Poker players discover stress-relieving benefits of trampolining
The world of professional poker can be a harsh and stressful environment. Players stand to win a lot of money in a single game, but to do so they also have to risk much.
The tension is most palpable during the run-up to major live poker tournaments such as the World Series of Poker Europe, which used to be presented by Betfair. Head out to the tournament venue and you’re bound to see any number of participants trying their best to ease the tension. Some pace to and fro, some listen to music, and others still even try to get a few minutes of meditation and yoga in between lulls in the action.
Canadian pro Marc-Etienne McLaughlin, who made it to the WSOP 2013 Main Event as part of the November Nine, had a decidedly different way to relax: he went out and played trampoline dodgeball to help settle his nerves the day before the Main Event finally went into high gear.
What McLaughlin seems to have hit on is the fact that trampoline exercises can help decrease tension and stress levels. Cortisol, which has been termed “the stress hormone” due to its higher presence when the body is in “fight-or-flight mode” due to stress, can lead to chronic stress levels if the body’s relaxation responses are not triggered following a stressful event. Trampolining helps by reducing stress hormones and increasing the production of endorphins, the body’s “feel-good” chemicals.
McLaughlin isn’t the only poker pro to have discovered the benefits of trampoline dodgeball and other acrobatic sports. Gillian Epp, one of the few poker pros to be handpicked by nine-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Ivey to join his stable of sponsored pros, has recently added trampoline dodgeball to her list of activites outside the world of cards and chips. Their fellow poker pros Adam “Roothlus” Levy, who made it to the top ten in World Poker Tour’s Lucky Hearts Poker Open last month, and 2012 WPT Johannesburg title holder Melanie Weisner have also become enamored with acrobatic sports.
Much has been said about the health benefits of trampoline exercise (also called “rebounding”) and other acrobatic sports. The basic bounce alone “burns a lot of calories”, says 360 Transformation founder Basheerah Ahmad in an interview with WebMD. The online calorie calculator CalorieLab estimates that an hour of trampoline exercise will let a person who weighs 150 pounds burn over 170 calories.