Fun February Facts: Feb 9 was the day in 1964 that saw The Beatles make their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and perform before a record audience of 73 million viewers across the USA, it marked the first test flight of the Boeing 747 in 1969, was the last day Halley’s comet was in the inner solar system in 1986 and is the birthday of Bill Justice in 1914, a Walt Disney animator known for his work creating the character Thumper from the movie Bambi, Chip and Dale and his character contributions to several rides at Disneyland, including Pirates of The Carribean and Haunted Mansion.
If you want to keep yourself healthy, fit and mobile… One of the best things you can do is bounce and jump.
What happens when you bounce or jump?
The whole body gets a workout. More specifically you stimulate and enhance:
– Brain development, connections and bloodflow*
– Heart, lungs and circulatory system
– Bone density
– Muscle, tendon and ligaments
– Immune system
– Lymphatic and waste disposal system*
– The oft neglected Fun system
(*We shall explore more in Brain Health Part 2)
Jumping and bouncing are technically very involved activities and require quite a bit of bodily action and involvement. When you get down to the basic level, however, moving your bodyweight up and down is a natural movement pattern and requires full body participation. Brain activity skyrockets as it activates and monitors the entire body coming to life, especially the cardiovascular, muscular and balance systems. After just a few jumps the entire body has been activated and starts to reap benefits. The longer, more intensely and/or rhythmically you jump the deeper the benefit (up to a point, of course).
The magic in jumping lies in the change in weight you experience. At the top of a jump you’re almost weightless and when you land your body experiences heavier than normal load/gravity, stimulating several layers of reaction and adaptation. It’s this ebb and flow (or pulse) between heavier and lighter than normal load on your skeleton and body that stimulates so many favorable processes.
Here are the 6 basic ways to get some more bounce in your life:
Start simple. Work your way up and do what you’re comfortable with. Bouncing and jumping only works if you do what you’re capable of and don’t overdo it.
This is literally as simple as it sounds. Hop up and down. Even if you’re barely leaving the ground, the important part here is to move your bodyweight up and absorb your weight on the way down. The more rhythmic you can do this the better. Jumping jacks should actually be called bouncing jacks because they fit into this category. Add in some side to side and one leg versions of bouncing for extra challenge and variety.
This is what most people think of as more traditional “jumping” where you jump up and down, in one spot, from one spot to another and/or on and off things. Jump and land evenly and softly, keep control and master the simple before you move on. When ready to elevate your jumps, start with a small step and work your way up.
One of my favorite ways to incorporate bounce into life. This is also literally as simple as skipping just like kids do and we did when we were younger. For an extra challenge, try the Dorothy skip from the Wizard Of Oz.
This is simply skilled/coordinated bouncing. It offers a bit more challenge and can be elevated to several layers of difficulty but offers the same benefit.
One of my favorite ways to incorporate jumping into your life. Not only can it be tremendously fun but it offers a comfortable way to enhance the gravity promoting impact of landing without landing on a hard surface. Even a small trampoline, called a rebounder, can be tremendously beneficial for people of any age and ability. The bigger trampolines offer an enhanced version and can be great workouts and incredibly fun. Some of the most intense workouts I have are when I go to the trampoline park and bounce around with my boys.
The ultimate jumping challenge. Obviously not for everyone but offers the biggest bang for your buck in not only overall body work, but particularly the core and upper body.
Here’s a sample of my bouncing/jumping routine:
In general, I like bouncing and jumping simply because it’s moving your own body around and can be a lot of fun. The health benefits are a bonus… but a tremendous one at that.
Thanks for reading, have a great day!
P.S. One of the reasons why running is good for you is that it is actually repeated controlled falling and many of the same benefits occur when you hit the ground and propel yourself off the ground. The faster you run the better the benefit.