Pop Quiz: What Fun, Effective NASA Exercise Can Help Women Over 60 Stay Healthy?
I’m always curious about learning new health habits that are super effective but also fun. My firm belief is that if it’s not fun, it’s not sustainable. Life is full of unpleasant tasks, so why make exercise one of them? If ‘bootcamp’ is in the name, count me out.
The Dali Lama says that “happiness is the highest form of health.” One of the themes that comes through again and again in interviewing guests on my podcast, Zestful Aging, is the importance of incorporating pleasure into one’s life.
Bodies are made to move, and exercise should feel good. Not like a punishment for eating.
I’m guessing that I’m not the only person who has joined a gym with the very best intentions, then found the exercises so mind numbingly boring that the gym fee goes to waste.
Some of us have even learned this lesson more than once. I always wonder what aliens would think if they saw us running in place, rowing in place and stair-stepping to nowhere. Stepping back, it seems very silly.
Great for Older Bodies
My tried and true, favorite exercises include daily dog walks in a variety of pleasant locations, aerobic gardening and, of course, tennis. It’s fun to have variety, and our bodies like it too.
Enter the rebounder, otherwise known as the mini-tramp.
Although they had their heyday in the 80s, you don’t see them much as an exercise mainstay these days. So, I was shocked to learn about the many advantages of rebounding, and many are particularly well suited to bodies 60 and over.
Astronauts Use It
It turns out that astronauts use rebounding to recover from the negative impact of weightlessness. If it’s good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for me. Add some music, and you have your own bounce party.
The benefits of bouncing on the rebounder are numerous, and they include boosting lymphatic drainage and immune function. If you’ve had a mastectomy, lymph drainage can be an issue. Rebounding helps the lymphatic fluid find ways around the scar tissue.
It’s great for skeletal system and increasing bone mass and helps improve digestion, both issues as we age. Believe it or not, research shows that it’s more than twice as effective as running – without the extra stress on the ankles and knees!
Maintaining Balance Is Vital
Bouncing on a rebounder stimulates mitochondrial production, which can increase endurance on a cellular level. And, perhaps among the most important benefit for our age group, it helps improve balance. Balance is vital to maintain as we age so we are less susceptible to falls.
Rebounding has been called a “whole body exercise” that improves muscle tone throughout the body. Some studies also suggest that it can improve mood. Who knew bouncing could bring so many varied benefits?
I also like it because there’s a nice rhythm to it – almost like rocking. It’s gentle and soothing and also gets your heart rate up.
It is best to start with your feet staying on the rebounder and working up to jumping. There are balance bars you can attach if you would like to hold onto something while you bounce.
Before you buy, do your research. Don’t buy the cheapest one. It will be supporting your weight as you jump and could potentially be dangerous if it’s not well made. Good quality springs are better on your joints. Craigslist is also an option, as I suspect some people buy them and only use them as a surface to pile laundry on.
What do you think about bouncing? Have you tried it? What’s the best part about it for you? I’d love to hear about your experience bouncing your way to better health.