'Urban rebounders' find
health benefits of trampolines

By Curt Yeomans


Franni Broxton has increased the amount of time she can bounce on an Urban Rebounder by 15 minutes.

"My first time, I was only able to do it for 20 minutes," said Broxton, 67, a resident of Riverdale. "Now, I can go for about 30 to 35 minutes at a time. It has also helped with my balance. It has just gotten better."

Broxton is one of many senior adults enrolled in the Urban Rebounder class at the Frank Bailey Senior Center. She has been in the class since October, shortly after it became a free offering. She joined so she could get some exercise, and lose some weight.

Urban Rebounders are small trampolines with handle bars attached to the front. By bouncing on the device while doing aerobic exercises, such as stationary jogging and twists, a person puts the weight of his, or her, body onto the trampoline, explained James Butts, who teaches the Urban Rebounder class.

By comparison, a person doing the same exercises on the ground, while recovering from a knee or ankle injury would put the force of his or her weight on his or her legs, said Butts.

"It's very good for anyone, old or young, who may have injured themselves and are rehabilitating from that injury," said Butts. "It [the Urban Rebounder] supports the weight."

He added that it helps a person raise his or her heart rate while burning calories, which eventually translates into weight loss.

The key to using an Urban Rebounder, like any other trampoline, is to not jump on it, according to the instructor. By engaging in jumping, the person loses some degree of control, Butts added.

"You may not land in the middle like you should," Butts said. "You may land on one side or the other, or on the bar, and that leads to injuries."

Despite being the only person in the class until Tuesday, Broxton said she had so much fun with the class, she makes sure her Tuesday afternoons are now open, so she can attend it every week.

As students get used to using the device, Butts gradually has them do more and more exercises, which do not require them to use the handle bar. He said it is there for new students, who are just learning how to properly bounce on the device.

"It also gives them a sense of reassurance, because they have something to grab onto, if they feel like they are going to lose their balance," said Butts.

Brenda Braswell, 56, another Riverdale resident, attended the class for the first time on Tuesday. She heard about the class from Broxton, who is also in Braswell's line-dancing class. After her first session, Braswell said she was hooked on the class.

"I have a trampoline at home, but it is packed away in a box," Braswell said. "I'm really glad I joined this class, because the teacher taught me the correct way to do it. I didn't know you were supposed to bounce on it. I thought you were supposed to jump up and down on it for awhile."