Jogging on the treadmill is an effective way to burn calories.
It seems almost too good to be true that you can build cardiovascular fitness and burn significant calories while jumping on a mini trampoline. Yet according to research sponsored by the American Council on Exercise, it's true - and the subjects in their study burned about as many calories on the mini trampoline as they'd burn in a moderate run on a treadmill. But with that said, there are a number of factors that can affect the balance between trampolining and treadmills as a tool for burning calories.
The Skinny on Trampolines vs Treadmills
In the ACE-sponsored research, the subjects burned as many calories on the mini trampoline as they would during a 6 mph run on flat ground. But there's more to this than meets the eye, starting with how intensely you use the mini trampoline. In the study, the subjects used a branded JumpSport exercise video that included choreographed full-body movements set to motivating music.
This matters because the more muscle groups you involve in a workout, the more calories you burn. Music can make a difference, too, because it's been shown to "entrain" your body, or make workouts feel easier than they actually are. So if you were to bounce slowly on a mini trampoline, using only your legs and in unmotivating silence, it's a very safe bet that you wouldn't be burning as many calories as you'd burn on a treadmill.
With the JumpSport exercise routine, men averaged 12.4 calories/minute; women average 9.4 calories/minute, not including warm-up and cool-down time. Those calorie-burning levels are approximately equivalent to running at 6 miles per hour on flat ground.
The Advantages of Mini Trampolines
In the same ACE-sponsored study, subjects reported a surprisingly low rating of perceived exertion, which is a subjective measure of how hard you're working out. In other words, the workout felt easier to them than it really was. So if you struggle to motivate yourself to work out hard, or if mini trampolining appeals to your sense of fun, it can be a relatively easy path to more intense workouts.
There are also anecdotal reports that working out on a small trampoline or rebounder can improve your sense of spatial awareness, although this hasn't been proven in clinical trials. It's easier to make a case for trampolines boosting your balance, since they certainly can challenge your equilibrium - and your body will adapt to the challenges presented to it.
As a final - and for some, decisive - benefit, small trampolines take up relatively little space (although they can be challenging to store if the legs don't fold or come off), and they're extremely inexpensive when compared to a treadmill.
The Advantages of Treadmills
While mini trampolines can deliver a surprising number of benefits, there are a few disadvantages that might tip the balance in favor of using a treadmill for your workouts. The first is that if they're not perfectly suited to your personality, trampoline workouts might get monotonous. You could say the same about walking or running on a treadmill, but you always have the option of taking a walk or running outside, or of using one of the treadmill's automated programs to automatically adjust speed and incline. It's also relatively easy to watch television while on the treadmill - so ultimately, most exercisers will probably find it easier to do long workouts on the treadmill than on the rebounder.
Also, if you want an ever higher calorie burn or more intense physical exertion, it's easy to get there on a treadmill. Just bump your speed past 6 miles per hour or add an incline, and you'll burn more calories than you would in a vigorous mini trampoline workout.
Choosing Your Workout
Because mini trampolines and treadmills are so (surprisingly) comparable, your own personal preference figures strongly into which one you should buy or spend your time on. If you love one of these exercise apparatus more than the other - or, keeping it real, if you loathe one of them less than the other - that's usually the one you should go for, because you'll be more likely to keep at a workout that you enjoy. And ultimately, it's the long-term lifestyle changes - that is, the habits that you actually stick to over time - that determine how much weight you lose and how long it stays off.