[This story was published on May 25 in the West Sussex Gazette. Read the original story at chichester.co.uk/news/local/bouncing-off-the-walls-at-chichester-s-ktroo-class-1-7398104]
Anyone who knows me is fully aware that I am not the most coordinated person on the planet, or the most athletic.
As someone who falls over in her own extremely steady Dr Martens more often than she’d like, the idea of donning ‘rebound shoes’, which are boots with a built in bouncing platform underneath, is a little daunting.
However, one of the things you notice when you turn up to one of the KTroo exercise sessions held at Chichester’s Roussillon Park is the fact that there seems to be a really friendly community of local women forming, with girls bringing their female mates, daughters bringing their mothers.
It’s fitting, then, that these KTroo sessions, currently hosted by the Chichester Community Development Trust, are being offered thanks to funding from Sport England’s Sportivate, as part of the This Girl Can campaign.
In addition to my chronic clumsiness, I’m also very much the target demographic for this campaign, which targets a group deemed to be at particular risk of being inactive.
This Girl Can provides opportunities for young women who want to get active and have fun, and the campaign describes itself as ‘a celebration of active women up and down the country who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets.’
Red faced you certainly do get during the session, but whether you can keep up with the seemingly indefatigable class leader and KTroo founder Kate Batty or not is irrelevant – you’re there to get moving and have a lot of fun.
It’s described as ‘interval training in disguise’ for a good reason, as it’s far too much like a laugh to be considered exercise.
You jump, skip, jog, squat, punch, country dance, and pretend-lasso around the room, cheering and clapping each other on to a great mix of disco classics and current radio hits.
Because of how much fun you’re having, you don’t realise exactly how much you’re sweating until you hit the water break, or how well-worked your arms and legs are until you sit down to pull the boots off at the end of the session.
The rebound shoes are designed so that there is 80 per cent less impact as you bounce, which protects your body and reduces trauma to the musculoskeletal system. Aside from all the physical benefits that the workout brings, there’s some serious psychological benefits to KTroo. Apparently, the motion of bouncing and experiencing a moment of weightlessness helps to release chemicals such as oxytocin into the brain.
In addition to improving sociability and communication and relieving stress, sports such as KTRoo can have beneficial effects for people with mental illnesses or special educational needs.
Kate said: “I started using the rebound boots while I was in Spain, and I got hooked on them.
“When I came back to the UK to finish my studies with the University of East Anglia, I wrote a business plan, and I established KTroo in Norwich, after the University helped me buy the boots.
The name ‘KTroo’ comes from a combination of Kate’s name and the word ‘kangeroo’.
Although it was first first launched to provide an alternative low impact and fun way of exercising for adults, with so many enthusiastic children wanting to have a go, Kate formed KTroo Kids.
“We do bounce days for KS2 Primary School pupils, as well as breakfast clubs and after school clubs,” said Kate.
“We even had a bounce session as part of the Enchanted Garden area at Latitude Festival.
“To anyone who is thinking of giving it a try, I’d just like to let them know that KTroo is friendly for all levels of fitness, and there’s lots of fun music – so come along and give it a try!”
Plus – I didn’t fall over once. I’m officially a KTroo convert.
Although open to everyone, women aged between 14 and 25 – the This Girl Can target demographic – can come along to the sessions for free. It’s only £3 an hour for everyone else.
The second six week course is set to kick off on June 9, and will run every Thursday for six weeks from 6pm to 7pm.
Find out more or book a spot at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01243 697072.