most of us have come to know as a full body work. Some of the benefits of rebounding include:
- Strengthens bones
- Low impact on joints
- Strengthens core
- Strengthens the heart muscle
- Improved digestion
- Weight loss
- Improves balance and posture
- Promotes sleep
- Balances nervous system
Rebounding is also known to stimulate all internal organs. When you jump on a rebounder, you are working against constant gravitational pressure. Every time you land, every cell in your body contracts, which helps to pull waste from the cells. In return, your cells are fed oxygen and nutrients from the blood stream. The up and down motion of rebounding also activates the lymphatic system, which is the garbage can in the body.
Everything that is bad for you, such as heavy metals and other toxins get filtered out through the lymphatic system. Unlike blood that gets pumped by the heart, your lymphatic system has no pump. The lymphatic system requires movement to activate the flow of lymph, and human beings have more lymph in their bodies than blood.
I had the opportunity to meet with Joanne Schmalenberger, who runs GravOxy Fitness Studio in the Boston area which, as the name suggests, incorporates gravity and oxygen into wellness. Schmalenberger has been working with rebounders since the early 80s and she is trained in reboundology.
OSM: What first attracted you to rebounding?
JS: Having a dance background but not liking gym class in high school, I wanted something that incorporated movement and fun. When I was first introduced to rebounding I thought it was too one dimensional and stationary and just involved jumping up and down. Boy was I wrong! You can run, kick, dance and do every kind of movement on the rebounder all while achieving a full body workout that’s low impact on the joints. And it’s fun!
OSM: What are some of the health benefits of the rebounder, beyond just fitness?
JS: There is no other machine that harnesses gravity the way the rebounder does. When you jump up you’re weightless, but when you land you’re two to three times more than your actual body weight, this puts positive stress on the body. It’s also cellular, and every single cell gets oxygenated, and strengthened, at the same time. It cleanses your whole entire lymphatic system in two minutes.
OSM: What effects does it have on the nervous system?
JS: Rebounding calms the nervous system. At the end of a quality rebounding session done correctly, you will feel like you just did yoga and had a massage, and just want to walk down the street singing. Just like any other sports modality, your intentions have to be clear when rebounding (I want to cleanse, I want to relax, I want to balance). You can also rebound to loud jarring music and just focus on the physical element, and have it disrupt the nervous system.
OSM: Does it work well with the elderly?
JS: I do a system with them called the buddy bounce that even works with someone in a wheel chair. Each person starts off with a time that works for them. Sometimes it might be as little as 15 seconds. I check their oxygen levels during the process. They find it very powerful because not only is it medicinal, but it’s fun.
OSM: How well does this work with people with injuries and illnesses?
JS: Very well, it’s extremely easy on the joints, and movement is still important to everyone. I have a client with MS that sits in a chair all day, so when we meet, I sit him on the massage table while I stand on the rebounder, I hold his hands while bouncing. You should see his eyes light up, he always wants more, more,more because the body needs the movement
OSM: What makes a rebounder ‘good’? I recently purchased one for about $60 in a sporting goods store. Will I be able to get all the benefits you discussed?
JS: No! You want to research getting a quality rebounder. There is also a proper technique that goes along with rebounding to ensure your body is in alignment and you’re getting all the benefits.
OSM: Is it true that you set up a rebounding station at The Boston Marathon?
JS: Yes! I have been doing this for the past 18 years.
So now do you want to rebound? I know I do. I will do a 30-day rebounding challenge starting mid-September with Joanne as my coach via SKYPE. She will share tips, and routines so I can get the full benefits from my daily rebounding. We will also discuss the benefits of the quality rebounder I will be using for this challenge as opposed to my $60 inferior version.
For more information on Joanne Schmalenberger, please visit the GravOxy Fitness Studio website.
Follow me on Twitter or Instagram for daily check ins for this challenge starting Sept. 21, and stay tuned for my follow up article in October. Happy bouncing!