A trampoline can be a great therapeutic tool to assist autistic people to improve their health conditions. Trampoline therapy indicates how fun and functional products can significantly help care for people with autism.
What is Trampoline Therapy?
Trampoline therapy is a purposely designed and instructed activity on or around the trampoline. It is an individualized approach to improve physical health and related well-being.
It is usually created by occupational therapists, physical therapists, or sensory therapists according to the needs of the individuals. It is often performed on a mini-trampoline called a rebounder. Parents and other adults can learn to practice it with children at home under the guidelines.
People of different ages can benefit from the designed routines of the therapy, although we tend to think that trampoline therapy is more for children than adults.
Even when therapists are not present, bouncing on a quality trampoline can be therapeutic on its own, although safety rules have to be strictly enforced to prevent negative outcomes.
Health Benefits of Rebounding on Trampoline
Trampoline therapy is originated based on the health benefits of rebounding on a trampoline. We emphasize the following great list of health benefits, as they improve physical and mental condition while rebounding on a trampoline, assuming the safety rules are followed properly.
- Bouncing on a trampoline is one of the most efficient and effective cardiovascular exercises. It is a whole-body workout that can firm up every muscle of the body. It burns calories fast to maintain or lose weight.
- It is a great exercise that can improve the endurance and strength of the heart and lungs. A regular 4 times of 20 minutes workout routine can see the result in decreasing heart rate and blood pressure.
- It helps improve body awareness. When bouncing on a trampoline, we more recognize how the position and movements of our body parts are related in space.
- It is a low-impact exercise on knees and joints compared to high-impact exercises such as jogging and running. People with knee and joint ailments can benefit greatly from it.
- People who bounce on trampolines regularly can improve their skills of motor coordination, agility, and balance. This is the most understanding benefit when parents encourage their children to use the trampoline.
- It calms the nervous system after the trampoline workout. It boosts concentration and attention span.
- It activates the metabolism of the body after bouncing on a trampoline as high-intensity interval training,
- The bouncing motion moves the body fluid in the lymphatic system, which helps the “sewerage system” moves the waste out of the system and enhances the immune system,
- It improves other wellness conditions such as sleeping and socializing when bouncing on a trampoline becomes a regular exercise routine.
- It is an exercise that is naturally motivating. Best of all, rebounding on a trampoline is actually a very fun activity that your body will crave once you get into the routine.
The Rules of Bouncing on Trampoline
Although there are a bunch of benefits of bouncing on a trampoline, it can come with a great price if the safety rules are not executed. The rules of bouncing on a trampoline help minimize the risk of injury. It should be enforced as soon as the trampoline is allowed to be used. The trampoline is set up with safety guidelines in mind before anything else can happen.
Safety Guidelines for Setting up a Trampoline in the Backyard.
- The trampoline should be big and strong enough for the intent of use. A trampoline for 3 teenage boys should be a big difference in size and weight capacity to the one for 2 six-year-older. Manufacturers make different sizes and qualities of trampolines to fit into different budgets. Each trampoline has a maximum weight limit.
- The poles and springs should be well-padded to prevent injuries.
- The trampoline net should be strong enough and well-constructed to enclose around the mat.
- The trampoline should be placed on low-impact level ground that is not more than 20 inches from the mat.
- Make sure that there are no safety hazards like falling tree branches around the trampoline.
- Depending on the weather where you live, you might need to secure and anchor down the trampoline with more weight than what is provided by the manufacturer.
- Make sure adults are present to enforce the rules of bouncing on a trampoline.
The Rules of Bouncing on Trampoline
Although there is no federal regulation for the use of trampolines, the American Academy of Pediatrics has banned the use of trampolines by toddlers below 6 years due to the injuries related to trampolines. It is a priority effort to have the appropriate rules in place before the kids can jump on the trampoline. We outline a few of them for your reference.
- No one is allowed to jump with the kids that are under 6-year-old without supervision.
- No more than 3 jumpers at a time(Make the rules based on the situation of your trampoline and your children’s weight. The total weight of the all kids on the trampoline should not be over the maximum weight allowed for the trampoline by the manufacturer).
- No Street-shoes on a trampoline. Bare feet, gymnastic socks, gymnastic shoes, or wrestler sneakers are recommended.
- Do not carry any sharp or hard objects in the pockets.
- Do not wear earrings, bracelets, necklaces, or hard decoration items that might fall off while jumping.
- Stay in the center of the trampoline. Press down the mat to maintain your balance on your spot and to avoid colliding with other jumpers.
- Do not hold on to the poles or net for fun.
- No dangerous gymnastic antics or flips of any kind are allowed.
Trampoline Therapy for Individuals with Autism
Most autistic people experience sensory difficulty at different degrees. They don’t have too many self-motivated options to stay physically active for overall well-being. Bouncing on a trampoline can be one of the good choices for them. The well-designed trampoline therapy might help them greatly improve the goals for their wellness.
Trampoline therapy can provide a list of extra benefits for autistic individuals besides the benefits of bouncing on a trampoline alone.
- It is a more motivating tool. Bouncing on a trampoline provides more fun than most exercise machines. Autistic people might like it better and adapt to routine faster.
- It’s a soothing repetitive action that can feed their sensory craving in jumping, rocking, or running back and forth.
- It purposely works on the area of deficit. While bouncing on a trampoline can benefit overall health, the therapy routine targets the areas of need. The extra repetitions of the activities are designed to improve the need.
- It helps them Improve following direction skills. During the therapy sessions, the individuals need to follow the demands from the therapist to work on target goals. The therapist usually helps them understand with repeated instructions they follow through the demands.
- It improves their communication skills. Communication is the biggest challenge for most autistic people. They can always benefit from any positive interactions through their activities. For a better result of the therapy, the therapist will help them to communicate their feelings in every step of the routine.
- It helps them understand and obey the safety rules.
- It promotes social skills in turn-taking, consideration, and coordination when they are in group trampoline therapy.
The therapist designs varied routines for different individuals according to their therapeutic needs. No matter what routines they follow, there are some basic guidelines when the patients are on the mat.
- Keep the feet wider than the hip in a neutral position with the toes pointing forward.
- Open the chest across the collar bones.
- Engage core by straightening the back and holding the belly tight.
- Slightly bent the knees and keep it unlocked.
- Remain the head in a neutral position and gaze forward.
- Rest hands on the hips, the sides or hold onto the exercise bar.
- Control the bounce by staying low and pressing down the mat.
- Periodically check the above positions to maintain a good frame while working on the routine.
A trampoline is a fun and functional product that promotes physical fitness for individuals and families. Trampoline therapy makes the product more instrumental. It provides great service to individuals with autism. As we highlight some popular products used by the mainstream population, trampoline makes the list as one of the top choices that benefit the autism community greatly.
We appreciate it if you can share your top choices of products that are helpful for people with autism.