NASA Study: Bouncing is Better than Running

John Hines 02.07.2020

This 1980 NASA study revealed the extraordinary benefits of trampoline exercise, launching a national craze when it introduced the American public to rebounding fitness.

The widespread interest that followed the publication of this research created a huge demand, and a national shortage, of fitness trampolines. As a result, an estimated one million, cheaply-made spring rebounders were imported into the United States during the first few years of the 1980s. The extremely poor quality and performance of these rebounders made them ineffective and user-unfriendly, turning what might have been a fitness revolution into a fad.

The first bellicon, created in 1995, pioneered the use of bungee cords for mini-trampolines, revolutionizing the industry. The bellicon’s customized bungees create a much smoother, deeper bounce than spring rebounders and allow it to better aproximate the performance and benefits of full-sized trampolines, like the ones used in the NASA study.

The Study:

Because it’s an academic paper, written with the assumption that it would be read only by other scientists and researchers, it can make for a difficult read, but it does contain a wealth of information about the benefits of bouncing. It goes into detail about oxygen consumption and muscular involvement, and concludes that bouncing provides better all-around benefits than running. The researchers conclude by saying, “The results indicate that, for similar levels of HR and VO2, the magnitude of the biomechanical stimuli is greater with jumping on a trampoline than with running.”

Here's a link to an abstract of the research study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7429911/

Sources:
„Body acceleration distribution and O2 uptake in humans during running and jumping.“, von A. Bhattacharyae, P. McCutcheon, E. Shvartz und J. E. Greenleaf 
Biomedical Research Division, NASA-Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035; und Wenner-Gren Research Laboratory, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40506

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