Jump For Joy!
Trampolines have come a long way since their invention in the 1930s, and have undergone a plethora of modern improvements in recent years. Here, Cloé Timperley chats to Will Carlile, the commercial manager for Mr Trampoline, about the many benefits of a backyard trampoline, and the different styles that are available today.
If you reflect on your best childhood memories, chances are most of them involve free play outdoors. Just like bike-riding and summers spent at the pool, trampolines were a childhood staple for many people. However, with the proliferation of tablets, Androids and consoles, Australian children are now spending an increasing amount of time in front of screens and less time playing outside in the fresh air. If you’re looking to make your backyard a more enticing space for the kids, including a trampoline is the perfect solution. With trampolines offering fun physical exercise and an array of health benefits, you’d more likely find yourself chasing the kids back inside for dinner rather than off the couch. Here, Melbourne Pool + Outdoor Design explores the important design and safety considerations of the backyard trampoline, and the many reasons behind its enduring popularity.
Leaps And Bounds
Trampolines have evolved considerably since their invention, when they merely comprised a piece of canvas and a rectangular iron frame. Materials and designs have become much more sophisticated since then, which means trampolines have never been sturdier or safer. Today, the bounce mat is typically made from durable, waterproof canvas or woven polypropylene, while the steel framework is
specifically designed to withstand the rigours of a long life in the soil. “Our trampolines have been handmade in Melbourne to Olympic-competition standard since 1949, and they are designed to last,” says Will Carlile. “Continual improvements to the design, materials and manufacturing techniques have made our trampolines the best available.” While contemporary models are typically designed for heavy-duty use, Carlile stresses that carrying out proper maintenance is essential if you want your trampoline to deliver long-lasting performance. “We recommend turning the bounce mat every two to three years, and then repainting it,” he says. “The flexible, rubberised paint we supply will dissolve into the layer below and greatly increase its lifespan. With correct maintenance, our high-quality bounce mats can last upwards of 25 years.”
There was a time when trampolines had a reputation for causing broken bones and nasty bumps, but modern improvements have made
it possible for children to enjoy all the fun of bouncing around without the risk of strains, sprains or worse. Shock-absorbing foam padding around the trampoline’s frame is an important safety feature that protects jumpers from coming into contact with the steel framework when landing, while a net enclosure prevents them from falling off the edge. Exposed springs can pinch or injure a jumper, so it’s also worth considering a trampoline that utilises flexible composite rods,
which lie beneath the jumping surface and out of harm’s way. Aesthetically pleasing and relatively easy to install, in-ground trampolines are a popular backyard option, as they’re considered far safer than their above-ground counterparts. “Installing the trampoline at ground level means you can’t fall off, which is safer from the start,” says Carlile. “[However, it’s still important to carry out] general safety checks, including inspecting the bounce mat for holes or damage and replacing missing or broken springs.”
What’s In A Shape?
While rectangular-shaped trampolines have traditionally reigned supreme in backyards across Australia, buyers are now spoilt for choice. Today, a wide range of shapes and sizes are available, including small, large, square, hexagonal and circular. First and foremost, your trampoline needs to suit the size of your backyard. If you have a small garden or courtyard, consider a toy or exercise trampoline, as these won’t take up much valuable real estate. Additionally, each shape has different
properties and caters to different experience levels, so it’s important to think carefully about your trampoline’s design to ensure you settle on one that’s perfect for your family. Offering a mid-strength bounce, round trampolines have steadily increased in popularity over recent years. The circular bounce mat organically guides jumpers to the centre of the trampoline where it’s safest, which makes them ideal for families with young children. Alternatively, rectangular trampolines are the perfect choice for athletes, gymnasts or experienced users, as they can accommodate more weight and force while providing the best bounce and jumping range of any shape. “The rectangular profile of our trampolines assists high-level users and athletes in orienting themselves when performing tricks,” explains Carlile. “People naturally face the front or back [of the trampoline] when they are jumping and landing, and the rectangle shape caters for this.”
Fun And Fitness
Trampolines have been a popular backyard fixture for decades – and for good reason! Not only are trampolines a great source of recreational fun, but they also offer myriad health and educational benefits. Jumping on a trampoline is one of the best forms of low-impact cardio, which makes it exercise in disguise for children who tend to shy away from sports. Unlike other forms of cardiovascular
fitness exercises like jogging – which can cause impact-induced bone and joint pain in the ankles, knees, and hips – trampolining is
performed on a flexible surface, which reduces the likelihood of these types of injuries. With both sides of the brain and body working
together to maintain balance, rebounding on a trampoline is a great way to improve coordination, muscle control and motor skills. Even better, as your child learns new skills, their confidence and self-esteem will soar, too! “Our high-performance, Olympic-standard trampolines cater to kids who love to bounce,” says Carlile. “However, they could also unlock the next generation of champion trampolinists, surfers and wake boarders!” Finally, nothing promotes a sense of happiness and wellbeing quite like fresh air. Just one hour spent outside each day can make a world of difference to the mental and emotional health of children and adults alike. A trampoline is a fantastic way to incorporate outdoor time into your family’s daily routine while promoting physical health and fitness. If you’re determined to see your kids take a break from the iPad and head outdoors, a trampoline serves as the perfect incentive. Investing in a trampoline is a quick and easy way to inject fun and excitement into your backyard, and with correct maintenance, the apparatus can last generations. Once you’ve settled on the perfect size and shape for your family, there’ll be nothing left to do but climb on board and jump for joy!