Health & Fitness

Losing weight on a trampoline

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SDG gym trainer Isaack Okoth leading a trampoline class at the gym next to Koja Mosque on August 24, 2021. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

When Fred Oyugi first heard about bouncing on a trampoline, he was curious. A fitness aficionado, he wondered if these rebounding, aerobic exercises would be effective in the shedding of extra pounds and improve the body’s stability. The only to do that was to try it out.

“I was apprehensive because trampolines are for children. But I jumped right on it. Three months in, rebounding as a fat-buster is no child’s play. I’ve lost 16 kilos jumping up and down this mini-trampoline for an hour, four to five times a week. The cherry on top is that it’s so much fun,” Mr Oyugi says.

Rebounding exercises are gaining popularity as mini-trampolines find their way into gyms as fitness equipment.

The recent craze is driven by the appeal a trampoline possesses. Rebounding is an enjoyable and easy way to exercise, age-friendly and tremendously improves the body’s health and fitness levels.

“The exercises are also low-impact which means you don’t have to worry about your joints as in typical aerobic exercises like jogging and running, making them more beginner-friendly,” says Isaac Okoth, a fitness instructor at SDG Fitness in Nairobi.

For the past one year, Mr Okoth, has been offering rebounding exercises to his clients who include Mr Oyugi.

He says he had introduced mini-trampolines as a way to add variety to the aerobic exercises but was not prepared for the reception he got.

“We only have 10 trampolines and there’s not a time when the class is not full,” he says.

The benefits of rebounding exercises abound. They enhance balance and coordination, build strength, boost endurance, reduce stress levels, and increase the heart rate which in turn leads to burning more calories. Mr Oyugi also shares that these exercises can also improve knee and ankle injuries.

“Trampoline exercises mainly work on the back, legs and core,” the 31-year-old fitness instructor says. They may be low-impact but what they don’t lack in intensity. The bouncing up and down drives up oxygen intake and the force exerted back to you by the trampoline requires your core muscles to work harder to maintain balance all through the workout session. That is what makes this work out unique and exciting”

With that, the demonstration exercise session begins.

First up is a warm-up to activate the joints and the body muscles. It includes slow jumps on the trampoline, side steps and slow high knees. All participants have to do is follow the instructor, Mr Okoth, and the music which guides the tempo of the workout.

With the body juiced up, it’s time for the real workout session. I watch as the participants jump up and down the mini-trampolines. They are to follow the pace of the instructor, follow his instructions and maintain balance. Mr Okoth is not going slow on them.

Some of the exercises done include fast jogging, jumping jacks, high knees, speed punches and speed bounces. Fifteen minutes later, they are drenched in sweat with elevated heartbeats and broad smiles.

“It’s a lot of heart-pumping and balancing acts which are really good for your cardiovascular system and body balance,” reveals Mr Oyugi after the session is done. Other exercises that can be done include pelvic floor exercises, jumping twists, squat lunges among others. To make it even more challenging, you can carry weights. Furthermore, the trampoline comes in handy in working out the biceps and triceps, for core exercises like mountain climbers as well.

Mr Oyugi shares that the first few sessions of the workout are hard for newbies as one is trying to figure out the moves and body coordination. “The last 30 minutes are a lot of fun. Once you get the hang of it, you don’t want the class to end.”

In search of an interesting way to challenge her body, lose weight and keep fit, Ivy Njeri decided to try out rebounding exercises.

“At first I was scared because falling is a real possibility but the more I kept showing up, the more comfortable I got,” the 30-year-old says. As a result of bouncing up and down the mini-trampoline, Ms Njeri has lost 11 kilograms.

“Jumping on a trampoline is not your regular cardio exercise like running on a treadmill. It is an entire body workout that also requires utmost concentration. All this leads to improved health results,” she says. The employee in the hospitality industry has “grown stronger and looks better” which has gone a long way in boosting her confidence.

“Besides losing weight, I’ve been able to tone my core and legs. The flabby tummy will be history soon.”

The exercises have also brought a fun aspect to working out and are exciting because they’re always challenging her body. “It brings out the child in you. I don’t know if one can get used to or be bored of working out on a mini-trampoline. Every jump is different and tasking, calling on your focus.”

The great thing about rebounding exercises is that anyone can do them whether young or old and do not require much because they are floor exercises done on a trampoline. Trampoline prices range from Sh7,500 to Sh15,000 depending on the size.

“As a newbie, however, you might feel dizzy or light-headed,” the trainer cautions, adding that this will eventually go away as your body works to acclimatise to this new type of movement. “To avoid injuries, maintain proper form and posture and focus on the workout. A little distraction and you’re on the floor.”

Ms Njeri recommends the exercise for both pros like herself and beginners.

“For one who’s new to fitness, think of rebounding as a fun way of introducing yourself to working out. For pros, the trampoline will challenge your body in new ways which will help in breaking free from plateauing and build resistance since the body is experiencing different changes with each movement.”