What do horseback riding, cycling and running all have in common? Simple! They all require a strong, lifted core to execute and maximize the exercise. That means that rely on the use of the abdominal center, erectors of the back and spine, tuck of the butt and lift of the lower back to maneuver and they also require/benefit from open, lifted and proud shoulders.
It also should come as no surprise that the cross-training benefits of yoga and pilates, in building core strength, re-aligning musculature and developing mind-body connections are transferable to these exercise disciplines. What might surprise and delight is the use of a rebound exercise tool, the Kangoo Jumps, as a recommended resource for the devotee of riding, cycling and running to maximize cardiovascular training and effectiveness.
A young woman wrote to me recently, looking for a way and a recommendation as to how she could put less stress on her body (knees, joints, ankles, hips) while gaining aerobic and cardiovascular conditioning. A lover of Pilates and equestrian sports judge by profession, she wanted a way to maximize her fitness programming, increase her cardiovascular fitness training while preventing injury to her body. She didn’t want to run anymore because of the stress and strain it caused to her knees. I knew her connectedness to nature, the outdoors and the feeling of control through movement was tantamount to finding success for her training. While I don’t ride horses, I do understood the desire to avoid the body breakdown caused by of running. Torn, as she was, as I find it to have the closest connection one can duplicate to the experience of riding in the open, free space and having a connected feeling to the elements.
I understood the need to avoid the body breakdown as it was my personal pursuit a few month earlier. As an exceptionally active person, the older I got, the more pounding, I experienced on my knees, heels and hip joints and less and less I enjoyed running 3 miles, 2x week to keep my weight in check. As a result, last spring, I bought a pair of Kangoo Jumps and totally eliminated the pain (and recovery) in each and everyone one of my workouts. For that reason, I recommended the same option to her.
The shoes are based on rebound exercise and are a low impact rebound sport shoe designed to provide a safe platform for jogging and other exercises that are hard on the joints. The boots use a lightweight spring to absorb the shocks due to impact on the ground and create a rebound effect that reduces shock impact on ankles, knees, hips and lower back. They are Swiss designed for joggers, however, they also provide benefits for athletic strengthening and conditioning, rehabilitation and injury prevention and group aerobics. The unique “floating above the ground” sensation created by Kangoo Jumps has to be experienced to be understood.
Core balance and control are two other variables (and benefits) of using the shoes for training.
Quality vs Quantity
Kangoo Jumps deliver the benefit of 50-minutes exercise in only 20 minutes and the injury prevention potential has already caught the attention of several elite football teams. The boots can be used indoors or outdoors on paved roads, dirt paths and grass as well as at the beach or on snow. N.A.S.A. has found rebound exercise to be the best form of exercise for astronauts because it restores bone and muscle mass lost during time spent in outer space. Consequently Kangoo Jumps are recommended for people suffering osteoporosis, with the “slow-motion” steps and exercises of Kangoo Aerobics make it suitable for middle aged and senior people.
Other Cardiovascular Options
The other option I recommended, and one I personally use during the warm weather months, to avoid joint pain, is a road bike. A road bike and a trail can make a world of difference in clearing your head while building cardiovascular strength. Climbing hills with a bike will give anyone keen cardiovascular training.
As a Pilates and equestrian sports devotee, my friend already understood the reliance on core strength and easily made the connection that these two disciplines were good cross-training modalities to support the prevention and overuse of muscle and back pain; typical injuries and imbalances caused by cycling.