Monday MARCH 28, 2011 • DENVERPOST
By Linda J. Buch
Trampoline can be good, but beware
Q; I am thinking of getting a trampoline for my family to use for fun and exercise. Are they safe? What is the best way to go about this? Sam Mikowski, Denver
A: In 1980, a NASA study on rebounding published in the Journal of Applied Physiology called it “the most efficient, effective form of exercise yet devised by man.” NASA found that rebounding was 68 percent more efficient than a treadmill because the G-force created by jumping overwhelmingly increased the oxygen absorption in the body due to the alternating experience of being weightless one minute and impacting a more solid surface the next.
This creates a pumping action in the body that pulls waste products out and oxygen and nutrients into the bloodstream. They also discovered that rebounding was helpful in rebuilding the bone-and muscle-lost by astronauts from extended weightlessness. For us earthbound humans, this is good news indeed.
With a personal-sized mini-trampoline, the activity can be performed in the home or office. Because bouncing is a fun and efficient way to accomplish cardiovascular exercise, people tend to enjoy, rather than evade, a workout.
Unfortunately, backyard trampolines send thousands of people to the hospital each year to be treated for head, neck and spine injuries, according to statistics. These injuries are frequently life-threatening and crippling. A backyard trampoline, therefore, should be dealt with as a serious purchase with a clear understanding of risks, as well as rewards.
This is not a toy.
Marc Rabinoff, a professor in the Human Performance and Sport Department at Metropolitan State College of Denver, has worked as a forensics examiner in more than 300 cases of litigation in which equipment failures have injured people. He warns that the only way this equipment is safe is if everyone obeys these three rules to the letter:
- No double jumping – only one person jumping at a time.
- No flips or somersaults.
- Direct supervision at all times.
“Ninety percent of injuries on trampolines are from backyard trampolines, and 60 percent of those injuries are from falling off. Many of those people are now paraplegics,” Rabinoff says. Enclosures for all trampolines.