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Do Trampoline Workouts Blast More Fat?
Then, of course, there’s the high calorie burn. Some trampoline gyms, including Sky Zone, claim that you can burn more than 1,000 calories in about an hour of jumping. To put that in perspective, you’d have to run 10 six-minute miles to burn that many calories in the same amount of time.
Where does that number even come from, though? Emily Johnston, a media representative for SkyZone, says it’s based on a study conducted by NASA in 1980 that concluded that 10 minutes of trampolining is a better workout than a half-hour of running or jogging. “Because the SkyRobics classes are considered a HIIT workout [and] 30 minutes of such exercises can burn up to 500 calories, and since SkyRobics is an hour-long class, we calculated the 1,000 calorie burn from this statistic,” Johnston says. “Of course, the exact amount of calories burned is dependent on the person who participates.”
But are all those claims still accurate? ACE decided to find out. A recently released study from the organization found that, in a 19-minute trampoline workout designed by JumpSport, men burned an average of 11 calories per minute while women torched about 8.3. That’s about the same energy expenditure as running at about a 10-minute mile pace on flat ground or biking at 14 miles per hour, according to researchers. And if you do the math, sticking to that pace for an hour would put men at about a 660 calorie burn and women at 498 calories per hour…not 1,000.
The Risks of Trampoline Workouts
There are also injuries to think about. The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System reports that trampoline injuries in general lead to nearly 100,000 emergency room (ER) visits each year, and a recent study found that ER visits in the U.S. for trampoline park-related injuries have increased more than ten-fold from 2010 to 2014 (going from 580 to nearly 7,000). Another interesting finding: While the number of park-incurred injuries skyrocketed, the ones occurring on trampolines at home remained steady.
The International Association of Trampoline Parks issued a statement in response to the study, noting that “over the last year alone…more than 50 million people visited trampoline parks in North America.” So of course “there would naturally be an increase” in the number of injuries to correlate with the rapidly-rising popularity. They go on to say that, when looking at the rate of reportable injury at a typical trampoline park, there is less than one injury per 10,000 jumpers.
The Right Way to Jump
That being said, if trampoline sessions are your favorite way to break a sweat, Bryant says you should stick with it. Just stick to these tips to safely get your bounce on:
Start small. Before you hop on the trampoline, Bryant suggests working out off of it. Using a training tool like a BOSU ball can help you become more comfortable. Start with standard exercises, like lunges, before progressing to more trampoline-style exercises. “Do small hops and bounces first, then progress gradually as you adapt to each level,” he suggests.
Watch your height. No, you don’t always have to be the person who jumps the highest. If you are, you’re putting yourself at a higher risk of injury. “The greater the transitional distance, the more challenging the instability is going to be when you land,” explains Bryant. Only go as high as you feel comfortable going.
Focus on stability. “Because it’s a low-impact workout, everyone automatically thinks it’s safe and it’s the best thing for people with lower extremity joint problems,” says Bryant. “But because of the instability of the trampoline, you’re at risk for losing balance, misstepping, or putting undue stress or torque on a joint from an awkward landing.” To counteract that, Bryant suggests starting with controlled movements without going sky high. “You want to make sure you can maintain proper joint alignment before attempting more challenging movements with greater ranges of motion.”
Watch videos. If you’re not sure what exactly you should do once you’re on the trampoline (other than, ya know, jump), you can always turn to trusty YouTube. Bryant suggests following the exercise videos provided by JumpSport for a full-body workout. “They do a pretty good job in terms of progression, giving people good options for different capabilities,” he says.