In 1980, NASA conducted a study in search of the best possible exercise to rehabilitate astronauts after spending time in gravity-deprived outer space for periods of time.
The reason NASA carried out the study of trampolining is because our astronauts lost as much as 14% of their muscle mass in fifteen days of space flight. The mice with a faster metabolism lost as much as 40% in the same period. They were suffering from deconditioning and osteoporosis, the same as the aged or the bedridden. NASA was looking for a non-traumatic form of exercise that would help to recondition a deconditioned astronaut. Can we assume the accepted forms of exercise were not acceptable to NASA? This is the only reason they would reach out from the accepted into new and unique forms of exercise never before considered.
It appears that the cells of the body have a greater ability to adjust to their environment than we give them credit for. Without gravity, the cells of the bones and muscles took it upon themselves to adjust. Strong bones are not necessary in a zero gravity environment, so the osteocytes (bone cells) become osteoclasts and began to dissolve bone mineral from the bones.(Medical doctors know that when bones are stressed, the bone cells perform osteoblastic activity by absorbing bone mineral and depositing it in the bones where they are being stressed.)
Go to your local health club, athletic department or university. Listen to the athletic trainers as they explain to you how to use the various exercise equipment. As you read the messages on the side of the machines or work stations you will realize each machine is designed for exercising only a very specific set of the muscles of the body. Be aware, it is necessary to use many different machines to exercise all of the skeletal muscles. See if you can find an exercise machine designed to strengthen your skeleton. You will find none. Then look for the machines that is supposed to strengthen the involuntary muscles of your digestive system or your elimination system. I have not been able to find that machine.Today’s accepted exercise methods are not complete for an astronaut’s body that just returned from a weightless environment, because they are not complete for any body. What NASA needs and was looking for is a whole body exercise – one that would strengthen the whole body all at once, and they found it, with rebound exercise.
“Rebound Exercise is the most efficient, effective form of exercise yet devised by man.”
The following are some of the results revealed by this team of scientists from NASA:
1. The G-force measured at the ankle was always more than twice the G-force measured at the back and forehead while running on a treadmill.
This helps to explain shin splints and knee problems,especially when the natural shock absorbing system of the body becomes so fatigued that it doesn’t do its job correctly, thus throwing added unexpected forces on already tired muscles,ligaments and tendons, forcing them beyond the point of rupture.
2. While jumping on a trampoline, the G-force was almost the same at all three points, (ankle, back, forehead) and well below the rupture threshold of a normal healthy individual.
This makes it possible to exercise the entire body knowing that there is no undue pressure applied to part of the body such as the feet, ankles, and legs, and at the same time knowing that each part of the body is receiving the necessary environmental stresses it needs to become stronger cell by cell.
3. The external work output at equivalent levels of oxygen uptake were significantly greater while trampolining than running. The greatest difference was about 68%.
The efficient use of the vertical forces of acceleration and deceleration to produce internal loading by directly opposing the gravitational pull develops more bio mechanical work with less energy expended, thus less oxygen used and less demand placed on the heart.
4. While trampolining, as long as the G-force remained below 4-G’s, the ratio of oxygen consumption compared to bio mechanical conditioning was sometimes more than twice as efficient as treadmill running.
It is important to note that although this experiment was performed on a trampoline where the participants were able to develop a G-force as high as 8-G’s, the efficient use of energy was below 4-G’s. People involved in rebound exercise on rebound units have been measured only as high as 3.5-G’s,so that any activity on a rebound unit is more efficient than treadmill running at any speed.
5. With the G-force the same as or greater than 4-G’s ” . . there was no significant difference in the oxygen uptake between the two regimens”.
Even when a person is able to develop a force on the trampoline of more than 4-G’s, although it is no more efficient as far as oxygen consumption than running, it is still much better on the lower extremities because the cells are still below their rupture threshold providing a safe way to exercise.
Read the original NASA study published 1980 in the Journal of Applied Physiology