Jumping – an inherent strength

Christiane Seiler, occupational therapist and lecturer
Picture of Christiane Seiler

“Kicking motions with the legs are inherent movement abilities that already occur before birth in rhythmic intervals in the womb. Babies, children and the unborn build their muscle tone by putting gentle pressure on their feet. Babies that are held upright use their legs to bounce up and down. Skipping is generally viewed as the criteria for children’s physical and emotional health.

Sustained rhythmic skipping indicates that children have acquired the basics of posture control and mobility. Sustained rhythmic skipping indicates that children have acquired the basics of posture control and mobility. When muscle strength and stability is missing in skipping, it’s also not present whilst sitting, standing, walking, balancing and running.

Hypotonic children don’t like skipping, and flexibility and rhythm are not present. As children with muscle hypotonia don’t bend their knees but stretch them, skipping becomes stiff, powerless, cumbersome and stomping. Skipping on the ground feels labored and is not kept up for very long.

These children need incentives to skip. The best support comes from flexible trampolines. It is vital to buy one for children with muscle hypertonia. It alleviates their body weight as the bouncing mat conveys effortlessness. Exercising on it increases the children’s endurance as the trampoline continuously stimulates muscle toning. Trampoline swinging increases their bouncing power and improves balance.

Swinging on a trampoline for ten to twenty minutes a day considerably lessens the children’s muscular hypotonia. According to experience gained by therapists, a flexible trampoline can correct hypotonic body postures.

Which trampoline is the right one?

Be aware when purchasing a trampoline that the flexible bouncing area is at least 1 m in diameter. The elasticity depends on the elongation level of the rope rings, and their resilience is chosen depending on the users’ weight. The surface must not be sprung too tightly. The flexibility of the suspension determines the quality of the trampoline. Gently sprung trampolines spare the joints and stimulate muscle toning.

Hard suspensions are unsuitable for children as their low body weight prevents them from reaching a high enough swing amplitude whilst bouncing. Most conventional trampolines have metal springs which are meant for adult use. Children with muscle hypertonia need endurance training every day, but not on metal sprung trampolines. As they are unable to absorb the impact themselves, the danger exists that they will strain their already overloaded joints.“

Source: page 171 - 202 in “Chancen fuer Kinder mit Muskelhypotonie und Entwicklungsverzoegerung” by occupational therapist Christiane Seiler

Christiane Seiler, occupational therapist and lecturer
Waldstrasse 25
69207 Sandhausen

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