A woman doing a front flip on a trampoline, her long hair trailing behind.

Photo courtesy of @kevism/Twenty20

There’s a moment, each time I’m in a rebounding class (a.k.a. cardio done on a personal-size trampoline), that reminds me why it’s all worthwhile. My heart is racing. Perspiration drips from my brow. And my legs, fatigued, grow wobbly. That is, until endorphins seem to rush through me, and I bounce back with the most glorious second wind.

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the military first discovered the value of rebounding during World War II, when they used trampolines to sharpen fighter pilots’ spacial awareness and centers-of-balance. Later, NASA jumped on board with that thinking, using trampolines in the aerobic and stability training of astronauts. 

These days, rebounder workouts are popular for their low-impact, but high-intensity, benefits. Some specifically report a 40 percent reduction in impact, the trampoline absorbing the shock that would not occur, in say, jogging. Rebound exercise is so low-impact and easy on the joints, it’s used in sports rehabilitation and on some patients with spinal-cord injuries. They likewise tap into the idea that jumping can be a mood enhancer. And it’s hard to dispute the fun-factor, since trampoline routines, often choreographed to music, feel like dancing.

A woman wearing bright red vintage sneakers jumping with a city's skyline in the background.

Photo courtesy of @canonographer1/Twenty20

That’s why you can find rebounders training physique-conscious celebrities at boutiques such as Body by Simone, frequented by Jennifer Garner, Busy Phillip’s favorite spot LEKFit, not to mention countless studios across the country. The good news is that, thanks to the popularity of on-demand workouts, you can purchase your own trampoline and subscribe to classes at the above studios from your own home. (Those on a budget need not despair: Some trampoline manufacturers also offer free, shorter videos for exercise inspo.)

ACE recently conducted a study with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, which found that mini-trampoline workouts are of moderate to vigorous intensity.” Researchers also learned that these workouts improve cardiorespiratory fitness, but don’t end up feeling as intense as they really are.

The International Journal of Sports Science takes this a step further, concluding that trampoline training is a more effective training method than traditional running training to increase maximal oxygen consumption and reducing fat percentage.” There are also claims that, by association, rebounding increases lymphatic-system circulation — though no studies seem to support this. Regardless, a good sweat always feels purifying.

At the end of the day, I gravitate back to these workouts because, as sweaty as they are, they don’t exactly feel like work. Did I crack some type of mind-body connection? That’s doubtful. But given the mental-energy boost I feel after trampoline class, it sure feels like I did.

Articles from The Natural should not be considered medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please consult a medical professional.