Do you think NASA, trampolines, and astronauts are related? Yes, they are. Believe it or not, before sending astronauts to space, NASA makes them jump on a rebounder.
But why do NASA astronauts jump on a trampoline? NASA found that rebounding helps fight the effects of zero gravity, they decided to use it in their training for space.
Let’s dive into this post to understand why NASA uses rebounding in more detail.
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What NASA Says About Rebounding
Rebounding is not a new concept. It has been around for so many years. But our understanding of rebounding exercise as a process of gravitational force overloading is new.
One possible explanation for why NASA uses trampolines is that they need a real exercise breakthrough before going to space. That’s because a study found that astronauts who go to space even for a couple of weeks lose around 15% of their bone density and muscle mass.
It happened because, without gravity, the cells of bones and muscles took a lot on themselves to adjust to the different environments. As strong bones are not necessary for zero gravity, bone cells began degrading and dissolving bone minerals from the bones.
Astronauts who have worked out on a trampoline have experienced better fitness levels. In addition, they saw improvement in balance and coordination, muscular strength, bilateral motor, lungs, and cardio capacity.
NASA experts also found rebounding help in gaining the so-called “air sense.” The astronauts who went to space after jumping on a trampoline did not have to focus on keeping themselves physically fit in space. That means they could spend their time and give their full attention to important things.
Here is the key finding by NASA for rebounding:
Regularly jumping on trampolines is a great way for full-body exercise. Plus, it does not put any additional pressure on the joints. That’s because when you jump on a trampoline, it absorbs the shock.
Jumping on a trampoline can increase your cellular strength by exposing the body parts to environmental stress.
Trampolining puts less stress on the heart because it is 68% more effective than jogging or running.
While jumping on a trampoline, the maximum force does not exceed the 4-Gs. Thus, trampolining is much safer and better.
Do Astronauts Use Rebounders
Yes, astronauts have started using rebounding after conducting a study in 1980. This study helped them understand the benefits of fitness and trampoline training for astronauts.
They compared the benefits of jumping on a trampoline with running on a treadmill. They went above and beyond to maintain the accuracy of the results.
After the study was completed, they concluded that rebounding exercise is much better, effective, and efficient. In fact, a few minutes of dedicated jumping on a trampoline can burn more calories than 30 minutes of running.
After this revelation, NASA decided to include trampoline exercises in their training to help astronauts improve balance, coordination, bone density, muscle mass, motor skills, cardio fitness, and lung capacity.
Besides better calorie burn, rebounding exercises are also known to be a low-impact workout. Regular trampoline is also known to do wonders for the respiratory, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal systems. Plus, it can have a positive impact on your mental health.
NASA study revealed that jumping on a trampoline can improve oxygen consumption and blood flow in a much better way. Rebounding offers a low impact on the body. It improved plantar flexor muscle strength and dynamic stability in older people. Plus, it enhances their ability to regain balance.
Bone Density: Older people who regularly exercise on rebounding can reduce the risk of hip fracture. Trampolining can slow down the loss of bone mass and enhance the sense of balance.
Body Composition: A study conducted for 12 weeks on a mini-trampoline thrice a week revealed that trampolining could improve body composition, including fat and muscle mass. The workout also helped in improving the feeling of vitality.
Lymphatic System: It’s claimed that rebounding flushes toxins out of the body. Regular jumping on rebounders can improve the lymph fluids flow, which carries vital lymphocytes and nutrients. Meanwhile, it disposes of waste products, including cell waste, bacteria, viruses, and stagnant proteins. Overall, rebounding helps boost immunity and increase lymph fluid circulation in the body. It is possible due to the relation between free fall and large acceleration.
Mental Health: Any sort of exercise is known to be beneficial for mental health. It can improve mood and release hormones that promote a feeling of happiness. The bigger the bounce, the better the mood.
Benefits Upon Returning to Earth
Rebounding benefits are not only related to astronauts going to space, but it is also beneficial upon returning to earth. That means even after the mission is over, astronauts can still jump on a trampoline to deal with lost bone mass.
Well, bone density is built with increased G-forced. In addition, it impacts the ligaments, tendons, and muscles as well. Therefore, trampolining can make the skeleton stronger.
Upon returning to earth, jumping on a trampoline can also help NASA astronauts deal with a lack of balance.
NASA astronauts use rebounding before going to space because it helps in gaining the so-called “air sense.” It also increases cellular strength and puts less stress on the heart. Also, it does not exceed the 4-Gs.
Likewise, when astronauts return to earth from space, they can still jump on a trampoline as it helps deal with lost bone mass.
How do astronauts exercise in space?
Astronauts in space exercise using a stationary bike, weightlifting machine, and treadmill. As there is no gravity, exercise machines are designed for weightlessness.