Choosing a fitness regime can often leave you feeling like a kid in a candy store. If I do that thing I’m going to get totally ripped abs, yet if I do that, the advert states that there is a fantastic chance that in no time at all I’ll be infinitely more attractive to beautiful women. It’s a tough and fickle world, a world where plucky entrepreneurs exploit our deepest, darkest fears about self image and cash in. Fitness crazes are inclined to come and go, largely in sync with New Years’ resolutions, yet one such fitness revolution has quietly sprung into the nation’s consciousness: trampolining. With burgeoning numbers, it is now not merely a kitsch plaything but rather a fitness force to be reckoned with.
Now, I can openly admit that in a by-gone era I was the owner of an unloved trampoline. It did enjoy a brief spell of popularity in our back garden, and it had been a source of great pride to show off to admiring friends; a status symbol which I think for a brief period — circa 1998 — saw my popularity exponentially jump in parallel with the jumping revolution that was sweeping through my eight year-old world. The romance was to be short lived. An elderly neighbour was spotted working out on one and from then, the trampoline lost its alluring appeal and was sentenced to a life of ignominy; to slowly rust away before being deemed a health hazard and shipped off to the dump. Alas, after a ten year-long hiatus, I’m re-entering the wacky world of trampolines.
Any cynical thoughts I may have had towards trampolining are almost instantly vanquished when I finally, albeit precariously, get up on the tramp. The memories of childhood come flooding back, and although in many ways I have a resemblance to a fish out of water, it all seems insignificant. It’s a joy. I’m amazed. The media would have me believe that I can’t have this much fun without being on drugs and/or alcohol.
I feel liberated. It has been a miserable day, I’m hung-over, it’s raining, I have a cold and I’ve just lost more money than I would like to disclose betting on Fifa. And as much as I would like to stress that I am in no way an authority to make any judgements on physical or mental health, after five minutes contentedly bouncing away I feel rejuvenated.
Trampolining, however, does sadly fit into the class of sports that look easy but are ridiculously difficult. When I first get on I figure I’ll just go straight for it. Nail a couple of double somersaults, then finish it off by tucking into a triple-piked half-flip. No worries. But in reality, my first task is to jump around in a square — which is depressingly difficult.
I am a man who has always considered himself somewhat athletic, but this task seems to have tested my limits. Someraults on hold, I’m left flapping about, sheepishly grinning, with arms wildly waving and feeling a bit silly.
I speak to Stewart Campbell, one of the top talents to emerge from Glasgow University’s renowned trampolining club. He has a background in gymnastics: “I got into trampolining because Glasgow doesn’t have the resources to manage a full gymnastics club. It may be physically demanding but it’s a great laugh trying out new tricks on a giant trampoline.”
He also goes on to talk about the health benefits: “It is a great way to unwind and forget about all your university worries and just totally de-stress.”