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Shake It Up: Trampoline Aerobics, And The Old-Fashioned Thrill Of Jumping High

This article is more than 11 years old.

I love routine. I eat the same breakfast everyday, and relish my trips every summer to the same cottage in Wellfleet I've been to for over 40 years.

Exercise is no different. Since I've had kids, it's basically running and yoga, and for me, it's the perfect regimen. (I'm going to my 30th high school reunion this month thinner than I was in high school. 'Nuff said.) Still, I'm aware in some abstract sense that a little change, sometimes, is good.

Trampoline aerobics have been on my mind for over a year. I kept meaning to check out the classes at SkyZone, an indoor trampoline park in Boston but have conveniently found one excuse after another not to go (it's a schlep, it's not Zen, it's risky, etc.)

Yesterday though, I did something different. Pushed by our new Shake It Up series, and the prevailing exercise wisdom that trying something outside your comfort zone forces your body and mind to stretch in healthy ways, I ventured to Hyde Park, to experience SkyRobics, which is basically an aerobics class on a trampoline.

Jumping, it turns out, is really, really fun.

After paying my $6 (the first class is half-price) and putting on my little blue trampoline shoes I started to jump, tentatively at first, but then I really got bouncing. Instantly, I experienced a rush of physical memories: jumping as a kid, the ease a body can have when it's unburdened by gravity, the pure thrill of flying through the air. (The class alternates between jumping and more traditional exercises, and when we did crunches, leg lifts and push-ups, all of my gym-resenting, anti-eat-your-peas, grown-up negativity crept back. But every time I got back to free-form bouncing, I was drawn into this deeper, almost-dormant girlhood place, like a very old part of my brain had reawakened.)

The class, taught by Terry Young, a super fit runner, cyclist and former high school track coach went like this: we warmed up with jumping jacks (these are jumping jacks in their truest form) and then moved on to tossing a ball back and forth while jumping, with orders to do additional exercises and calisthenics, like spins and more sit-ups, if we dropped the ball. (There was only one other person in class with me, Lisa Bello, of Needham, a SkyRobics enthusiast preparing for a Triathalon this month.)

I got a little worried when Lisa threw the ball and it hit me in the face. My nose hurt and I feared my expensive glasses frames were damaged, but I recovered.

After the ball game, we advanced to SkyLaps, where we moved from trampoline to trampoline around the large "court." This really got my heart going and when I was finally able to travel around the course with only one bounce between trampolines — quite challenging — I got a glimpse of what a great workout this could be if you pushed yourself hard. (A flyer for the class says you can burn up to 1,000 calories per hour. I'd like to see the data.)

The we did some core work and arm strengthening with rubber straps (while jumping) and moved to the wall (a trampoline wall) for some very odd looking "arm digs" where you vibrate your arms as fast as possible while leaning into the trampoline. I'm slightly sore today so I guess the digs worked.

Lisa told me she got into SkyRobics because it's different and fun, and by the end of class she'd worked up a sweat. I was more cautious and less sweaty: though I loved being airborne I was anxious about getting injured, so I held back a little.

And though I got a decent workout, later that day, when the sun came out, I put on my running shoes and took a short, reassuring jog along my usual path.

This program aired on May 3, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



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