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An Introduction to the Trampoline
by Jason Gluckman

The sport of trampolining reflects man’s age-old desire to defy gravity. The trampoline in its current form (a mat mounted on a steel frame) dates back to the early 1800, if newspaper reports are to be believed, when a circus in London displayed what it called the “trampoline jump.”

Since then, the word trampoline has been used to describe any elastic apparatus that includes jumping over obstacles or vertical jumps. Circuses have used a number of devices to show off aerial and floor somersault activity. George Nissen, the co-creator of the style of trampoline used in competitions, called his bouncing rig a Trampoline, and registered it as a trademark in 1936.

The modern trampoline has emerged in the last 50 years or so from the prototype apparatus built by George Nissen in his garage in 1936. Trampolines were soon introduced by the Air Force, and later by the space agencies to train their pilots and astronauts.

The most modern trampolines are capable of projecting an athlete up to 10 meters high and allowing him to perform triple somersaults with ease.

The sport spread to Europe in the 1950’s, and by 1960’s, many national federations were formed. In 1964, the International Trampoline Federation (FIT) was formed. Today, there are 42 member federations. The first FIT Handbook was introduced in 1983, and in 1987 the FIT News appeared, followed by the FIT Calendar in 1988.

Medical experts say jumping on trampoline is good for your health. Exercising on the trampoline lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that those who exercise at least three times a week have a higher bone mineral content.

Many athletes practice on a trampoline to enhance their motor skills and endurance, and to refine their aerial moves in a safe, controlled environment. Skiers, skaters, divers and gymnasts all use the trampoline extensively.

Jumping on a trampoline has emerged as a popular family activity for both adults and children.
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