The trampoline has always been the gift that keeps on giving. According to Kelly Burstow from leading Australian blog “Be A Fun Mum“, if she could only pick one piece of play equipment for her kids, it would be the trampoline. As trampolines evolve and become safer and bouncier, there is no doubt that the trampoline will remain one of those rare toys that continues to thrive and rival screens where other equipment has long since retired into the past.
So can owning a trampoline really be life-changing?
We all know kids love jumping up and down on a trampoline, but is there really any more to it than that? Well, you’d be surprised to learn just how much more there is to it! Our research into the topic showed an astonishing number of amazing benefits to owning a mini trampoline that really could change the lives of your kids and your whole family!
1. Trampolining literally makes you happy
So, why are trampolines loved so much?
It’s an interesting question, because there isn’t much to a trampoline. It’s simply a vertical bounce up and down with a few tricks thrown in for good measure (if you have the skills). Yet, it’s the simplicity of the trampoline that is the key to its success. Almost anyone can do it. There are no strict rules or time restrictions; you just jump on and the fun begins!
Relieves stress and releases endorphins
Trampolining takes a certain amount of concentration since it requires many different mental and movement processes, and it also works as fitness equipment. This can help kids (and adults alike) to reduce their levels of stress by focusing their minds on something different. It’s also a great way to have fun, and stimulates the body to naturally release endorphins, which in turn helps kids to feel happier and more at ease. This is a great method for everything from unwinding after school to reducing everyday stress levels in the home.
2. Gets kids involved in outdoor play
Fights the Screen Battle
One of the best things about owning a trampoline is that your kids can play at home. If you just want a fun play, you don’t have to head out to the park, go to a play centre, or do a paid activity. It’s not only convenient but it also means that, when you have older kids, you can be getting on with things around the house while they are occupied. It is also the ultimate alternative to spending weekends, afternoons and holidays in front of the TV or other screens for many kids. There are tons of games you can create that involve the trampoline – like adding some balloons or a sprinkler – on those days when the kids need more than a simple bounce. Government research out of the United Kingdom is showing that kids are spending less time outdoors than prisoners, which equates to less than an hour a day! A trampoline is an effective tool for parents to get kids outside and into the sunshine where they belong.
Increases Vitamin D
What’s more, getting exposure to sunlight while playing outdoors raises kids’ levels of Vitamin D, which helps protect children from future bone problems. According to the Vitamin D Council, it also helps to improve the immune system, muscle function, cardiovascular function, the respiratory system and brain development, and even has anti-cancer benefits!
3. Trampolines can help with anxiety, sensory issues, Autism and special needs
Trampolining helps people with autism, sensory issues and special needs to tackle anxiety and relieve stress. The rhythmic action of tampolining can be very soothing. It can also give kids something positive that they can do to help them calm down after a stressful incident.
Trampolining is also a great way to meet kids’ sensory stimulation requirements, giving them lots of movement to stimulate their senses, or a focused activity to do when they may feel over-stimulated elsewhere. Trampolines are particularly useful to children with Hypersensitivity to movement (under responsive) in relation to their vestibular system. (You can read more about that here.) As such, trampolines are quite commonly used in therapy for kids on the spectrum or with Sensory Processing Disorder.
For children with Autism or special needs, jumping on a trampoline can also have a positive effect on their behaviour and impulse control. Doing trampolining before school or before homework can also help to improve their concentration and focus (don’t take our word for it, give it a go!).
How Do Massage Guns Work?
The short answer: it’s not entirely clear how these devices work on the body. They may help relax sore muscles by stimulating the GTO (Golgi tendon organ), a structure within a muscle that inhibits contraction. Massage guns may also override the sensation of pain within a sore muscle in the same way you might if you rub your forehead after smacking it on a door jamb (this is what’s known as the “Gate Control Theory of Pain.”)
But the most likely mechanism of soft tissue work—whether it’s a foam roller, a massage gun, or the trained hands of a massage therapist—is neural, says performance coach and physical therapist, Dr. John Rusin. “Mostly you’re affecting your brain’s ability to sense tightness or laxity in soft tissue, whether it’s a muscle, tendon, or fascia.” The therapist’s hands (or the roller, or the mini massage gun) focuses your attention on the tight muscle allowing your brain to zero in on the tension and let it go.
Effects of Massage Guns
Early research suggests that, when performed before exercise, such as pogo stick, vibration therapy is as effective at preventing soreness as traditional massage in untrained women. Does that mean it’s “effective” at preventing or relieving soreness, period? It’s not clear.
Massage guns increase blood flow, which shuttles nutrients into the muscle while also removing blood that may have pooled in the muscles—a common occurrence, often following long periods of inactivity, that can result in swelling in the extremities. If you use the gun directly after a workout, such as magnetic bike, or exercise bike, it may facilitate the removal of metabolites—waste products—associated with exercise, which can cause burning in the muscles.
“It’s an out-with-the-bad, in-with-the-good effect,” says Rusin, similar to what you can achieve with foam rolling, yoga, and light exercise.
Best Ways to Use the Massage Gun
“With massage guns, a little goes a long way,” says San, who works with MMA fighters, NFL players, and other elite athletes. 1-2 minutes on a large muscle group—like the quadriceps—is plenty.
“You don’t want to over-stimulate the muscle,” he explains. Excessive use drives fluid into the muscle without allowing it to flow out again. “It’s a powerful tool, so keep it on a low setting.” Higher settings are reserved for truly massive folks, he explains—NFL linemen and other heavyweights.
Rusin suggests that novelty is part of the tool’s effectiveness and that the effects may diminish with frequent use. So instead of using the massager every day, rotate your approach: foam roll one day, use contrast baths on another, the massage gun on a third day, and so on.
How NOT to use a Massage Gun
“The no pain, no gain mentality is a real thing,” says Rusin. If a cool compress is good, many dedicated exercisers believe that dry ice must be better; if a soft foam roller is effective, a hard, knobby one must be more so.
This is particularly true of the massage gun. “People find areas that hurt and think that means they need to stay on them,” he says. “In fact, they may be running over a bony prominence, or a vein-artery nerve bundle.” Long-term, he says, pounding on these vulnerable areas can lead to neuropathy, numbness in the hands, and other problems.
San agrees: “The massage gun is no match for a skilled massage therapist.” It can’t tell the difference between bone, muscle, fascia, and nerve; it doesn’t know if you’re injured; it doesn’t know if a tissue is too tight or too loose.
The upshot: don’t get too trigger-happy with the professional massage gun. Avoid painful areas, and spend at most couple of minutes after a workout—or on rest days—on each muscle group. Ideally, San suggests using them as an adjunct to working with a professional massage therapist. “It complements what I’m doing,” he says.
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