I have had several injuries (back, feet) and physical issues (plantar fasciitis; surgeries on both feet) that make high impact exercise (jumping, running) a non-option for me. However, I also want to be very active and fit. That means that I have been creative and have hired creative personal trainers to modify routines for me that allow me to lose weight (I have lost over 100 pounds), gain muscle, and build core stability. Several weeks ago, my trainer asked me if I had considered rebounding. I immediately dismissed the idea because I remembered the tension of the little one we had when I was young (with springs). I knew that it would hurt my feet and other joints, but he still got me thinking. I did quite a bit of research on rebounders after that discussion with my personal trainer. It became obvious very quickly that Bellicon was not only very different from what I had known previously, but also that it was in a class of its own. I was nervous about the price and not knowing if I would even like it, but I really, really wanted to find more cardio options that I could do without much impact (the bike, the rower, and the torso sprint machines do get old!). I also loved a lot of what I read about the good that rebounding does for many aspects of health and wellness. I read testimonials, watched many YouTube videos, and tinkered around on the Bellicon site with colors, sizes, bungee strength, and other decisions.
I decided to go for it and ordered the Premium 49" one. Bibi from Chicago spoke with me at length by phone and was very helpful in guiding me through the process of decisions and ordering. I was so excited after ordering it that I watched videos every day of other people jumping. :) I was determined to follow the suggested guidelines and begin with just a few minutes per day. But then it arrived. I unpacked it and obediently got on for just a few minutes. Later in the day, I thought it couldn't hurt to try out the DVD that came with it. So I did the beginner's workout (20 or 25 minutes). And then I tried the 10-minute advanced workout. And then I did the stretching portion of the DVD. Apparently, I lost my willpower involving the "begin slowly" advice. I have used the Bellicon every day since I got it and have spent a long time on it! Sometimes, I have had my heart rate monitor strap and watch on because I intended to do a good cardio session; other times, I hopped on thinking that I would just stay for a few minutes but accidentally stayed for much longer and wished that I had "counted" it in my weekly burn. I leave my beautiful Bellicon (silver frame, silver bungees, black and pink mat....swoon, she's so cute) out in my living room so that any time I want to get on while watching TV or listening to music, I can. I even hold the remote while jumping sometimes so that I don't have to get off to fast forward through commercials on my DVR. :) It's kind of the reverse of the pan of brownies sitting out in the kitchen problem. It's just there and so convenient, so I keep helping myself to some jumping.
Okay, now for lessons learned. First of all, for someone with a VERY long history of feet pain, I am pleased that my feet will tolerate the jumping in any form. That being said, jumping with bare feet versus shoes is a tough call. I feel that I can do more with the shoes off, but yesterday I was on for about 40 minutes and now have "mat burn/blister" on a big toe. I will make an effort to alter my choices (e.g., bare feet for a bit, shoes for a bit, socks, etc.). Another lesson is that if possible, the biggest Bellicon possible is wise. I am SO glad that I got the 49" model. It sounded huge and splurgey (not a word), but I followed the advice of those who said if you have the space, get it. I can do some cool moves that take more space (okay, so I still almost fell off a couple of times, but that is because I got overly excited). Another lesson is that the Bellicon offers a healthy dose of humility for women. I read a number of things online from other women who have the same issue that I have...I CANNOT jump on the Bellicon unless I am wearing "lady protection" (i.e., a pad....I know, eww, but I am trying to help others who read this) because apparently there is a learning curve for the bladder for any of the really fun moves like tucking the knees in a jump or jumping pretty high. This is a bummer, but I do have my Bellicon positioned just a few feet from a restroom, so at least I can take care of things quickly. I am 38 and have never had children, so this is not an age or other issue. It is a bladder strength issue - and one that I really, really hope improves with continued use of the Bellicon. Another lesson is that it would be ideal for people to be able to try out the various bungee strengths in person somewhere before ordering a unit. I have felt some things in joints during and after jumping that make me wonder whether I might have been happy with medium instead of strong (I weigh 130). I still don't know about this, though, because I need some firmness to be able to do the fast running type moves. Finally, I learned that when jumping vigorously, I begin to have pain inside some organ on my left side of my abdomen. Sometimes when this happens, I just slow down and do different moves until it goes away. Other times I press against that part of my body with my hands while continuing to jump, which seems to help.
All of these "lessons" are just in case anyone wants to see if their issues seem normal. That being said, I have had a ton of fun on the Bellicon! I've got some moves like Jaggar...just kidding, but I have enjoyed the variety of random moves that occur to me (running in place, "skiing" side to side, jumping in circles, back and forth, side to side, knee tucks, jumping jacks, etc). So many of these moves simply would not be okay with my feet to do on land. So that is super exciting. My trainer now incorporates the Bellicon into our routines (I train at home 3x/week) at least twice per week (but not on TRX days because that is enough fun on its own). It's fun for both of us, plus it adds variety to the workouts. I am excited to see if I can build up bladder strength so that I can do limitless jumping moves without fear of "leaks." I am also excited that I can do cardio in my own home, which will save me time driving to and from the gym and make workouts more feasible even on long work days. I hope to see places in my body continue to "firm up" and tone after daily use.
I hope that the Bellicon will continue to be a source of fun and provide a good "burn" for years to come. I am grateful to Bibi for great phone conversations about the Bellicon and to all of those who posted reviews and videos that allowed me to get a glimpse into the rebounder before purchasing it. Despite my loquacious approach here (sorry!), I hope that something about this review helps someone out there who has lost some hope and needs to believe that there is a way to achieve wellness goals despite serious physical concerns.
Thanks for reading. :) Best wishes!
Sincerely, Calfornia Jumper Lady (JH)