Health and wellness touch each of us differently. This is one person’s story.

When I was a teenager, my family had a trampoline in our backyard. Thinking of the times I spent practicing cheerleading moves on its springy surface (or spraying unsuspecting neighbors with a squirt gun over the fence) always makes me smile.

But more than anything else, whenever I think of that trampoline, I remember what an amazing, heart-pounding workout I’d get bouncing up and down on it, even for short periods of time.

So, a few years ago, when I bought my kids a mini-trampoline for Christmas, I can’t say I didn’t do so with an ulterior motive.

Even before I slid the big square box under the Christmas tree, my husband teased me about the gift I had bought “for the kids.”

His jests turned out to be justified.

Since my kids opened “their” Christmas present, they’ve enjoyed the occasional stint on our little tramp, but I’m the one who gets the most out of it.

While I pictured myself pounding the elastic pavement to intense hour-long YouTube workout videos, I never expected that, instead, it would be the short bouncing breaks that would bring me the most benefit.

Since I work from home on a laptop, there comes a point in every day when I hit a wall. My mind goes numb from staring at a screen, and I read the same sentence over and over without comprehension.

When it’s too hot to take a walk outside, I’ve discovered the power of the bounce break.

Setting my work aside, I hop on the mini-trampoline for 5 to 15 minutes.

Sometimes I set a timer, sometimes I count my jumps to see if I can get to 500, but most often, I crank up a few pop tunes and allow myself to just bounce away my stress.

The combination of music and aerobic exercise never fails to make the rest of my work day feel a little more manageable. I always return to work refreshed, with a clearer head.

The mini-trampoline is my midday medicine, my springy dance partner, my favorite portable, bouncy pick-me-up.

So, what do you do on a 24-inch piece of nylon for 15 minutes at a time?

Bouncing up and down on repeat sounds rather tedious, not to mention exhausting for your long-suffering quads.

Once you get started, though, there’s a surprising variety of ways to get your heart pumping on a mini-trampoline besides just jumping.

I’ve developed quite the set of moves, including scissor legs, squat jumps, knee raises, jumping jacks, and my favorite: plain old freestyle dancing.

While I still try the occasional guided workout video, I’ve found that making it up as I go does much more to shake any mental jams loose.

Whether or not my kids have caught on to the fact that I’ve usurped their present, I’m not sure.

But in my heart, I think of the mini-trampoline as mine: my midday medicine, my springy dance partner, my favorite portable, bouncy pick-me-up.


Sarah Garone, NDTR, is a nutritionist, freelance health writer, and food blogger. She lives with her husband and three children in Mesa, Arizona. Find her sharing down-to-earth health and nutrition info and (mostly) healthy recipes at A Love Letter to Food.