Probably the only sport in which sitting down well is rewarded. This bouncy branch of gymnastics was invented when a woman in 19th-century London jumped from a burning building on to a stretched-out bedsheet, only to provoke spontaneous applause from onlookers when she accidentally performed a half-twist leading into a pike. And that is a fact.
A routine consists of 10 contacts with the “bed”, starting and finishing on the feet, with participants allowed one bounce to control themselves before landing at the end and remaining stationary for three seconds. Three postures are recognised during jumps – tucked (knees clasped to chest), piked (arms and legs straight, body bent) and straight – and you can land on your bum, feet, front and back.
Beginners won’t be concerned with any of this. The best thing about trampolining is that it’s easy to start – see kids, bouncy castles – and doesn’t require any special clobber. Just the big bouncy thing in the gym.
Trampolining improves balance, flexibility and co-ordination, as well as strengthening the leg muscles. As a low-impact sport it carries minimal risk of wear-and-tear-based injuries (unless you regularly fall off). Rebounding subjects you to twice the usual force of gravity, which can help prevent osteoporosis by working the musculoskeletal system – and there’s even evidence to suggest it boosts your lymphatic function.