Trampolines are a fun way to exercise and are increasingly popular among all ages as an aid for that purpose. Jumping can be a blast, but there are some dangers that come with it as well.
Trampolines will not make a person taller. While trampoline websites often state this as one of the selling points for a trampoline, the reality is that trampolines increase the risk of fractures in children up to the age of nine, which can cause growth stunting due to damage of the growth plates.
Trampolines are still great exercise though, and they can be a lot of fun for everyone who uses them! That being said, it’s time to dispel some of the health myths surrounding trampoline exercise and health.
Why Trampolines Don’t Make You Taller
The lie that trampoline companies like to tell (for some reason) goes like this: The constant jumping and stretching that comes from using a trampoline stimulates the growth plates on children’s long bones and stretches the spine, slightly increasing height and encouraging growth.
This seems like it could be feasible. After all, studies have shown that people can increase their height up to a full inch just by sleeping for eight hours, even when they’re done growing!
However, the reasons for this growth are quite different from what companies are claiming. Throughout a given day, as you spend time standing up and doing things, gravity slowly compresses your spine just a little bit.
The truth is that the height gained from a good night’s sleep is less a growing event and more your body returning to its natural state as gravity acts on it from a different direction while you’re lying down.
Critically, this isn’t related to stretching at all. In fact, this is only possible because your body relaxes during the night, and for several hours during the night. In order for trampolines to have this effect they would have to
- Negate the effects of gravity on the body and
- Produce a state of perfect relaxation. Trampolines famously don’t do either of these things.
And sure enough, studies do not find any difference in height between people before they jump on a trampoline and after. So, trampolines do not provide any temporary height gain.
But what about the claims of stimulating the growth plates and helping children with permanent growth?
These claims are a little harder to dispel. While there isn’t anything special about trampoline exercise, according to the Journal of Medical Research, a healthy amount of exercise helps tell the body that it needs to grow.
The National Library of Medicine published a study that focuses on organized sports as exercise and specifically advises that children ought to be guided by a knowledgeable coach during strenuous exercise to prevent them from hurting themselves.
And, this article says, if children do sustain injuries, this can cause permanent growth stunting, especially when the injury is a fracture in a bone with a functioning growth plate.
- In normal, organized, sports, kids are unlikely to encounter that kind of injury as precautions are usually taken to prevent putting them in danger.
- However, anyone who has ever owned a trampoline knows that kids do not tend to look out for their own safety.
- This is why safety precautions, such as a safety net, on trampolines are so important.
This isn’t even to mention the amount of time that you actually have to spend on the trampoline to get a good amount of exercise in. Even for children, it’s unlikely that the body will experience any kind of muscle growth until it’s been used pretty much to the point of exhaustion.
Most children don’t play this way on a trampoline, meaning that if your kid wants to maximize height, they will get more value from joining a junior sports league than anything else by far, with less risk of injury.
Do Trampolines Stunt Growth?
We’ve already touched on this idea, but trampolines can result in injuries, especially in children, and breaking bones can damage growth plates which stunts growth.
However, the actual act of jumping on a trampoline doesn’t have the same kind of risks as, say, weightlifting. Weightlifting has been shown to stunt growth in children by over-exerting the body to the point that it won’t grow anymore.
The actual act of jumping on a trampoline is height neutral for most people if they don’t get injured. However, trampolines are so likely to injure young children that the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with a statement in 2012 saying that children should not use trampolines if they can be avoided.
And this is true of all kinds of trampolines, from full-sized backyard trampolines to floor trampolines to exercise trampolines. All of them are, according to pediatricians likely to cause injury to children.
So, not only do trampolines not stimulate growth, but they can also cause fractures that can stop a kid’s growth right then and there.
Should You Get a Trampoline?
Now you might be reconsidering purchasing a trampoline because it will not make your child taller, but trampolines are still cool and fun! We’re not really sure why trampoline companies insist on trying to sell their products by spreading this weird lie that they make you taller, since the only reason that anyone should need to get a trampoline is that they or their children enjoy jumping on them.
If the only reason you wanted the trampoline was to augment your size or the size of your child, then we would recommend joining an amateur sports league instead. A trampoline will do less work for you on that front than a nap.
But if you genuinely enjoy trampolining, then there is nothing wrong with investing in a trampoline. Just be sure to be cautious and do everything you can to keep people safe while they play. Putting up a safety net around the trampoline and creating strict trampoline rules can go a long way to preventing growth stunting injuries.