It is -4 degrees outside today. I certainly am not going for a walk, and I am not inspired to brave the cold to get to my strength training class at the gym. I know I need to move it today, so what will I do? I will hop on my rebounder, of course! Actually, I use my rebounder year round, but I especially appreciate its convenience, as well as physical and mood lifting benefits at this time of year.
I love rebounding, and luckily, it is a pretty perfect exercise for women with PCOS. It is low impact, builds muscle and cardiovascular stamina, and gently detoxifies the body. Mostly though, rebounding is fun! The feeling you get at the moment of zero gravity is hard to match and keeps me coming back.
Any exercise you look forward to doing will inspire you to move it, and that’s our goal. My rebounder is in my family room. Everyone in my family walks by it many times per day, and it is hard for any of us to resist getting on and moving it a bit. These mini-workouts throughout the day lift my mood and energy, aid my digestion, boost my immune system and more.
Rebounding Benefits for Women with PCOS:
1. Safe Aerobic and Muscle Building Exercise: One of the critical components of naturally treating PCOS and the PCOS lifestyle is daily movement. Rebounding offers a safe and effective way to move it and exercise. As you move on a rebounder, you experience all of the benefits of working against gravity without the traumatic effect the impact on a hard surface can have on your body, particularly on your ankles, shins and knees. James White, Ph.D., director of research and rehabilitation in the physical education department at the University of California at San Diego lauds rebounding for conditioning and muscle building:
”Rebounding allows the muscles to go through a full range of motion at equal force, it helps people learn to shift their weight properly and to be aware of body positions and balance…It’s a good way to burn off calories and lose weight.”
In fact, 12 minutes of rebounding burns more calories than the same time spent jogging without the jarring effect on muscles, tendons and joints. When you run or do any high impact activity, most of the impact is absorbed by the feet and legs. On the rebounder, the force is spread equally through the legs, feet, head and back, lessening the stress on isolated body parts. NASA encourages their astronauts to use a rebounder as well, citing its efficient metabolic effects throughout the body to “avert deconditioning” and lessen bone loss when exposed to weightlessness in space.
2. Lymphatic Cleansing: A less obvious, but equally important benefit of rebounding involves your lymphatic system. The lymph system is a second circulatory system which primarily drains toxins, dead cells, etc. from your body. It is a very important part of your immune system, preventing colds, and ridding you of “dead and cancerous cells, nitrogenous wastes, fat, infectious viruses, heavy metals, and other material cast off by cells.” Importantly for women with PCOS, it flushes excess hormones, keeping your endocrine system healthy. It works in much the same way that the circulatory system does, pushing lymphatic liquid throughout the body, but it does not have a heart to pump the fluid. Lymphatic fluid moves in 3 ways, muscular contraction (exercise or movement), gravitational pressure, and internal massage (gentle rubbing of the lymph valves). When we move, our muscles contract and squeeze the lymph vessels, pumping the lymph along. It happens every time we bend, walk or move. When you use your rebounder though, your lymph system enjoys movement in all three ways at the same time. That is why you feel so good afterward; not only is your blood circulation improved bringing your cells nutrition and oxygen, your lymph system gets a cleansing boost! Anything we can do to keep lymph moving is a good thing.
3. Stress Reduction– Exercise of any kind can help you reduce stress. Specifically, it bumps up your body’s production of endorphins which are neurotransmitters that make you feel good. Have you ever heard of runner’s high? Rebounding has its equivalent that people call a “trancelike state.” Women with PCOS often struggle with mood issues. Rebounding not only gives you the benefits of exercise induced endorphins, it is just plain fun!
How to Choose a Rebounder:
Rebounders can be easily found in stores or online. They generally range in price from $40-$250 depending upon quality and snazzy upgrades like a balance bar. Whichever you choose, be certain that it has:
- at least 6 legs for stability
- non-slip surface
- removable legs if storage is an issue
- quality springs (check the weight limits- don’t buy a child’s toy)
There are many quality rebounders on the market. I recently upgraded to a Bellicon rebounder. They are very well constructed and have higher weight limits. You can find them on the QiBounding website along with online classes and support.
When you begin rebounding, keep your feet on the surface. Little bounces will get you started and help you learn the balance and coordination required. Start out with just a few minutes and work your way up. Try breaking 15 minutes up throughout the day. Once you start, you won’t want to stop anyway. As you get more advanced, try adding weights. You can purchase hand weights or weights that strap you’re your ankles, or just hold a can of soup in each hand. Once you have the hang of it, try:
- Running or jogging
- High knees
- Jumping jacks
- Kicking forward or backward
- Twist to alternating directions in the air
Don’t let the cold weather deter you from moving it every day! Try rebounding for a great way to shake up your routine.