Menopause Kuel Category Expert: Lorraine Miano
Before we get into just exactly what “rebounding” is, I wanted to share some startling statistics with you. Osteoporosis has reached epidemic levels in the United States. This is a condition that causes bones to weaken and gradually become thin. Osteoporosis actually means “porous bones” and can ultimately leave bones susceptible to fractures.
Did you know that estrogen is a hormone in women that protects bones? This explains why as women reach menopause, and their estrogen levels decline, they are at a higher risk for bone loss. This coupled with the fact that women’s bones are lighter and less dense makes them more susceptible to osteoporosis.
Facts From The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF.org):
- Being female puts you at risk of developing osteoporosis and broken bones.
- Of the estimated 10 million Americans with Osteoporosis, about 8 million or 80% are women.
- Approximately, one in two women over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
- A woman’s risk of breaking a hip is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.
Since we, as women, statistically have a greater risk of low bone mass and ultimately osteoporosis, it is time to pay attention (no matter your age: 20 or 50) and take preventative measures now to care for your precious bones. You’ll discover all types of useful information at NOF.org on prevention, from nutrition to exercises.
For this article I’d like to concentrate on a specific exercise that has been studied by N.A.S.A. and published in a scientific study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology 49(5):881-887, 1980.
So, What Exactly Is Rebounding?
“NASA found, through research, that jumping on a trampoline helped astronauts once they returned from space to regain muscle mass and bone density.”
What is especially wonderful about this type of exercise, is that while you are working leg muscles, and building endurance, as well as bone density, rebounding is gentle on your joints and gives you a great cardio work out without stressing your body. It is truly low impact and a fantastic work out for people of all ages. The benefits are numerous. Rebounding is a type of cardio/aerobic exercise performed on a mini trampoline. It has been around for over 50 years, but became more popular after NASA found, through research, that jumping on a trampoline helped astronauts once they returned from space to regain muscle mass and bone density.
Specifically, for perimenopause and menopausal women, the following list of benefits could support our endocrine system and hormone balance, as well as prevent the possibility of osteoporosis in our post-menopausal years.
8 Benefits Of Rebounding:
- It stimulates the lymphatic system leading to your body eliminating toxins, bacteria and other waste products. Think detox! Great for our hormone balance.
- Rebounding helps with improving balance, coordination and motor skills. This is extremely important as we get older. Improved balance and coordination could prevent falls and fractures, and keep us living at home longer.
- It may even support pelvic floor health according to anecdotal reports, since bouncing works deep core muscles. This could potentially help with urinary incontinence and stabilize hip joints. (see important info on Pelvic floor issues under “Safety Info” below)
- Since bouncing puts small amounts of pressure on bones, this helps them grow stronger leading to better bone density, bone strength and bone formation, while decreasing bone resorption. This is significant in the prevention of osteoporosis, as well as helping women who may already have it.
- Boosts oxygen levels which can lead to anti-aging!
- It works your whole body and benefits the body at a cellular level at a greater rate than other types of exercise! All of this with less pressure on your legs and feet.
- It boosts your Happy Hormones!
- It makes you feel like a kid again!
So How Do You Get Started?
First, of course, you’ll need a Rebounder/Mini Trampoline. The following is what to look for when purchasing (I’ll also share my recommendation below):
- Purchase a rebounder that supports an adult weight of at least 200-250 lbs.
- Circumference should be between 36-48 inches
- The rebounder should have sturdy and stable legs.
- It should have strong springs (or look for a rebounder with “quiet” bounce…this type has more of a bungee cord type spring).
- If you have limited space, look for one that is “foldable” and “portable”
- I highly recommend purchasing one with a removable stabilizing bar. If you are klutzy like me, this could help prevent unintended launches off the trampoline! Ha-ha. Once you gain more balance and coordination you can always remove it.
My Personal Favorite!
Here’s a link to the rebounder shown, if you are interested. It’s my affiliate link and I do get a small commission from orders placed.
