Bounce your way to better health

The Chronicle Herald, Cynthia McMurray 01.01.2018

When you think of cardio exercises, the usuals come to mind — running, cycling, spinning. But one of the best overall cardio workouts is actually rebounding. And now people in Dartmouth can give this unique, low-impact, aerobic exercise a test drive. Cheryl Denman, owner and fitness coach at Costafit Rebounding, wants people to come experience the countless benefits of this highly effective workout.

“I played every sport from ballet to football and I always loved athletics, gymnastics and all those things. And I was always trying to find the newest thing. Although I am not a real runner, I ran with some pretty high intensity runners for a while and after about 17 years I started to get injuries.

A bad calf and Achilles tendon injury really sidelined me and I started thinking, ‘Now, what am I going to do?’ So, the next really available thing ... to still get my cardio was spinning. ... I went to strictly spinning and I started having hip issues,” says Denman.

This sent Denman on a search for an alternative exercise that would not cause her body further injury, but still give her the cardio and overall fitness benefits other exercises did. And that is when she found rebounding.

While the exercise, which is essentially like jumping on a miniature trampoline, has been widely used and raved about in Europe for years, it’s relatively new in Canada. Denman says Vancouver was the first city to open a ‘rebounder studio’ and then Toronto followed. Edmonton and Montreal also have similar studios. But now, Dartmouth is the first in the Maritimes and, according to Denman, it may even be the biggest studio in Canada with 24 rebounders.

For people who have never tried it, they will be amazed, Denman says.

“At the bottom of every bounce, your body instinctively uses 638 muscles. It’s an involuntary response resulting from the g-force. You can’t get this any other way than on the rebounder or trampoline.”

As well, Denman says simply rebounding burns 50 per cent more fat (and faster) than running. A study by NASA also found that bouncing provides better all-around benefits than running, weight-lifting and isometric exercises. And unlike running, rebounding is low (even zero) impact, which makes it the perfect exercise for people with osteoarthritis or ankle or knee injuries, according to Denman.

“It’s the only exercise that will build bone density and it’s great for detoxing,” she adds. “We are so sedentary these days, rebounding is great for getting our lymph moving, which is super important. It’s like taking the garbage out. It also helps boost your immune system. Every time the seasons change, there is a new round of viruses, so it is nice not to catch everything that comes around,” Denman says.

Another key benefit of rebounding is that it stretches and strengthens your core muscles, which then improves your overall posture.

“My posture has improved dramatically. I didn’t have horrible posture, but I have had desk jobs and we tend to get slouchy — it’s a bad habit. So, I am finding the centre of my body is really tightening up and my posture is changing. Posture is everything; it changes the way you feel about yourself, your confidence,” she says.

Denman is currently offering a variety of classes from beginner to elite. Classes are typically 45 minutes and for anyone starting out, she recommends you use the rebounder three times a week. Once you are acclimated to the exercise, you can do it every day, she says.

“It is so restorative to the body. I have had people come to me worried that they will be really sore after a workout, but this is different. They come back and say they don’t feel anything apart from feeling fantastic, rejuvenated and energized,” she adds.

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