National

Home trampoline sales jump as Japanese look to stay fit during pandemic

KYODO

With the coronavirus forcing people to stay cooped up at home, often with young children bouncing off the walls, the need for ways to stay fit and active has never been stronger.

As a result, sales of mini-trampolines at stores and online have risen rapidly in the weeks since government stay-at-home requests kept more people indoors, surprising manufacturers and sellers alike.

"Sales have been going up since late February," one supplier said.

Haruka Hirota, a two-time Olympic gymnast and trampoline specialist, has been sharing workout videos on social media and advocating her sport's recreational and health benefits.

Unlike the 5-meter x 3-meter trampolines used by the high-flying competitive tumblers, the home versions are usually just 1 meter in diameter, making them easy to handle and carry.

Sporting goods chain Zebio said sales started increasing in late February and tripled in March from the same month last year.

A Zebio employee speculated that purchasers are using the contraptions as a home workout option after the coronavirus pandemic forced fitness studios and gyms to close their doors.

"Sales figures are going up by the week in April," he said.

An employee at sports and outdoor goods retailer Alpen said families are buying trampolines to make sure children get their daily exercise and stay entertained while schools are shut.

In March, when public schools nationwide closed at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's request, sales more than doubled from last year, he said.

A public relations representative from Toys "R" Us, also reported an unexpected jump, saying, "(Trampolines) are popular in colder areas in wintertime, but we didn't expect to sell this many in spring."

"It gets stressful when you stay at home for too long," Hirota said. "I want parents and children to have fun bouncing and overcome physical activity barriers."

On her YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPnDdoyCkOh9U3cGkLsJu6A), Hirota shares tips on choosing trampolines and covers some basic techniques.

She is hoping to post more videos, saying, "It's different from the one used in competitive trampoline, but it would be nice if more home trampoline users mean greater interest in trampolining as a sport."

Your news needs your support

Since the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, The Japan Times has been providing free access to crucial news on the impact of the novel coronavirus as well as practical information about how to cope with the pandemic. Please consider subscribing today so we can continue offering you up-to-date, in-depth news about Japan.

Coronavirus banner