Simple Exercises To Get Started!
Time to warm up! Remember, take it slow in the beginning. You might not feel sure footed. Some women may even feel a bit dizzy in the very beginning. You won’t need to jump very high, just one to two inches will do. Just take a few simple jumps pushing down into the trampoline.
Jog in Place: Either keep your back straight or lean slightly back and lift your knees one at a time. If you are a beginner, just lift your knees a couple of inches, and hold on to your bar if you feel unstable. If you feel comfortable, pump your arms up and down at your sides (just as if you were running). Later you can advance to widening your stance and moving around on the rebounder.
Jumping Jacks: These are slightly different than normal Jumping Jacks on the floor. Lean slightly forward and stomp down on the rebounder while moving your legs in and out. Your arms should just move in and out to your sides (not over your head) as you power down with your legs.
Pelvic Floor Bounce: Place a soft and squishy exercise ball between your knees. Breath into your pelvis as you begin to slowly bounce. Placing your hands on your pubic bone may help you to focus on this area. Breathe out as you squeeze your inner thighs together. Bounce for no more than 2 to 4 minutes, starting with a shorter time and adding more as you get stronger. *See Safety info below.
As you progress on the rebounder you can add lunges, squats, twists, intervals and more! You can even add weights.
If you would like to follow a Rebounding exercise class online (since gyms are closed as of this writing), check out this online source: Bounce Society. There are also Free workouts on YouTube. Look for a Beginner’s video.
Jumping Is Healthy – How Often Should You Jump?
A 2018 study showed that jumping as little as 3 times a week and just 15 to 20 minutes at a time, provided multiple benefits. Start with just a few minutes and work your way up.
- Rebounding can cause Pelvic floor issues if done incorrectly. As well, women with previous pelvic floor problems such as pelvic pain or symptomatic prolapse, may need to avoid rebounding, or adjust their workouts. Check with a specialist as to the best way to use your rebounder. Possibly avoiding double leg impact landings, keeping one foot on the rebounder might be beneficial.
- Since you are bouncing on a raised surface, there is a risk of falling. Please follow all safety guidelines for your rebounder. Use the stabilization bar if necessary. I do!
- Be sure to purchase a quality Rebounder and assemble correctly. You don’t want to be crashing to the ground with a cheaply made or incorrectly assembled product.
- Set up in a Safe area. Be sure you have overhead clearance (you’re jumping!). Be sure the area is free of any obstructions. This includes things scattered on the floor. In the event you must jump off the equipment, you don’t want to land on anything that could cause you to lose your footing and fall, or cause a puncture wound.
- Be sure there is plenty of ventilation.
- If you choose to rebound outdoors, be sure your trampoline is not wet, and that there aren’t any hazardous obstructions close by, such as trees. Be sure the ground is flat, and do not place rebounder on an elevated surface.
- Check your Rebounder before jumping. Be sure there are no worn out or lose parts, and that everything is firmly connected.
- Wear appropriate clothing. Barefoot is probably best to avoid slipping. Be sure not to wear loose or flowy clothing that could get caught in the springs, or that you might step on.
- As with any exercise routine, please check with your healthcare provider before beginning.
- Have fun!
Feel Like A Kid Again!
So, in a nutshell…. what are you waiting for? Feel like a kid again while building bones and boosting those happy hormones! Get jumping! Your future self will thank you!
About the Author:
As a post-menopausal woman herself, Lorraine Miano discovered her passion of offering menopause advocacy, support and resources to women in all phases of menopause through health coaching, proper nutrition and preventive lifestyle choices. She received her certifications as a Health Coach and hormone health expert from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She has been able to help even more women by writing and publishing her first book, The Magic of Menopause: A Holistic Guide to Get Your Happy Back!
Lorraine loves to encourage her clients with her mantra “Menopause is NOT an ending! IT IS a new beginning!” When she’s not advocating for “the change”, you can find Lorraine traveling with her husband Richard, quite often to visit her 5 grandchildren who call her “Nonni”.