When George Nissen invented the trampoline in 1935 and gymnast Larry Griswold later became a gymnastic coach at the University of Iowa, the two developed a "tumbling device" Nissen first saw being used in a circus. Meanwhile, Griswold saw a greater gymnastic purpose. They called their tumbling device a trampoline, which is the Spanish word "Trampolin," that translates as "springboard," the often used nickname for a trampoline. Today trampolines are popularly used for exercise, competitions and recreational fun.
A trampoline consists of a piece of taut, strong fabric stretched between a steel frame that requires numerous coiled springs. However, all trampolines are not equipped with springs such as a spring-free trampoline constructed of glass-reinforced plastic rods.
Humans have always been attracted to activities that give them the opportunity to be airborne and to feel a sense of buoyancy and freedom a trampoline offers. Trampolines are an excellent form of exercise that can reduce stress and tension, improve endurance and are lots of fun.
Trampolines For Kids
Kids as young as five years old can enjoy bouncing on a backyard trampoline. However, younger children should be monitored by an adult. Kids can learn several types of activities on a trampoline. As they become comfortable with vertical bouncing and jumping they can learn to use front and backward tumbling rolls when they are able to reach sufficient bounce height.
Adults can start younger kids on mini trampolines sometimes called "rebounders" that are low to the ground, secure and stable and allow them to grow naturally into the larger size trampoline. A mini tramp can be used indoors or out. However, be sure the indoor area where the mini tramp is located is well padded to avoid falls and injuries. A mini tramp is excellent for adults who want cardio exercise to keep their heart rate up. Kids can do basic jumping, tumbling and straddle splits (pike jumps) on a regulation size trampoline, as well as on a learner's mini tramp.
Trampolines for Exercise
In addition to jumps, tumbling and straddle splits, there are basic exercises that include:
- Jumping jacks
- Tuck jumps
- Squat jumps
- Pike jumps
These exercises place an emphasis on stretching the limbs, twisting the torso, aiding the lungs to adapt to rapid movement and helping users increase their sensitivity to balance when the body is in motion. A trampoline is an excellent example of kinesiological exercise.
Trampoline games add to an exercise regimen. For example, toss a large ball into the air with each jump to increase coordination skills. For multiple users, tossing the ball from one to another develops team precision and an acute sense of timing because each individual must time their jump to match each team members' as they toss the ball from one to another. To differentiate this group exercise, add the element of difficulty by inserting a pike jump or twist to the game.
Don't forget to hold a "Trampoline Party" for family and friends. Invite guests to dress in comfortable exercise clothes and take part in games or just test their trampoline skills. Exercising on a trampoline as an individual or as a group can be competitive. Set exercise goals for each trampoline session to achieve maximum physical dexterity, timing, precision and coordination.
Choosing a Home Trampoline
The value of a home trampoline lies with how it will be used. A large regulation size trampoline can be rectangular in shape. Although many individuals prefer the new round models that are equipped with mesh enclosures for added safety with outdoor use.
Mini tramps can be used indoors with ceiling heights of at least 8 feet. Outdoor trampolines require a clearance adaptable to the size of the trampoline.
Choose a trampoline according to multiple uses rather than just a fun sport. That way you get full value for the cost invested. Treat the trampoline as a highly functional part of your lifestyle and that of family and friends.
A home trampoline is a relatively inexpensive way to exercise and have family fun. It may also be the inspiration for a budding family gymnast who graduates from simple trampoline exercises to forward and backward double and triple twisting somersaults, aerial cartwheels, front and back aerial walkovers with multiple twists and full body layouts. Create games and exercise with hula hoops, canes and large colorful balls for added fun and enjoyment of your home trampoline.