Effects of Bouncy Castle Workouts on Postural Control and Locomotor Skills
First published in 2003 - Last edited in May 2022 by Luka Tunjic. © All rights reserved.
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As described in the article “Stationary Bikes and Voluntary Movement Disorder” and the article “Tread Mill and Voluntary Movement Disorder”, by doing exercises on a treadmill and a stationary bike the central nervous system is under-active, but by doing exercises on a bouncy castle the central nervous system is overactive.
Jumping on an inflatable castle involves an increased neuromuscular control centre activity, but because of the rebounding and shock-absorbing effect, it doesn’t involve the musculoskeletal activity to the same extent. (In comparison to the activity level of the central nervous system, the musculoskeletal system is less active).
The rebounding effect of a bouncing castle enables us to (jump) propel ourselves in the height without appropriate involvement of the musculoskeletal system.
The shock-absorbing effect of a bouncy castle enables us to land without appropriate involvement of the musculoskeletal system.
The bouncy castles’ rebounding effect enables us to jump in height far more than what is the real ability of the musculoskeletal system.
The bouncy castles’ shock-absorbing effect enables us to land safely from a bigger height than what is the real ability of the musculoskeletal system.
The central nervous system is highly involved in the physical activity of jumping and landing in bouncy castles and other similar inflatable devices, but because of the shock-absorbing effect and rebounding effect relative to the height of the jump, the musculoskeletal system is under-active.
Repeatedly jumping on a bouncy castle and other similar inflatable devices is a physical activity that involves repetitive motions where the central and peripheral nervous system is highly involved in jumping and landing, but because of the bouncy castles’ rebounding and shock-absorbing effects, the musculoskeletal system is underactive.
By a single jump or by repeatedly jumping on the real ground, the neuromuscular system, and the central and peripheral nervous system are equally involved in jumping and landing.
When a child or an adult is for the first time confronted with new environments like the ground covered with pebbles or with sand etc. he does not find it easy to walk on them but after some time of walking he masters walking in this type of environment usually to the extent that enables him to walk with some degree of ease.
Learning to walk in the real world goes along with acquiring a sense of danger. A real but safe living environment that isn’t overprotective in which children learn and master their walking, running and jumping skills enables them to acquire a spatial awareness and sense of danger.
In an urban and rural living environment, and also in a classic playground, any careless movement or any attempt to make a movement like a jump above our own physical ability will result in slightly or severe pain and occasionally will result in bumps and bruises.
In an inflatable castle, children can walk, run and jump without any concerns of danger. They master the jumping and landing skills on a rebounding and shock absorbing ground that has nothing in common with the real living environment. On the other side, it hinders the children’s ability to acquire a sense of danger and alertness.
Spatial awareness is gained by exploring and challenging the surrounding environment. Playing on a bouncy castle and other similar inflatable devices negatively affects the development of spatial awareness in children.
Mastered jumping and landing skills on bouncy castles and on trampolines doesn’t improve jumping skill and the ability on the real ground.
This means that mastering jumping and landing skills on bouncy castles and trampolines doesn’t have any use in the real world. On the other hand, learning jumping and landing skills on trampolines and bouncy castles is a real obstacle to learning jumping and landing skills in a real environment.
The activity of the central nervous system is a factor which determines its development.
Proper development of the central nervous system happens when the central nervous system activity is appropriate to the musculoskeletal activity and is involved in a meaningful activity.
The central nervous system's ability is connected with the ability of the musculoskeletal system. Repetitive jumping to a height above the real ability of the musculoskeletal system leads to the central nervous system becoming overstrained.
By repetitive jumping on the trampoline or bouncy castle, the musculoskeletal system and peripheral nervous system are underused, but the central nervous system is overused.
Mastering the ability to overcome the challenges on an inflatable obstacle course is not helpful to overcome physical obstacles in the real world.
Mastering the jumping skill on bouncy castles, children do not learn the real jumping skill. They learn the “bouncy castle jumping and landing skill” and “trampoline jumping and landing skill” that have no use for daily life.
The more the bounce castle-jumping skill is mastered; the more damage is done to the neuromuscular control centre and the central and peripheral nervous system.
As the children’s motor skill is less developed, they are more sensitive to the physical activity that involves repetitive motions.
Repetitive motion (jumping and landing) on the bouncy castle is at the same time a repetitive brain activity (repetitive neuromuscular control centre activity).
Especially for very young children, playing on bouncy castles is more damaging than for older children.
When a child is jumping on a bouncy castle or on other inflatable structures, he/she is physically active but he/she is not playing. Actually, for the time of jumping on a bouncy castle or on another inflatable structure, a child does not play at all, he/she is only involved in a pleasurable but mindless physical activity.
Mastering jumping and landing skills on an inflatable castle make it harder to learn proper jumping and landing skills on the real ground and on the other side, it negatively affects the development of the central peripheral nervous system. (Once jumping and landing skills on the bouncy castle have been learned, they need to be unlearned.)
The more times a child plays on a bouncy castle, the more they develop weird motor skills and because of that, they are more prone to physical injury not only in the real environment, but they are also more prone to injuries while playing on a bouncy castle.
Quote: The number of kids sent to emergency rooms after being hurt on blow-up bouncy castles or houses jumped sharply from 1995 to 2010.
And the annual rate doubled between 2008 and 2010, according to research in Pediatrics.
A child in the U.S. is sent to the ER after being injured in a blow-up bouncy castle or house every 46 minutes.
Injuries included sprains, strains, and fractures, mostly in the legs or arms. Boys were more likely to sustain concussions, closed head injuries, or cuts than girls.
"If this was an infectious disease that was increasing at this rate, there would be headlines across the country. But because it is an injury, it is often overlooked," says study researcher Gary Smith, MD, DrPH. He is the director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
So how do these injuries happen? Mostly kids fell. Some fell in or on the bouncer, while others fell out. Some got hurt getting on or off the bouncer.
Just shy of 10% were hurt when colliding or being pushed by another child, and 6.3% were injured when one child fell on another.
In all, 3.4% of children were hospitalized or kept for more than 24 hours after their injury. Broken bones accounted for 81.7% of injuries that required observation or a hospital stay, the study shows.
Source: WebMD Health News - http://children.webmd.com/news/20121121/kids-injuries-bouncy-castles
There are concerns among medical scientists, including paediatricians, about physical injuries on bouncy castles, but no one has concerns about the neurological injuries and the reason for that is that they are not aware of how physical activities on bouncy castles negatively affect the development of motor skill and negatively affect the already acquired motor skill.
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