Exercise Trampoline for Kidsby Amber Keefer
Just like adults, kids need regular exercise to be healthy and fit. Trampolines are a popular type of exercise equipment, especially among kids. A trampoline may be a fitness option for you to consider, especially if your child shuns the idea of routine exercise. To get the most health benefits, a child should play on an exercise trampoline for at least 2 ½ hours each week.
How It Works
A trampoline offers a fun way for a child to move her body. Bouncing on a trampoline gives kids the opportunity to exercise for a few minutes every day. All a child basically needs to do for cardiovascular exercise is to jump up and down on the trampoline mat. Younger children can do small bounces in the center of the mat. Instruct your child not to bounce from one side of the trampoline to the other as this makes it more difficult to control movements. When your child wants to stop bouncing, she should bend her knees and position her backside the same as she would to sit down in a chair. Bringing her arms straight out in front as her knees bend will help her balance after she stops bouncing.
Trampolines are made by securing a strong fabric like nylon across the top of a hollow, stainless steel platform. The cloth is usually secured to the frame with coiled compression springs. Some folding mini trampolines for kids come with padded handles and can be used indoors or outdoors. Designs include round, square, rectangle and octagon. The rectangle style is the safest as the springs crisscross each other, allowing for a more controlled bounce. Children also are not thrown off as easily. Look for a trampoline with six legs. It may cost a little more than the four-legged models, but it will be more stable.
Jumping on an exercise trampoline provides low-impact aerobic exercise by increasing blood flow throughout the body. The jumping action also strengthens and tones the calf and thigh muscles. Trampolines can be used to improve a child's physical fitness, as well as help develop coordination and balance.
Jumping straight up and down provides exercise and fun at the same time. Kids can jump with both feet or on one leg once they become more proficient on the trampoline. Instruct your child to bounce at about the same height with each jump. The bounce and kick is another exercise. Tell your child when he bounces up to extend one leg into the air as if he is kicking. Make sure he knows to bring the leg back down before he lands. He can then extend the opposite leg on the next bounce. Kids can also do jumping jacks on a trampoline, or wave their arms in circles to help them bounce higher. Children bouncing on a trampoline should be supervised at all times by a competent adult. Lay protective padding on the landing surfaces surrounding the trampoline as an added safety measure.
Parents need to ensure that children adhere to safety guidelines even when using a mini trampoline for fitness. Follow any safety instructions provided by the trampoline manufacturer and retailer. Set up the trampoline properly, inspect it regularly and maintain it in good condition to reduce the risk of injury. Allow only one child to bounce at a time. When more than one is bouncing, there is a greater likelihood that the two will bump into each other and an injury could occur. An adult should always be present to supervise whenever a child is playing on a trampoline. Mini trampolines are smaller and lower to the ground, which makes them safer for children to use.
What the Experts Say
About two-thirds of all trampoline injuries occur when two or more children play on a trampoline at the same time, reports the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Most injuries happen to children who are between the ages of 5 and 14. Serious injuries are rare, but they can happen. Common injuries include sprains and fractures that come from falling on the trampoline mat or off the trampoline. The AAOS does not recommend trampolines for children younger than 6 years old.
- Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images