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.

In Japan, sales of mini-trampolines at stores and online have risen rapidly in the weeks since stay at home recommendations forced more people indoors, surprising manufacturers and sellers.

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

Haruka Hirota, a two-time Olympian in gymnastics' trampoline discipline, has been sharing workout videos on social media and advocating her sport's recreational and health-improving benefits.

(Japanese trampoline athlete Haruka Hirota (L) appears in an online video offering tips on trampoline exercises at home.)
[Photo courtesy of Haruka Hirota]

Unlike the 5x3-meter trampolines used by the high-flying competition tumblers, indoor home versions are usually 1 meter in diameter, and easy to handle and carry.

Sporting goods store Zebio said sales for mini-trampolines started increasing in late February, and the monthly sales in March tripled in comparison to the same month last year.

A Zebio employee speculated that purchasers are using trampolines as a home workout option as fitness studios and gyms see their doors forced shut due to worries about the spread of the coronavirus.

"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.

[Photo courtesy of Haruka Hirota]

A public relations representative from Toys "R" Us, a major toy store chain, also reported an unexpected sales 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, 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."

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