. . . do it for the joy of moving! Remember what recess felt like when you were young? That moment when we were finally allowed to run free on the playground? The body hungers for movement just as much as it hungers for food and thirsts for water. We hunger for movement because it is a need -- as essential as any nutrient. Yet after a certain age we begin to think of exercise as a chore – as something we’re supposed to do because it’s good for us. What a set-up for hating it and for good intentions that come to naught! The only way I’ve found to stick with a program of regular exercise is to find something I enjoy doing. Because of my busy schedule, it’s got to be something that doesn’t take up much time and that I can do at home. For me, rebounding fits that bill. Fifteen minutes in the morning wakes me up for the day, and another fifteen minutes at the end of my work day releases any accumulated tension. What’s rebounding? Simply bouncing or jogging up and down on a specially constructed trampoline called a rebounder. It sounds simple, and it is! Simple, enjoyable, and highly beneficial. It’s the most efficient way to exercise because you’re simultaneously exercising every cell in your body when you bounce. Fifteen minutes of rebounding is as good as hours at the gym, and even a few minutes a day on a rebounder will benefit you. For the science behind rebounding see my article, Bouncing Magic. What happens when I’m really busy or especially tired? I don’t do it! There’s no law that says you have to exercise every day. Far better to let it go for a day or two than for it to become a dreaded chore. Although 30 minutes of rebounding 5 days a week is an ideal to strive for, be happy with what you can do. If you get tired of doing the same thing, mix it up. Find different ways to move as you bounce. If you need ideas, there are books on rebounding and lots of ideas on the internet. Listen to music, or, my favorite, bounce outside in the sun, while filling your lungs with fresh air and observing the ever-changing natural world around you. New studies on high intensity training indicate that sprinting for one minute and bouncing or jogging easily (essentially resting) for the next four for 20-30 minutes three times a week may be more advantageous than doing aerobics at moderate intensity for 40-60 minutes five times a week. So sprinting and resting is one thing you can try. But listen to your own body. When you feel like challenging yourself to push harder, by all means go for it. But don’t think you have to push yourself the same way every day. If you choose to start rebounding, it’s important to have a high-quality rebounder; you can hurt yourself on a cheap trampoline, and even some of the more expensive rebounders have too much give in the mat. I chose our rebounder for its sturdy construction and because it provides good support, with just the right degree of bounce. But whether you rebound, walk, dance, Zumba, take yoga classes, run in the park – whatever you do, please don’t make exercise a chore. Exercise can be something you do for yourself, not for anybody else, even your inner critic, and not just because you know it’s good for you. It’s your time to experience the fun and joy and freedom to move!
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