Trampoline therapy brings a great list of benefits for people with autism. Not only it improves their physical health condition, but it also motivates them to learn to follow directions and to communicate more through fun activities. To better achieve the therapeutic goals, therapists or trained adults need to stay close to instruct, observe and correct the movements on the trampoline. A rebounder trampoline becomes an essential tool for trampoline therapy.
A rebounder trampoline is a mini trampoline with a firmer jumping mat. It is interchangeably called a rebounder. Sometimes people even refer to it as a mini-trampoline or a fitness trampoline.
Mini trampolines were transformed from regular trampolines that we all know, kept in the backyard for jumping fun. Mini trampolines were called rebounders in the beginning. However, now rebounders are more designed for exercise and fitness purposes. They become more and more popular because they can bring more health benefits and are more fun than most exercise equipment.
Most rebounders are now considered as mini trampolines with higher quality, convenience to use, and better fitness results through rebounding exercise.
What is Rebounding Exercise
Rebounding exercise is a range of structured movements on or around a rebounder. They are more purposely controlled than those on a typical backyard trampoline due to the limited “mini” size of jumping mat. Instead of just bouncing up and down, you can work on specific areas through different movements that are working towards desired goals.
Safety Measures for Rebounding Exercise
We prioritize the safety measures before we move on to the benefits of rebounding exercise since it is very important to know that you might be conditionally limited to use a rebounder.
- Consult your doctor if you can use a rebounder when you have physical illness, physical impairment or other mental related condition.
- If you are not great in balance, you might want to start the rebounding exercise with a stability bar.
- If you use a metal spring rebounder, be sure the springs are well padded to prevent getting hurt when stepping on them.
- For people who do not function well with divided attention, they properly should not have second stimuli such as watching TV while exercising on the rebounder.
- The rebounder is not designed for high jump. Young children or people with cognitive developmental delays would need the supervision to use a rebounder.
- All rebounders have weight limit. It should be first considered before anyone steps on it.
List of Rebounding Exercise
Manage your rebounding exercise routine with the combination of different movements that are suitable to your fitness and physical level. It doesn’t promote high jump as a purpose, but the different controlled movements can provide additional benefits besides overall health benefits as a cardio exercise.
- Bounce. It is a basic movement that you can let the rebounder bounces you up and down on the mat while your heels pressing down. Be sure that your knees are slightly bent in natural position while doing it. Most time your feet don’t take off the matt or take very little off the matt. It is great for warm up and cool down in a routine exercise.
- Move. It is another way of warm up. Just pick up heels and move arms to get comfortable with the rebounder.
- Jog. From basic jog to advanced one, jogging on a rebounder improves core strength, balance and endurance. Either spot jogging on the mat or jogging around the mat, you might need to gradually pick up knees higher to get used to the balance and improve the posture on the mat.
- Jump. Unlike bouncing on a rebounder, jumping on a rebounder is the most familiar way of exercise, although it requires subtainable movement that makes sure that you do not jump out of the rebounder by accident. It is not recommended jumping high for safety reasons.
- Kick. It not only works on flexibility on hips, but also improves balance on one foot.
- Twist. It strengthens lower back and helps digest system.
- Squat. Squatting on a rebounder is harder than that on the ground. It requires stronger core strength to keep the balance on the bouncy rebounder.
- Punch. Part of the routine exercise for whole body workout, punching into the air with or without wrist weight while exercising on the rebounder not only conditions arms and upper body, but also improves the balance on the rebounder.
- Sit. Sit on the center of the mat and square the hip. Move the thighs up and down to bounce the hip. It is a good way to warm up before the sitting exercise on the rebounder.
- Stretch. Stretching on a rebounder can be a warm up or cool down movement for rebounding exercise. Stretch neck, wrists, arms and chest on the rebounder similar to when you are on the ground, but with more spatial awareness.
You can create all different rebounding exercise routines from the above basic movements on your own. If not, join the program provided by the rebounder manufacturer when you buy a rebounder. Some gyms also offer rebounding exercise classes.
How to Use Rebounding Exercise for Trampoline Therapy
There are two ways to see the purpose of trampoline therapy. It can improve the fitness and physical condition through the therapeutic exercises on a rebounder for people who need the designed instruction and supervision. It also can use the rebounder as a motivator to help individual with autism to be more willing to communicate.
