Spring back to fitness

TRAMPOLINING, said to have begun when Eskimos bounced each other on walrus skins for the fun of it, is putting a feel-good cardiovascular spring into group fitness classes, from body sculpting to dance, fitness experts say.

Also known as rebounding, it delivers a low-impact, calorie-burning workout that swaps the tedium of a treadmill or step class for a feeling of child-like euphoria.

At Chelsea Piers Connecticut, an adult fitness class twins trampolining with rock climbing.

"I wanted to do something fun. Everybody likes to climb as kids, everybody loves the bounce of the trampoline," said Byron Knox, a director and instructor at the Stamford-based facility.

No stranger to odd fitness combinations, Knox, who also coaches football and gymnastics, said the hybrid class works well.

"Most people wouldn't think of trampoline as a workout but it takes a lot of energy," he said. "It could be equal (in cardiovascular intensity) to jumping rope. And part of the beauty is that the exerciser is in control."

The more flexible can jump and split-jump higher, but Knox said just about anybody can participate, and trampolining also enhances balance and spatial awareness.

At Chelsea Piers Connecticut the "tramp" precedes the rock wall.

"That part takes a bit more coaxing," Knox admits, although everyone is harnessed and spotted.

At JumpLife studio in New York City, some 25 mini-trampolines connect with low lights and top 100 songs to draw out the inner dancer.

"JumpDance is our signature class," founder and CEO Montserrat Markou said of the 45-minute non-stop cardio workout, which she said can burn up to 600 calories. She said the class doubles as a venue for bachelorette parties and girls' nights out.

Another class, called JumpGym, ditches the dance club vibe and incorporates weights and push-ups into the trampoline workout.

Rebounding classes at Crunch fitness centres pair mini-trampolines with sculpt, Pilates and interval classes.

Group fitness manager Carol Johnson likens the bouncing motion to getting a massage.

"It's a bit more gentle on the body, more rehabilitative," Johnson, who's been rebounding for about 10 years, said. – Reuters