Improves Proprioception & Balance
Balance is a highly developed activity requiring sophisticated organization of muscle groups in response to the position of the body as it is related to gravity. Our balance starts to deteriorate from the age of 16 if not constantly challenged!
Proprioceptors are sensors located in soft tissues such as joints, ligaments and tendons, that provide information about joint angle, muscle length, and muscle tension, which is integrated to give information about the position of the limb in space and communicated via our CNS (central nervous system).
A major role of proprioceptors and sensory receptors is to help us learn about the environment around us. Proprioception means “sense of self’’.
Most of us have at some point in time experienced an ankle sprain injury whereby we role the ankle/foot to the outside. If our balance receptors are highly tuned there is much less likely chance of this happening as they will sense when the foot is going off balance and communicate to our muscular skeletal system to counter the ankle rolling to the outside avoiding potential injury.
Following injury like this it is vital to retrain proprioceptors and our communication pathways to avoid this recurring. Prevention is of course an all important aspect of any training programme.
The unstable surface of the Rebounder forces the body to adapt to a constantly changing base of support, thereby challenging balance.
This makes the Rebounder a really effective and versatile tool for improving balance.
In 2000, the assistant professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Cornell University Medical Center, Dr. Vijay B. Vad, performed a study with 5 subjects, evaluating the Rebounding system’s impact on proprioception.
He evaluated the subjects’ proprioceptive ability prior to and following training on a Rebounder. At the onset of the study, each person stood on one leg with his or her eyes closed for as long as they could. This amount of time was recorded. The subjects then underwent pre-designed Rebounding cardio routines for 20 minutes, 3 times a week, for two months. Following the month of Rebounding, the subjects were tested again. Each participant significantly increased the length of time they could stand on a single leg with their eyes closed (prior to Rebounding average was 7.3 seconds, following training average was 11.96 seconds).
An 70% improvement in proprioception!
Therefore, Rebounding may lay claim to improvements in proprioception with consistent training and kinesthetic awareness.
The Balance Challenge
Try an experiment yourself, and also with your class participants and personal training clients using a variation of the previous balance test. If you do a simple stalk test (stand on one leg) before you begin your rebounding class/session, this is great fun and also quite inspiring as your participants will most definitely see a balance improvement if you do the same test again, after 30-60 minutes of rebounding! Remember they need to stand on one leg in the centre of rebounder. Try with both eyes open and if this is not challenging enough for them, they can close one eye or both eyes. See how many seconds they can balance for and it’s important that they do the test on both legs. Remember it’s not how long you can balance for initially – it’s is your body as balanced on the left side as the right side! The aim is to be able to balance on one leg for approximately the same amount of time on each leg.