On The Rebound
My disease is a complicated one, and there are many theories as to what may have caused it. Simply put, my immune system is terribly confused. It declares war on the parts of me that are healthy. The reasons for this mess can be anything from my genes to something unhealthy in my environment. I am the lone sufferer in my family, so my genes probably aren’t to blame. But at this point, an environmental component can’t be proven or disproven.
With the way we eat, the stress in our lives and the environment we live in, all of us can use a little detoxing. The seemingly impossible part is finding an enjoyable way to do it. Who wants to resort to extremes and deprivation?
When I was diagnosed nearly fifteen years ago, I wanted answers. And in my quest for knowledge I became fascinated with the inner workings of the body. I read so much and learned so much, I almost felt like a doctor without the required and lengthy education.
I grasped every bit of information I could get my hands on. I wanted to be well, and I didn’t want to be ignorant. That is when I started learning a lot about the lymphatic system and what it means to our well being. Essentially, our lymph moves waste, damaged cells and other icky stuff out and away from our healthy cells. It also moves those healthy cells around to where they need to be. This system relies on the movement of our bodies to work properly. It lacks a pump (what our heart is to our circulatory system), and therefore needs our help to get things moving.
I have tried lymphatic drainage a few times, a body treatment that involves gentle massage and pressing of lymph nodes throughout the body to stimulate movement of lymph. I’m sure it was worthwhile, but honestly it wasn’t exactly gratifying. The experience wasn’t really soothing, and it didn’t leave me glowing and relaxed, with happy muscles. I walked out feeling just as I did before.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I like to feel something working, like a good exercise high or invigorating shower. So when I started reading about rebounding exercise (or trampoline exercise) and how it is great for lymph and overall health, I was eager to look into it.
My local sporting goods store had basic fitness trampolines on sale for $40. I jumped at the chance to get one. I felt that $40 was a minimal cost, and once I got the hang of it, in time I could graduate (if I wanted to) to a larger, more sophisticated rebounder with a stability bar. They can be pricey, $300 or more for a really good one. Besides, not only did I want to get the hang of it, I wanted to make sure I even liked jumping up and down before I spent a lot of money. I wasn’t sure if it would be uncomfortable, everything bouncing and jiggling. And being sick, exercise can be very difficult. I didn’t want to try it once and then crap out because it left me tired and in pain.
I started my trampoline workouts barefoot, with what I call a “safe bounce”, moving up and down with my feet in full contact with the trampoline, or with my heels lifting up just slightly. This made me feel more secure and confident. After all, I didn’t want to bust an ankle right out of the gate. Something really cool and surprising happened as I was safe bouncing. My heart rate went up and it was very easy to keep that pace while moving my arms in different ways. I didn’t get tired at all, and I’m not in good shape like I used to be. Research shows that gentle bouncing has benefits equal to that of rigorous jumping. You can start this way and be very confident that you are doing your body good.
Feeling safe, I quickly graduated to lifting my feet off completely, and this felt easy, too. I tried a simple bounce up and down, lifting my arms above my head or doing a “jump rope” motion. I then twisted at the waist, and tried jumping jacks, too, opening my legs slightly (my trampoline is four feet wide). The time flies having so much fun, and it is so gentle on my joints. I have been doing this for several weeks and not once have I felt sore afterward.
And remember how fun it was jumping up and down on your bed when you were a kid? Well, this is your chance to capture that same free feeling all over again, but in a way that’s acceptable for an adult.
I have been doing about ten minutes five or six days a week. And I split up my ten minutes in four short sessions. Some days I do more if I am feeling strong. I enjoy it so much that I use it as a kind of reward system with myself. If I clean for an hour I will get to rebound for a few minutes. If I make all the beds and water the plants, I get to rebound. If I do a few loads of laundry, I get to rebound. And having lupus, it is also my job to rest, so when I do lay down for a while I promise myself I get to rebound afterward. Seriously! I never thought I would see the day when I would reward myself with exercise.
I am sleeping well, my digestion is a bit better, and I feel more energetic. And I get to experience that awesome exercise high after just five minutes of bouncing. What a fun and easy way to improve the health of my lymphatic system, and my health overall.
And ladies, I have two words of advice for you: sports bra. Things can get a little crazy with all that bouncing. Treat your girls well and keep them safe and secure.
For more information on the awesome benefits of rebound exercise, visit: http://www.healingdaily.com/exercise/rebounding-for-detoxification-and-health.htm