If you are looking for a bit of bouncy fun outdoors, you can’t go wrong with a trampoline.
Not only do children love trampolines and will bounce on them for hours, but they are also a great way of getting kids outdoors keeping fit and away from the TV screen. For adults, too, they are an exceedingly effective way to exercise as they work every area of the body, in particular the stomach. Ever since trampolining was invented in the 1930s, all kinds of sports-people – as well as pilots and astronauts – have used trampolines to hone their skills. Gymnasts, wake-boarders, divers and cross-country skiers all use trampolines to train and they are now hugely popular with adults as a home-exercise medium too, with celebrities like Posh Spice and Madonna big fans of rebounding, which is bouncing on a mini-trampoline.
Who invented trampolining?
The trampoline was invented by American gym enthusiast George Nissen in the 1930s. George took a team of acrobats with him to promote his new invention around the world. Gradually the sport gained recognition worldwide and was finally admitted to the Olympics at Sydney in 2000. A competitive trampoline always uses a rectangular sprung bed of 14ft x 7ft and a routine consists of 10 contacts with the bed with a maximum jump height of 10m. Moves are mostly either tucked, piked or straight. Home-use trampolines, however, tend to be round.
What are the benefits of trampolining?
Trampolining is probably the easiest way to increase activity levels in children. The Government recommends that children do at least an hour’s physical activity a day and with three in 10 kids either overweight or obese, trampolining is a fun way to improve children‘s health by doing something they all enjoy. Described by NASA as ‘the most efficient and effective exercise yet devised by man’ it burns up to 200 calories an hour and has a huge range of health benefits. It improves balance, coordination and posture, it helps lymphatic drainage – getting rid of toxins from the body – and it is extremely effective at strengthening and toning muscles, increasing energy levels and even digestion. It is also ideal for people with joint problems, arthritis and the overweight and is now being used as very effective therapy for people with special needs.
Any tips when buying a trampoline?
First, think about the size of ‘safe’ ground you have available. You need a flat, preferably grassed circle with a clear space of 18in around it. You should measure this circle before you buy. Most people like to buy as big a trampoline as possible – dependent on budget – so that all members of the family can use it and to allow for growth as children get bigger.
Second, always choose a trampoline with a safety enclosure to minimise the risk of falling off. A ladder is advisable too as it offers safe access for all ages. An all-weather cover will help protect it and an anchor kit will stop it blowing away in bad weather and avoid the potential risk of damaging both the trampoline, your home and other property.
Third, a better quality trampoline may not be the cheapest but it will last the longest. Features to look out for are: a galvanised steel frame to avoid rust and T-joints rather than welded joints to avoid cracking; a Permatron Polypropylene UV resistant bounce mat designed for strength and comfort and to stand up to prolonged exposure to sunlight; and a manufacturer’s weight limit that is appropriate for the use it will receive.
Fourth, make sure you get home delivery as trampoline flat-packs are large and heavy. The delivery person may need assistance carrying it to the garden and if it’s not going to be erected straight away, make sure a secure, dry storage space is available.
And finally, make sure you buy from a reputable supplier, preferably a trampoline specialist who can help with any questions you may have and be able to supply any replacement parts you may need in years to come.
Where can I go trampolining?
You can either trampoline with qualified supervision at a club, or at home on your own trampoline (see below for buying advice). For contact details of the 400 plus competitive clubs nationwide see the club map on www.nightflyers.co.uk or for purely fun classes for children try your local leisure centre as many are now offering children’s sessions for tots as young as two.
Buy your own outdoor trampolines
If you are thinking of buying your own outdoor trampoline for the garden, you will need to think about how big you want it. You can buy side guard netting to reduce the chance of bouncing off and getting injured. Make sure you buy a trampoline that is suitable for adults and kids alike. Adults have a tendency to break them.
You can find out more about buying a trampoline online by visiting the Amazon Trampoline buying guide