Children have long enjoyed the joy and freedom of jumping high and soaring through the air on a trampoline. Jumping on a trampoline can be a fun and exhilarating way to exercise and play.
Jumpers can also get therapeutic benefits for physical, mental, and emotional help when used safely.
Exercise has been shown to have additional benefits for people with attention hyperactivity disorders (ADHD), autism, or other developmental disorders.
Simple play and exercise have benefits for both children and adults with ADHD and those on the autism spectrum. A recent type of therapy that has grown in popularity is trampoline therapy.
What Is Trampoline Therapy?
Trampoline therapy also called rebound therapy, is different from other types of therapy. It is well-known that individuals with ADHD or autism are often overwhelmed with group situations, including group sports.
People with developmental disorders often are intimidated by team sports, gym settings, or exercise classes.
Trampolining can be an alternative form of activity and exercise, that provides benefits to the jumper, but avoids the feeling of being overwhelmed often experienced in more traditional settings. Trampoline therapy can be flexible and simple.
It does not need to be in a formal setting such as a dedicated trampoline center, or with a therapist. Trampoline therapy can be moulded to meet the needs of individuals and families. Having a home trampoline gives the individual easier access to therapy.
It is readily available, and with proper safety precautions and supervision, can be an effective way for users to benefit from it, and involve families in the activity as well.
Benefits of Trampolining For Children With ADHD
According to the Attention Deficit, Disorder Association individuals with ADHD can also experience similar benefits from trampoline therapy. People dealing with ADHD know that one of the roadblocks to clear thinking is the reduced amount of dopamine in the brain, which is common with ADHD.
Regular participation in exercise, including jumping on a trampoline, increases the amounts of dopamine present, which in turn improves the clarity of thought and brain function.
Exercise has also been shown to release hormones that improve mood. There are many beneficial aspects to trampoline therapy, such as helping with sensory imbalances, increasing dopamine release, promoting calm, and increasing the awareness of body movement.
Benefits of Trampolining For Children With Autism
Trampolining can be beneficial to adults and children who have developmental disorders that included sensory imbalance. People on the autism spectrum often seek refuge from these sensory imbalances.
Individuals with autism often use repetitive physical movements such as rocking, clapping, and swinging to help them cope with these imbalances. Trampolining is a way that people on the spectrum can use movement in a rhythmic, yet soothing, way.
Children on the autism spectrum often become addicted to passive activities, such as video gaming. Addiction to such passive activities can lead to weight issues and isolation. Providing an outlet to people on the autism spectrum is a way to counteract less physical activities.
Individuals on the spectrum often have difficulty with motor coordination and gaining motor skills. Use of a trampoline for therapy, or even using a trampoline for some outdoor energy release can help improve muscle tone and motor skills while burning calories to assist in weight management.
Trampolining can also help individuals on the spectrum with coordination, muscle control and balance.
Since individuals on the autism spectrum don’t often have body awareness, trampoline therapy and recreational jumping on a trampoline can help children develop more body awareness, by the repetitive jumping, learning to control the direction they are bouncing, and learning to guide their bodies effectively.
Individuals can focus on keeping their bodies upright and controlling the location of the body in relation to the trampoline.
How Trampolines Help Mental Health
Exercise has also been shown to be a beneficial treatment for anxiety and depression. It has been shown that cortisol is the main culprit of depression and anxiety. Exercise has been shown to improve clear thinking, assist with the regulation of mood, and improve concentration.
Repetitive movements such as running and jumping have been shown to release neurotransmitters including norepinephrine and serotonin.
Repetitive motions have been shown beneficial for individuals affected by depression and anxiety, as well as people who have ADHD, are on the autism spectrum, or have developmental disorders. They have also been shown to have a meditative effect on the brain, causing a feeling of calm.
The Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience published a review in 2006 that showed evidence that exercise has some similar effects to anti-anxiety and anti-depressive medications. Jumping can also promote easier and more restful sleep at night.
This can benefit the overall health, stress levels, and mental health of individuals.
Safety Precautions to Take
Trampolines should be considered a danger unless safety precautions are put in place.
One safety measure that should be put in place is the installation of trampoline safety netting. Safety netting that is high-quality, with a strong mesh, is a crucial safety measure that should be in place before people start trampolining. This mesh helps keep jumpers from falling over the side and is good for helping users reposition themselves on the jumping surface.
Safety padding, when installed correctly, provides a buffer for jumpers, around the edges of the trampolines, and padding the springs and frame. These pads should be examined regularly to ensure that they are not damaged, ripped, or weathered in a way that will decrease their effectiveness.
There should always be adult supervision when children or adults are jumping on the trampoline. Supervising trampoliners can help reduce the risk of injuries.
Supervisors should make sure that only one jumper uses the trampoline at a time. Most trampoline injuries occur when more than one jumper is on the jumping surface at one time.
All users should be aware that no reckless stunts or tricks should be attempted on the trampoline. There should be no flipping, cartwheels, or somersaults done on the trampoline. These are the types of activities that cause frequent injuries.
The trampoline must be placed on a level area of the property. This will help keep the trampoline steady and stable. Having a flat jumping surface with no slope can make it easier for jumpers to slip or fall off of the trampoline.
Any trampolines should also be in a fenced area to eliminate the possibility of others wandering onto the property and injuring themselves jumping.
Frequent safety checks of equipment should be done frequently. Adults should make sure there are no holes, tears, or damage to the netting, jumping surface, or padding. Any damage to the structure may cause the trampoline to not perform in the way that it was designed.
Potential trampoline owners should check the requirements of their homeowner’s policy. Many homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover trampoline injuries.
Regular trampoline use can help children on the autism spectrum and those with ADHD to work on their balance and motor skills. The benefits of trampolining are that jumpers exercise their whole body, which improves muscle tone, the functioning of joints, and increases flexibility.
Children enjoy jumping and bouncing around. It provides jumpers with fun while breathing in both sunlight and air. These provide a variety of health benefits.
This is true for all ages and abilities. By using a trampoline safely, individuals, including those with autism, ADHD, or developmental disorders can dramatically improve the behaviors, physical fitness, and lives of adults and children who are on the autism spectrum, have ADHD or have other special needs.