In case you were confused, by magic potion I meant Gummiberry juice (friends don’t let friends do drugs, people!). You know, from that Disney cartoon The Gummi Bears? The magic potion that gave the Gummi Bears their powers of being… really bouncy?
Gummi Bears? Ring a bell? No? Okay never mind, I’ll take my outdated 90’s cartoon references elsewhere.
When I was a kid I loved to jump around. Inspired by tales of ninjas and wuxia, I’d always imagined that one day I’d be doing flips on my way to school or flying over high walls in a single leap (to escape said school). Then I got older and fatter, so jumping up and down became not so fun for my joints and ligaments, and I thought my dreams were over... Until I stepped into a trampoline park.
Stepping on a trampoline feels really odd at first, but in a good way. The trampoline absorbs around 80% of the impact when you land, so it’s as if the ground beneath you was suddenly made of jelly. But soon you learn how to steady yourself and then you can start bouncing up and down.
Being thrown up by the snap of the trampoline gives you enough momentum to float a little bit in midair, so you can experience the “zero-gravity” feeling. How high and how long you stay in suspended flight all depends on how hard you push against the trampoline as you land.
Wanna get high?
Don’t be surprised if you start laughing uncontrollably; the feeling of your insides suddenly jumbling up and around is a largely foreign and exhilarating experience - kind of like being tickled from the inside. My attempt to curtail my laughter resulted in a maniacally restrained chortle as I bounced across the park, prompting parents to instinctively shield their children in my wake.
In many ways, the trampoline park is like a rollercoaster ride, but without the rollercoaster. You soar and tumble and fall through the air, energised by both your fear and the joy of flying one bounce at a time. So just like a rollercoaster, bouncing around the trampoline park gives you a kick of dopamine and endorphins which makes you feel pretty darn good.
These feel good chemicals are activated almost immediately when you start jumping, and the sensation is quite similar to a runner’s high, except you don’t have to run for half an hour before you - pardon the cliche - get high on life.
More after the break...
Expect a workout
Thanks to all the endorphins, you might spend your hour at the trampoline park feeling like a million bucks only to realise at the end that you’ve fulfilled your exercise quota for one lifetime. Jumping around is tiring stuff, and even with the trampolines absorbing the impact of the landing, your body can pull several G’s every time you bounce from one trampoline to another. The day after my first session at the park my torso ached as if I had spent the whole night doing sit ups and my butt felt like it was catching fire every time I had to squat down.
So if a workout is what you’re looking for, you won’t be disappointed. If jumping around on your own isn’t doing it for you, you can always join the fitness or acrobatics classes that are conducted at the park. There are claims that you can burn a thousand calories in a session of trampolining, but you can do that with a number of intense exercises (though they might be less fun).
A fact to note however is that NASA used trampolines to rehabilitate and rebuild the atrophied muscles of their returning astronauts. Something about NASA just lends credibility by association… probably the fact that they send people into space.
It’s for everyone, more or less.
When I’m at the trampoline park it feels as if I’m at a real park, except people are careening through the air all around me. There are parents with toddlers, pre-teens, teenagers and old fogeys (me). Grandparents come with their grandchildren and play together on the bigger trampolines.
There seems to be a primal part of human nature that really gets a kick out of being thrown up in the air - however slight it might be. Even the older folk whose feet never left the surface of the trampoline couldn’t help smiling and cackling as they remembered how it was like to have careless childish fun, as the weight of the years was lifted (however momentarily) from their aged bodies by the gentle rebounds.
Trampolining used to be the privilege of the few - either gymnasts or landed-property owners with space for a trampoline at home. With the trampoline park, practically anyone who can walk can get to experience the fun of bouncing around, and at an affordable price too.
On top of that the park offers a lot more freedom than a backyard trampoline; instead of being limited to one, you can traverse a whole hall of connected trampolines - even on most of the walls. Perfect if you’d ever fancied becoming a human pinball.
The first Trampoline Park debuted in Singapore about a year ago. Now Amped - the company that runs the operation - has two outlets, one in Katong and the other in Jurong.
The one at Jurong charges one dollar more because it’s air conditioned. The two parks are also structured differently, with padded walls to scale at the Katong branch, and pyramids at the Jurong one. If the commute isn’t an issue you should try both branches (just maybe not on the same day).
So go be a gummibear for an hour… you know you want to!