I LOVE Trampolines!
Because I get to jump. I get to Bounce!
They provide so much fun and entertainment, to a point they should almost be considered illegal. In terms of health and fitness, they provide so much VALUE. All across the Urban Landscape, children are on the lookout for the next AWESOME activity. Trampolines offer so much in terms of physical benefits and providing ongoing entertainment, that they should be considered an integral staple in most communities, whether by local private ownership in backyards, through councils providing facilities that incorporate trampolines and by businesses offering indoor trampoline facilities.
As a father, I can completely appreciate how trampolines have become more integrated and prevalent across our current Urban Landscape. Through my own childhood, our options and choices were limited. Some of my most cherished memories from my childhood have come from trampolines. I now get to experience how awesome trampolines are again as a parent with my two daughters and as with most other activities and play equipment in the modern Urban Landscape, trampolines have evolved, with modern trampolines catering to a larger audience. Needless to say, Trampolines are AWESOME!
When I was growing up, we were either fortunate enough, or our friends were, to receive one of the old school rectangle trampolines for our birthday or for Christmas, which provided endless hours of entertainment, although they were an Occupational Health & Safety experts worst nightmare. The other limiting factor of these trampolines was in regard to the quality of materials being used in the design. They were ok, for a period, however after extended use they would show signs of age and extreme wear and tear. Hardly an encouraging offering for either a child or a parent. These days however, the humble trampoline has undergone a full overhaul as a result of our modern society and the continuing push towards better and better.
What started out in 1936 as the first modern day trampoline, specifically designed to aid in gymnastics and diving, has become a much loved and enjoyed recreational pastime. Developed by Larry Griswold & George Nissan after observing ‘highwire acrobatics’, it became all about ‘fun and games’. The trampoline was initially used as a training apparatus for Tumblr’s, however soon became popular in its own right. Trampolines were made for commercial purposes in 1942, in Cedar Rapids, IOWA.
Since its initial development, trampolines have been used during World War 2 by astronauts and pilots at the United States Navy Flight School. Trampolines have also become a competitive sport, with the First World Trampoline Championships held in London in 19644 and won by Dan Millman & Judy Wills Cline of the United States. Trampolines have also aided in other sports across the globe, such as diving and freestyle skiing, as a way to develop and hone acrobatic skills.
KNOW YOUR MARKET
I may be a little biased, but I love modern playgrounds and the evolution of trampolines. They have and are continuing to evolve in a manner that offers great variety and allows for increased inclusion from children with additional needs and having disabilities. I still have fond memories from my past interactions with playgrounds and trampolines of yesteryear, but my own childhood would have had an added dimension to it if some modern playgrounds of today were around back when I was growing up. Trampolines in the modern Urban Landscape have evolved very well. There are a number of ways in which to get your trampoline fix, with each one offering advantages and detraction s as well. The three main avenues available in which to get your bounce on, that we have chosen to discuss, are as follows:
Public Playgrounds & Green Space Trampolines:
– Bounce, Bounce in a community and social environment. Public playgrounds have gradually drifted towards embracing the idea of providing all-inclusive, modern d full functional playground areas. Ongoing research is continually highlighting the physical and health related benefits of playgrounds, with further studies identifying trampoline park activities in particular, as helping to improve coordination, balance and muscle development. Trampolines in a public playground, are generally referred to as ‘sunken’ trampolines and whilst they may not allow you to reach the same heights as more purpose built, commercial trampolines, they do offer a good option in a public setting, particularly for younger children starting out on their trampolining journey. The bonus of public playgrounds are that they are situated outdoors, encouraging playtime away from electronic devices and encourage social engagement and developing of vital social skills
Indoor Trampoline Areas:
– Perfect for the ‘rainy day’ bounce. Indoor playgrounds, although coming with an entry fee, are considered to be a great option for those more adventurous bouncers looking for a trampoline fix with a bit of an edge. They provide ample amounts of space, generally established in converted warehouses, to cater for a larger number of bouncers. Additionally, some of these facilities offer additional classes and training sessions to further develop your trampolining potential and ability. Being located inside a renovated warehouse adds the additional shelter factor, ensuring that you can bounce away, free from the potential impacts of adverse weather conditions. Whilst their may be safety concerns to a degree, a well-staffed, well run Trampoline Centre will ensure that the well-being of all involved is of primary concern
Backyard and At Home Trampolines:
– This is the more traditional area where trampolines have been situated, before Indoor Trampoline Centers entered the Urban Landscape. The benefits of having a trampoline in your backyard are convenience and cost. The modern trampoline is designed from quality grade materials which are considered to be durable and can handle a variety of extreme weather-related conditions. Ideally, this option may be preferable to households situated in remote locations, where access to an Indoor Trampoline Centre or a public playground may be limited.
Even in built up Urban Landscapes, they backyard trampoline options provides convenience and the bonus of being able to watch your children more closely.
Where the backyard option may be limited, is where the land size is reduced, offering less space in which to accommodate a trampoline.
As with most things which challenge and develop us from a personal point of view, there is an element of risk involved with trampolines. This should not be a deterrent in any way, rather an opportunity to understand the inherent risks and to add a little more awareness for when you are bouncing away. Understand your limitation and challenge them where possible. Associated risks of playground equipment could be applied for a number of things, such as:
– Swings – (look out, duuccccccck)
– Slides – (over the side slides)
– Sand boxes – (hidden hazards and sand contamination anyone)?
Further to the already touched on benefits of trampolines and bouncing around, trampolines are a great form of ‘cardiovascular exercise’. By increasing the heart rate, trampolines assist with reducing the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Trampolines have been found to satisfy the American College of Sports criteria for improvement of cardio respiratory conditions. This also leads to promoting weight loss as it can burn a decent number of kilo joules in a regular 30-minute session.
SAFETY IS KEY!!
There are also benefits for the elderly, with Trampolining being noted as a ‘low-impact’ exercise, increasing plantar flexor (back of the leg) muscle strength which is important for flexibility, controlling the angle between the foot and the shin. Apart from the physical benefits, trampolining also benefits and helps mental well being by increasing positive emotions.
The health benefits which trampolines offer should drive design and innovation to ensure continued investment from governments and private companies.
Propelling yourself into a vertical velocity, whilst acknowledging the risks, is a massive amount of fun and can provide a great sense of achievement. The benefits of physical activity, growth and personal development should be reason enough to embrace all the wonder of bouncing on a trampoline. Who doesn’t love being able to do a backflip or a somersault?
My suggestion, embrace your inner child and get yourself bouncing away. The exhilaration you feel from being so high up is one which can rarely be matched with any other activity. You will work up a sweat, have a few laughs and end up with a few more memories to share.
Please be sure to share with me your own experiences and thoughts around this post.