For individuals who have autism or communication deficits, trampoline therapy not only helps them improve fitness level, but also motivates to communicate and to follow directions. Depending on the individual’s cognitive level, the therapist or the trained adult can build on the therapy routine from the basic rebounding exercise.
The following are the examples of the therapist purposely interact with autistic individuals and to have them follow the directions.
- Would you like to jump on the trampoline (if that is what they know already)?
- Hold on the bar and step on the trampoline.
- Can you pick up your heels?
- Press down your heels hard.
- Pck up your heels and press down hard again.
- Can you do the same thing again and again for 15 times? Let’s count. The basic bounce is introduced at this point.
- Raise your right arm and open close the fingers.
- Put down the right arm. Raise your left arms and open close the fingers.
- Move the arms up and down.
- bounce while your move the arms.
- Pick up your left foot and stand on right foot for 1 second.
- Pick up your right foot and stand on your left foot for 1 second.
- Keep switching left foot and right foot.
- Let’s count 1,2, 1,2 when you are switching left foot and right foot standing. The basic jog can be introduced once the rhythm is in.
- Let’s jog for 1 minute. The timer is on.
You see where I am going. On this purpose of trampoline therapy, the rebounding exercise is broken down to small steps in order to motivate the autistic individuals to communicate and to follow directions. At the same time, they will get the physical exercise while having fun.
How to Buy a Rebounder
There are a few factors to be considered when buying a rebounder.
Size and Shape.
How much room you have for your rebounder will pre-determine what size and shape you can choose. There are different sizes and shapes of rebounders, ranging from 36”-51”, rounded, haxagonal or rectangle shapes. The rounded shapes don’t take as much space as other ones. If you don’t have the limit in space, you only have to consider other factors.
Portability and Foldability.
Are you planning to move or carry around the rebounder from one place or another? You may want to consider the smaller ones that are easier to move around by one person or the foldable ones that are relatively smaller to carry around.
Budget and Quality.
It falls into the same rule of thumb that you get what you pay for when buying a rebounder. The quality of a rebounder mostly comes from the different material for the mat and bouncing factor of either spring or bungee cords, although the quality of the frame plays a part for the cost too.
Due to multi-factors affecting the manufacturing cost, the retail price for a rebounder can range from $50-$500 or beyond.
Although low budget rebounders varying from $50-$100 might not be durable for frequent use, you can start with it to test out your interest level . Brands like Pelpo carrying 38‘’,40″ or 45” Folding rebounders, with or without balance bar all their prices fall in this group. They make the rebounder affordable to everyone for decent bounce quality.
If you can afford to price range of $100-$200, you will have much more choices of rebounders with great quality. Most brands on this price range are confident with their quality that they offer the free returns if you are not satisfied with your purchase on Amazon. Brands from ONETWOFIT, Jemdeck to Darchen are all in the same category and their prices are all around $125.
For rebounders that priced from $200-$400, most likely they come with comprehensive rebounding exercise program. If you buy a rebounder within the price range, you invest on a piece of exercise equipment that you hope to achieve the desired fitness level. You will enjoy a rebounder like JumpSport Fitness Trampoline Model 230F or 350F through their designed programs as well.
If you spend more than $400 for a rebounder, you are very dedicated to rebounding exercise. Most likely this is not your first rebounder unless you can easily afford the price tag. You will have premium experience with the rebounder if you have jumped on the low budget ones. You would feel amazing after you work out on a Bellicon GO rebounder or other high end rebounders.
Connecting the Dots
As you can see, during trampoline therapy, the therapist or the trained adult can break down the rebounding exercise into simple steps for autistic people. Not only it enhances their fitness level but also it helps improve their communication skills.
Now you also know that a rebounder trampoline is more affordable than most of the other exercise machines. Once you find the rebounder within the budget, trampoline therapy can be well under way to achieve the goals.
If you don’t plan to own one, you will need to find a place with a rebounder to use for the trampoline therapy. You will enjoy the success with trampoline therapy for your love ones no matter where and how you make it happen.
It is greatly appreciated if you can share your experience with the brand of the rebounder that you use for trampoline therapy.