In the last few years, rebounding exercise's popularity has grown enormously, with millions of people worldwide now enjoying it as their "go to" workout. The research community has also rediscovered rebounding, publishing research at an unprecedented rate about its remarkable health and fitness benefits.
So, why are so many people still unaware of this extraordinary exercise? It's a good question, and it's not absolutely clear why that is, but here are a few possible explanations.
REASON #1: TRAMPOLINES WERE LATECOMERS TO THE PARTY
Running, swimming, and tossing heavy objects around have been pillars of sports and fitness for all of human history. The ancient Olympics games, which began in 776 BC, involved just a handful of events, such as running, javelin throwing, long jump, and wresting, all of which continue today. With the birth of the modern Olympics in 1896, the range of events swelled, including sports that had gained international popularity in the intervening millennia, such as swimming, biking, weightlifting, and tennis.
Modern trampolines weren't invented until the 1930s. It wasn't until the late 1950s that they were heralded as a certifiable "craze" in the United States, with a May, 1960, Life Magazine cover story featuring the "Trampoliners in California."
Fitness experts had promoted trampoline exercise for decades, but it was a NASA research study that finally caught the public's attention. In 1980, NASA's Ames Research Center was given the task of finding the most effective way to get astronauts back in shape after spending long periods in zero gravity environments. (Without gravity, astronauts quickly lose significant amounts of muscle mass, cardiovascular strength, and bone density.) The study found that bouncing on a trampoline was a better overall exercise than running, weightlifting, or isometrics for improving fitness.
Now that the news was out that "rebounding exercise" could get people fitter faster than running, everyone wanted to try it for themselves. Still, it wasn't clear how to translate the benefits shown in the Ames study into a home exercise.
REASON #2: THE FIRST MINI-TRAMPOLINES WERE LOUSY
The first patent for what we'd recognize as a conventional "mini-trampoline" was awarded in 1974, only six years before the Ames study was published. However, the study's results were so impressive, and the surge of demand from the public so fierce that manufacturers weren't going to wait to improve the rudimentary design for fear of missing out on the frenzy.
By the end of 1980, tens of thousands of cheaply made, spring-based mini-trampolines flowed into the US every month. They carried a variety of brand new brand names but were otherwise indistinguishable. Each was from six to eight inches tall and about three feet wide. It's not clear who produced these first, but they began multiplying as fast as "Pet Rocks" had in the 70s. By the end of the decade, more than a million of these mini-trampolines had been sold to American households. By the end of the next decade, it seemed like every garage sale across the country had at least one of those cheap 80s models among their inventory, and if they weren't passed along, they ended in landfills and dumps.
REASON #3: IT TAKES A WHILE TO ADAPT TO NEW THINGS, EVEN WHEN THEY'RE BETTER
When an unconventional exercise produces better results than those that have been around for thousands of years, it takes a while for the public to get on board. It also helps to redesign that fitness device so that it can fulfill its potential.
In 1995, bellicon's precursor developed the first bungee-based rebounder, an innovation the redefined the industry. Replacing springs with synthetic latex bungees allows the bounce of a mini-trampoline to be vastly smoother, more effective, more enjoyable, and to provide people with more of the benefits demonstrated decades ago in the NASA study.
With bellicon's unique rebounder designs, mini-trampoline exercise produces a full-body workout experience unmatched by any similar product, putting rebounding exercise at the forefront of fitness, where it should have been a long ago.
What about the future? Until we have antigravity rooms in every home, rebounding on the bellicon will likely continue to be the best way to harness human energy and turn it into fitness.