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Jumping For Health

by Morton Walker, D.P.M.

In the spring of 1981, 28-year old Samuel J. Kofsky of Manchester, New Hampshire, a Ph.D. candidate attending the School of Economics at Dartmouth University, lay in a Hanover, New Hampshire hospital room, recovering from the surgical excision of an apparent cyst. Soon after the operation, his surgeon and an oncologist entered the room and walked hesitantly to the foot of the patient's bed. The surgeon said, "Sam, I don't want to shock you, but our hospital pathology department reports that your biopsy shows you have a connective tissue cancer. It's a rare form of fibrosarcoma, which develops suddenly from small bumps on the skin like what I thought was your cyst. Sam, I'm sorry to tell you that there's an 80% chance it will take your life within four years." The oncologist had come along to confirm the young man's diagnosis and prognosis. Then he suggested further treatment.

To sustain himself through chemotherapy, and to believe that he was doing something positive to help himself, Mr. Kofsky took up exercise of the aerobic type. Aerobics is the steady state of exercising which, when performed over a period of months or years, develops the cardiopulmonary system's ability to take in and utilize more oxygen. This elevated amount of "oxygen uptake" increases cellular metabolism of oxygen molecules as nutrients. Besides competitive team sports such as football, basketball, racquetball and tennis, aerobic exercises include speed walking, running, sustained jogging, swimming, rowing, bicycle riding, calisthenics performed in a specific time frame, and rope jumping.

As it happens, Mr. Kofsky became intrigued with rebounding, which is similar to jumping rope except that it's performed on a kind of mini-trampoline. Since the jumping surface of a rebounding device has cushioning spring to it, any jarring to one's ankle joints, knees, and back is removed. While rebounding, too, a person can work out outdoors or indoors and simultaneously speak on the telephone, watch television, listen to music, and do other things. Jumping on the mini-trampoline is the ultimate aerobic exercise able to be performed anywhere, even in hotel rooms with a carryon, foldable-type rebounding device As he was being treated with toxic chemicals, Mr. Kofsky engaged in rebounding for his health several hours every day, including 60 minutes before breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whenever possible, he carried his rebounding device out-of-doors to bound under the trees. Also he ate a nutritious diet, took supplements, and engaged in other exercises for diversity. At regular intervals he swam a full mile at the local health club, furiously punched the heavy bag, and ran a consistent six-minute mile over a ten-mile course. His weight plummeted 36 pounds from a high of 193 not from cancer, but from his strenuous amount of daily exercising.

The exercise was good psychologically for Mr. Kofsky, since so much activity had him believing that he was "winning" his battle against cancer. Philosopher Michael Novak has described winning as "a form of thumbing one's nose, for a moment, at the cancers and diseases that, in the end, strike down all of us." The patient pushed himself harder each day. By the end of a year, he had doubled his daily rebounding time and was seemingly able to go into a meditative state even as he bounced on the device. Mr. Kofsky additionally increased the number of swimming laps, miles run, and time punching the bag. He gained a new confidence.

Since he needed to research his Ph.D. thesis, later the student was forced to drop back on his two more time-consuming sports at the gym and swimming pool. But he never diminished the amount of his jumping for health, because he traveled with a portable rebounder which folded into its own airplane carryon bag.

I met Sam Kofsky 120 feet below the ocean's surface at Grand Cayman Island when we buddied during a morning scuba dive on the North Wall's underwater drop off. Returning aboard our dive boat, he enthusiastically told me of his involvement with rebounding. I told him then of my having authored a book on the same subject. We met often during that vacation trip and spoke about other alternative methods of healing. Our conversations took place in January 1995, and we've stayed in touch since. Kofsky, now age forty-two, had already lived well past his prior dire prognosis. He attributed the circumstance of his thriving to his jumping for health and life.

The same time that he took chemotherapy and engaged in his prolonged exercise therapy, the Dartmouth student finished his doctoral thesis. He is now an assistant professor of economics at a midwestern university. Dr. Kofsky needs no chemicals for cancer and feels fitter than ever today. Perhaps the malignancy still lurks somewhere in his body, for once cancer has been present the potential for its return always remains. Still, this economics professor knows that he has fought it off the best way he could. Dr. Kofsky continues to rebound and participate in other sports activities.

The Detoxification Effect of Lymphercise

The lymphatic system is the metabolic garbage can of the body. It rids you of toxins such as dead and cancerous cells, nitrogenous wastes, fat, infectious viruses, heavy metals, and other assorted junk cast off by the cells. The movement performed in rebounding provides the stimulus for a free-flowing system that drains away these potential poisons.

Unlike the arterial system, the lymphatic system does not have its own pump. It has no heart muscle to move the fluid around through its lymph vessels. There are just three ways to activate the flow of lymph away from the tissues it serves and back into the main pulmonary circulation. Lymphatic flow requires muscular contraction from exercise and movement, gravitational pressure, and internal massage to the valves of lymph ducts.

Rebounding supplies all three methods of removing waste products from the cells and from the body. Then arterial blood enters the capillaries in order to furnish the cells with fresh tissue fluid containing food and oxygen. The bouncing motion effectively moves and recycles the lymph and the entire blood supply through the circulatory system many times during the course of the rebounding session.

Rebounding is a lymphatic exercise. As stated earlier, it has the same effect on your body as jumping rope, but without any jarring effect to the ankles, knees, and lower back that comes from hitting the ground. Better than rope jumping, however, the lymphatic channels get put under hydraulic pressure to move fluids containing waste products of metabolism around and out of the body through the left subclavian vein.

Rebounding's Stabilizing Effect on the Nervous System

Bouncing on a rebounder is an excellent method of reducing stress. It can put the bouncing person into a trance like state and totally relax him or her. Jumping for health and fitness not only stabilizes the nervous system during the exercise period, but continues to help maintain equilibrium after one steps off the device. The result is increased resistance to environmental, physical, emotional, and mental stress. It may possibly help an individual to avoid psychosomatic disease and mental or behavioral instability.

Rebounding may be enjoyed for a lifetime and adjusted to your own particular level of fitness. It is safe, convenient and inexpensive, and its protective effects against degenerative diseases make it one of the most effective forms of motion in the work place, in recreational pursuits, or in simply exercising for the care of your body and mind.

The Physical Muscular Effect of Rebounding

James White, Ph.D., director of research and rehabilitation in the physical education department at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), has explained how jumping for health offers a true physical strengthening effect to the muscles. He said, "Rebounding allows the muscles to go through the 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."

An advocate of rebounding for athletic conditioning, Dr. White uses the rebounder in his rehabilitation program at UCSD. "When you jump, jog, and twist on this (jumping) device you can exercise for hours without getting tired. It's great practice for skiing, it improves your tennis stroke, and it's a good way to burn off calories and lose weight," said Dr. White (see Table Below). "My students tell me it's so much fun that they often exercise on the rebounders for their own enjoyment."

Dr. White added that jumping for health is more effective for fitness and weight loss than cycling, running or jogging, and it has the added advantage of producing fewer injuries.

As illustrated and explained in my book, Jumping for Health, there are 33 different exercises that may be performed advantageously on the rebounding device.

The gentle bounce of rebounding is effective in returning natural, regular bowel movements to chronically constipated persons. The steady bounce sets up a pulsating rhythm transmitted by the nervous system to the brain area responsible for regulating the intestinal system, which reestablishes one's rhythmical bowel activity. Digestion is improved as well.

Total Calories Spent
A Comparison of Jogging @ 5 MPH to Rebounding
Lbs. Body Weight12 Minutes Jogging
@ 5 MPH
12 Minutes