Trampolines are perhaps the most endearing example of home fitness equipment thanks to the enjoyment that people of a wide variety of ages and fitness can experience through using them. A firm family favorite that spans multiple generations, it often surprises people to learn that trampolining is in fact an Olympic level gymnastic discipline and also used by many athletes to enhance their core strength and endurance. Fun as they may be for casual use, trampolines do need to be treated with respect for just like all forms of fitness equipment, incorrect or irresponsible use can lead to injury.
Recently trampolines have become more popular than ever, and correspondingly reports of people suffering sometimes very serious harm through unsafe use have become occasional front page news. In this article we’ll take a look at how responsible use of trampolines can provide a great feature for overall fitness and workout routines, and explain the best practice when installing, setting up and using them at home.
Essential Information For Trampolining Safely
The majority of injuries suffered when trampolining are caused by poor landing. These can range from relatively minor issues such as sprained wrists and ankles all the way through to extremely serious damage to the spinal column, face and head. In the vast majority of these incidents the injury is entirely preventable and can simply be attributed to the person ‘pushing’ themselves to try a trick such as a somersault which they have never practiced or prepared for. Like all forms of exercise the golden and most essential rule is to start slow and gradually build up strength, confidence and endurance – something that is very easily forgotten in something as fun and seemingly innocuous as trampolining.
While adults should be expected to understand this simple rule and also have stronger bodies that are more resistant to heavy/bad landings, unfortunately many injuries that occur through trampolining are suffered by children who are more partial to getting overexcited and carried away. Children younger than six should not be using trampolines at all (sense of balance not yet fully developed), and older kids should be supervised by an adult to ensure that they respect the equipment and associated risks of enjoying it.
6 Simple Usage Rules:
- One person at a time, even on larger trampolines.
- No tricks!
- No bouncing onto or off of the tramploine.
- Never use a trampoline while intoxicated or impaired.
- Regularly check safety pads and netting.
- Avoid use in overly wet and/or windy conditions.
What To Look For In A Safe Trampoline
When setting out to buy a trampoline it’s important to look for models that also include appropriate safety features while also being of a suitable size. There’s plenty of very cheap trampolines out there that may not be suitable for regular use and are designed – sometime irresponsibly – solely with kids in mind. A good quality trampoline will match expected safety legislation (this ought to be boldly evident on the packaging) and also provide relevant information for weight capacity.
In regards to safety features, it’s a good idea to look for trampolines that also include safety nets. These serve to help protect the user from falling onto metal components such as the base frame or springs should they lose their balance or sense of direction, while also helping prevent people bouncing straight off of the mat.
Likewise safety pads/mats are wise investments especially when intending to use the trampoline on a regular basis and/or it is sited on a hard surface such as concrete. Ideally trampolines should be located on soft turf as this helps to keep the trampoline firm and reduces the risk of it slipping or sliding out of place.
So – Are Trampolines Safe?
It may be easy to read through this information and conclude that trampolines aren’t worth the number of potential risks, however truth be told that when used responsibly and with appropriate care and practice they can provide a very enjoyable alternative way of conducting a healthy workout. Many of the risks are associated with unpracticed people using the equipment without being aware of the potential dangers, something rather unique when it comes to exercise tools – after all how many 6 year old are likely to jump on a treadmill or exercise bike?
However providing such scenarios are managed and approached with caution, trampolining can be a wonderful – and safe – addition to the home, and a unique way to enjoy some high quality exercise.