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Archive for Monday, November 17, 2008

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Let’s tumble: Trampolines popular again after Summer Olympics showcase

November 17, 2008

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Megan McReynolds,  11, bounces on her family's trampoline, purchased about four years ago.

Megan McReynolds, 11, bounces on her family's trampoline, purchased about four years ago.

The backyard trampoline has become part of the McReynolds family's lifestyle.

Kelly and Mike McReynolds purchased the trampoline about four years ago for their children, Matthew, 13; Megan, 11; and Morgan, 10.

"When we purchased it, the kids were getting older and definitely growing out of the swing set stage," Kelly says. "Our youngest daughter is taking gymnastics and has learned to flip on it, which is very exciting for her. The other kids tend to make up games. Marco Polo seems to be pretty popular. But when the weather is nice, they are on it all the time!"

Trampolines have been growing in popularity for a few years, but business has been booming since they were featured in the 2008 Summer Olympics.

"It was on TV this time at a better time slot and for more hours," says Ann Sims, senior program director for USA Gymnastics. "We've been hearing gym owners say they're experiencing record interest."

And remember: There are alternate benefits besides just bouncing on trampolines. That's something Lawrence resident Marcia Buzhardt and her three children - Cameron, 9; Chase, 6; and Morgan, 3 - have discovered.

"A few of the most memorable times so far have been lying on the trampoline after dark and just looking at the stars and talking with my children," Buzhardt says.

Safety first

With the high-flying fun come some dangers. Here are tips when buying and using trampolines:

¢ Safety first. Never let more than one person jump at a time. Never jump unsupervised. Never jump onto a trampoline from another surface.

¢ Consider the lay of the land. The surface beneath a trampoline should be as flat and as soft as possible. Allow at least 3 feet of clear area around the outside edges and at least 24 feet of overhead clearance. Clear the immediate area of all objects, such as rocks.

¢ Shape, size and spring. According to Dick's Sporting Goods, trampolines tend come in five shapes (round, square, rectangular, oval and octagonal) and range from 6 to 17 feet in diameter. Round ones are typically considered safest. The number of springs determines the trampoline's bounce.

¢ Be weather-wary. Avoid jumping during gusty winds or damp conditions. Moisture will take its toll on metal springs.

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