Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Bouncing to a Healthier Child! Part 1

Walk in to Pacific Flips on any given day and you will probably hear kids ask if they are going to the trampoline this week. Most kids love the trampoline and we don't blame them, it's really fun! The fantastic part about trampoline is that it's not only fun, it's extremely beneficial to your health and development!

Here are just a few reasons why we like to include trampoline in all of our classes. 

  • Improves Balance and Coordination- Did you know that bouncing stimulates the tiny muscles of the vestibular system which manages the body’s balance and coordination?  The vestibular system is what helps with your balance. Have you ever watched ice skating and wonder how they don't get dizzy?! It's because their vestibular system is prepared and they've trained well. 
    • Bouncing also helps release congestion in the middle ear responsible for equilibrium and balance, as well as training the brain to develop muscular balance and coordination.

  • Stimulates the Lymphatic SystemThe lymphatic system produces and stores cells that fight infection.  It runs parallel with the veins and arteries, but unlike the circulatory system that has a heart, it has no pump. The lymphatic system relies on body movement to open and close the one-way valves to carry lymphatic cells through the channels. What do kids complain about when they start to get sick? That their neck hurts, more importantly, their lymph nodes, which are often swollen due to an infection.
    • In discussing the importance of the lymphatic system, Dr. C. Samuel West, Lymphologist states: When the lymphatic system is congested, the cells become deprived of oxygen, affecting the body’s ability to rid itself of its own waste material. Over time, other body systems that rely on the lymphatic system for waste removal will also become compromised, setting the stage for pain and disease. Bouncing activates the lymphatic system, increasing lymphocytes that will eat away diseased cells. Just a few minutes of bouncing may increase lymph flow as much as fifteen times.

  • Development of motor skills – The brain is forced to function bilaterally when a jumper is in the air. Both sides of the brain and both sides of the body must work together to maintain coordination and balance when on a trampoline. This increases motor skills. 
    • Ever notice and wonder why the coaches draw pictures in the middle of the big trampoline? Not only because we have some talented artists on staff and the kids love it, but it's actually a tool we use to help kids learn how to stay in the middle of the trampoline. Many kids who have never jumped before or have poor muscle control bounce all over the place in their first few attempts. Over time most kids can control their bounces and stay in the center. The amount of time it takes varies with each child. 

And personally, I think it's a smile maker. Just try to get on a trampoline in a bad mood. It's very difficult to not have that frown turn upside down while jumping!

There are many, many, more benefits to jumping on trampolines, but those will come in a future post. So for now, I hope you have a wonderful day!

-Coach Kelly