Inflatables are used for more than just adding excitement to any event. As I’ve highlighted before, NASA is using inflatables to plan trips to Mars, and actors like Tom Holland use them to train for superhero roles (since being a superhero involves a whole lot of leaping).
But today, I want to focus on an unconventional use for inflatables almost anyone can participant in: the inflatable 5k run.
What Is an Inflatable 5k Run?
For those who don’t know, a 5k run is a super mini-marathon, amounting to a mere 3.1 miles of running. It’s something most people can do in an hour. But the reason why these runs are so popular is because of the pageantry behind them. Organizers put 5k runs together as community events, where everyone can come, pay a fee, and spending the mornings seeing how fast they can clear the five kilometers.
Famous 5k races include the Hot Chocolate 5k Chicago, the Rock N’ Roll Las Vegas 5k, and the Bowerman 5k in Beaverton, OR.
Besides the pageantry, these races are popular because the distance is so short. Signing up for one is a short time commitment and doesn’t require any physical training. You don’t even have to run to participant—a brisk stroll from the start to the finish line will net you the same participation button as someone who finished 15 minutes ahead of you.
But the point is to get people to be physical, which is an admirable goal and one that I believe in myself.
And that brings me to inflatable 5k runs.
The inflatable 5k flips the traditional 5k on its head by adding–you guessed it–inflatable obstacles to the proceedings. The race still stretches the full 3.1 miles, but it’s now interspersed with slides and rock walls.
Imagine you’re jogging along a scenic path next to the outskirts of the woods and you see a hill in the distance, but it’s a bit strange. It’s not the typical green hill you’re used to, but a red, yellow, and blue incline. As you get closer, you realize it’s the Rock Climb Slide and you’re going to have to engage muscles other than your legs to clear it. It’s an exhilarating feeling and something only inflatables can bring to the race.
Just like how the pageantry of 5ks brings out people who don’t care for running, inflatable 5ks bring out those who absolutely loathe running. And that’s because instead of being another 3.1-mile run you do while catching up on podcasts, the inflatable 5k separates the running parts of the race into negligible chunks. It’s like taking a break every 10–15 minutes, but instead of refilling your water bottle, you’re at your favorite carnival, bouncing around like you’re made of rubber. And that’s what also makes it unforgettable.
Inflatable 5k Run Physical Benefits
The physical benefits of running are well known—strengthening the heart and lungs, reducing blood sugar, regulating blood pressure, controlling weight, etc. But jumping (or bouncing) is actually more beneficial to your health than running. In fact, according to NASA, 10 minutes of jumping is a better cardiovascular workout than 30 minutes of running.
Some other benefits that are specific to jumping include stimulating the metabolism, developing motor skills, balance, and coordination, accelerating lymphatic circulation, and increasing the activity of red bone marrow in the production of red blood cells.
So, when you participate in an inflatable 5k run, you’re getting both the physical and health benefits of both running and jumping—not to mention climbing, rolling, and whatever else you must do to clear the obstacles in your way.
Whether you’re participating in a 5k run, or planning one yourself (and we have plenty of sports interactives inflatables to act as obstacles in your race), the main point you must remember is that inflatables make everything better—even exercising!
Have you ever participated in an inflatable 5k run? What are some training tips you have? What surprised you most about the race? Leave your answers in the comments.