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This press article appeared in the Denver Post, June 20th, 2011. Kangoo Fitness Fort Collins Instructor Christy Thiel is mentioned in the middle.

Wendy McClure leads a group of Kangoo Jumpers in Boulder Colorado. (photo by Richardson, Denver Post)

Bouncing around like kangaroos with huge smiles on their faces, Kangoo jumpers burn extra calories, stimulate their lymphatic systems and reduce the impact on their joints by up to 80 percent.

Kangoo Jumps, a hot workout trend in Europe and South America, have bounded into Colorado. Resembling a cross between the boot of a Rollerblade and the treads on the bottom of a snowcat, Kangoo Jumps were originally designed by a Swiss engineer whose aging knees hindered his passion for running.

Bands or coils in the center of the shell underneath the boot stretch when compressed, creating spring or rebound. This rebound effect is the key to their appeal and success, according to Beth Kruper, Kangoo Jumps master trainer.

Kangoo Fitness PRESS information for Kangoo Fitness Fort Collins

Mel Beauprez does not have an ACL in his left knee. Kangoo Jumps don’t bother the knee and provide an excellent workout. (photo by Richardson, Denver Post)

“The great thing is the reduction in impact,” says Kruper, a fitness instructor for more than 20 years. “In my classes, I have everyone from a 9-year-old to a 70-year-old. These are mostly people who want a good workout, but many just can’t do cardio any other way. I’ve put boots on over 3,000 people, and I see people with so many different joint problems. Whatever hurts them when they run or do aerobics — it doesn’t hurt them with Kangoo.”

Health clubs in the metro area — Denver Athletic Club, Lakeshore Athletic Club in Broomfield and Body Dynamics Studio in Boulder — have begun offering Kangoo Jumps classes. The classes offer choreographed moves in a studio setting, which allows users to get comfortable with the boots and move in multidimensional directions. Many of the participants have found relief from joint issues.

“I took the Kangoo Jump class at the Denver Athletic Club for a specific reason,” says Denver resident Austin Murr. “I hadn’t been able to get out and run for over six years. The pain in my knees had led me to the boring elliptical machine. Then I put on Kangoo Jumps. Spring in the step again — literally.”

In addition to studio classes, Kangoo Jumps can be worn outside on pavement, dirt trails, and potentially even snow or sand. Many Kangoo owners take classes and also run outside with their boots.

“I haven’t been able to run for years due to foot pain,” says Shawn Ellis, a Lakeshore Athletic Club member. “Kangoos allow me to run and jump as much as I want. I can run outdoors if it’s a nice day. You look kind of goofy running around the neighborhood in your boots, but it’s fun.”

Both the Center for Exercise Science and Sport Management at Southern Cross University in Lismore, Australia, and the Division of Sports Medicine at The Swiss Federation Institute of Technology conducted studies that determined that wearing Kangoo Jumps while jogging significantly reduced impact compared with jogging in regular running shoes. However, according to the Southern Cross University study, “Further research work is required to assess the changes in gait pattern that the Kangoo Jumps may produce.

Multiple benefits

Dr. Lorri J. Fulkerson, an orthopedic surgeon with Boulder Orthopedics who has tried Kangoos herself, agrees that they can reduce impact on joints versus using traditional running shoes.

Wendy McClure of Boulder instructing a Kangoo Fitness class

Wendy McClure of Boulder instructing a Kangoo Fitness class. (Richardson, Denver Post)

“Patients with mild forms of osteoarthritis may find the boots improve their tolerance for impact activity,” she says. “However, since the boots are a less-stable platform, they may not be appropriate for people with more severe arthritis.”

Kangoo offers benefits to populations beyond folks with joint issues or injury rehabilitation, according to Wendy McClure, ACSM-certified Personal Trainer, Lakeshore instructor and co-owner of Body Dynamics Studio. The rebounding effect increases circulation and heart rate, and facilitates lymphatic drainage.

“The boots are great for obesity in children, and great for women with metabolic and tissue issues,” says McClure. “It’s also an efficient way to exercise because the heart rate gets up easily, and your calorie burn can be up to 50 percent more than the same exercise without the boots.

“There’s also a lymphatic flush that comes with rebounding,” she says. “Our organs don’t flush as well as we age. Toxins build up. A huge volume of blood is pumped through during a Kangoo workout, and it cleanses our system like a massage.”

Christy Thiel, a personal trainer in Fort Collins, struggled with digestive issues, skin problems and low energy until she tried rebounding.

“My lymph system was stagnant. I was not metabolizing toxins,” Thiel says. “I started rebounding on a mini-tramp for two minutes a day. Within a month, I felt so much better.”

Thiel went on to become a certified Kangoo Jumps instructor who has also produced a basic home weight-loss video for Kangoo Jumps.

Trudy Turvey, a physical therapist and certified lymphedema specialist in Boulder, agrees with the benefits of lymphatic drainage but isn’t sold on the superiority of Kangoo Jumps on this process.

“Lymphatic flow is extremely important to cleanse your body of foreign toxins,” she says. “But most any kind of exercise will increase lymphatic flow. Whether or not rebounding is more beneficial than walking or swimming on the lymph system — I’m not sure we have the research to support that.”

While many people are finding benefits from the boots, Kangoo Jumps are not necessarily for everyone. They’re contraindicated for pregnant women, people with heart or blood- pressure problems and potentially people with balance issues or a current injury.

“Anyone with an injury should definitely be led through the use of Kangoos to make sure it’s appropriate for them,” McClure says. “And the boots can help people with balance issues, but they need to be guided, as well.”

- for the remainder of the article, please follow this link to the Denver Post. More information on Kangoo Fitness in Colorado is provided. Thanks to the Denver Post for the partial reprint per their terms and conditions.

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