Meet Arlene Toonkel. She’s one of the 2021 Senior Planet Sponsored Athletes, and she’ll be sharing updates on her health and wellness journey through the rest of this year. Arlene, age 68, is a retired educator and artist who has been rebounding — a fun style of aerobic workout performed through jumping on a mini-trampoline, or rebounder — for the last two decades. After being left in the unexpected role of single mother of twins, Arlene has “bounced back” to stay strong for her family, and discover true joy through exercise.
“My inspiration for starting rebounding over 20 years ago was staying strong for my children. When my twins were 2 months old, their father abandoned us, and the responsibility of raising them without any family support fell to me. I needed to be strong no matter what.
“The universe was sending me a message to start rebounding.”
“I have a memory of the twins at four years old, jumping on their crib beds and being so happy from the simple act of jumping. It was pure joy just watching them. As a single parent, I had been struggling with figuring out an indoor fitness routine that let me keep a close eye on my toddlers. Soon after moving to New Jersey, I received a catalog in the mail called Perfect Health and the name intrigued me. Inside, I saw a rebounder that could fit in our apartment, and that was the answer I was looking for — the universe was sending me a message to start rebounding. Rebounding gave me the power to take charge of my health and to be strong and a role model for my children. I’m still rebounding two decades later on the very same rebounder!
The Rebounding Routine
“Currently I rebound for 35 minutes a day. Each morning I start with what is called the basic bounce or ‘health bounce’ for the first 3 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of a deeper bouncing, jumping jacks, and sometimes a dancing combination mixed with arm movements that I bring from my yoga classes. I end with another 2 minutes of the gentle health bounce to cool down.
“Rebounding leaves my whole body smiling and happy… I feel energized and focused on being in the present…”
“I love rebounding because of how it makes me feel and how it helps me make the most physically and mentally of every day. Rebounding leaves my whole body smiling and happy. It connects me to my body — I feel energized and focused on being in the present as I concentrate on my steps, arm movements, and balance.
Basics for Beginners
Start slowly. When you first begin rebounding, try jumping for 2 minutes, 3-4 times a day. Always start with the health bounce. Your body needs to adjust to rebounding so you don’t get nauseous or dizzy, as your body is not used to detoxifying in this way. Once you are ready, increase your sessions to 5 minutes, 3-4 times a day until you feel that you can handle more. Frequency matters. 10 minutes for 3-4 times a day is excellent! For a cardio workout, 20 minutes of rebounding is equal to 1 hour of jogging and is much easier on your joints, because you are working with gravity as part of the equation.
Buy a stabilizing bar at the same time that you purchase your rebounder for your safety and for balance support.
Do research. There are 2 basic kinds of rebounders and different types within each category. You really don’t want a cheap one as they won’t last, and they could possibly hurt your joints.
Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, and stay hydrated. Fresh lime or lemon water with a bit of raw honey or maple syrup is great for giving your cells needed hydration, glucose, and mineral salts that aid with detoxification during rebounding.
Discovering — and Representing — Senior Planet
“In January 2021, through a friend, I discovered Senior Planet’s fitness classes and realized that I had the opportunity to step up my fitness and wellness journey. I was recovering from a knee injury and from a ‘frozen shoulder’ that had me unable to use my dominant arm and had been causing great pain for months. I wanted to make myself strong again. As soon as I got the link for Senior Planet classes, I never looked back. Since January, I participate in several fitness and wellness classes every weekday and I love it!
“It’s time to find what brings us joy.”
“I am so pleased to be a Senior Planet Sponsored Athlete for 2021. I hope to inspire many of you to start rebounding for your health, well-being, and happiness, as it is a low-impact exercise that can be very beneficial for seniors in our community. It’s time to find what brings us joy, and as far as fitness goes, rebounding brings me joy! I hope that you may find that too.”
In need of a little motivation to get moving? Join our daily health and wellness programs, stay tuned to the latest news and articles from SeniorPlanet.org by signing up for The Orbit weekly newsletter, and follow us on social media (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram) to get to know these awe-inspiring athletes. You might just find a new love for fitness along the way!