Subtitle: As I mentioned to these guys Ive recommitted to learning to juggle. By the time I turn 41 I shall be amazing! mediocre.
I’d love to say this topic choice stemmed wholly from a quirky desire to seek alternative fitness— but that would be a lie.
Inspiration came from a much more mundane place.
As I lamented to these women my inability to juggle work-commitments/MizFit/mamahood at all with ease a topic was born.
Perhaps, I mused, if I literally juggled I might conquer my figurative ball tossage as well.
I was uncertain if juggling fell under the umbrella of exercise but confident, given my below average coordination, there’d be calorie burning laughs regardless.
And sometimes the mere promise of LAUGHTER is enough to get me to try anything. ONCE.
Juggling has been around far longer than the Ringling Brothers clowns we now associate it with. It was practiced in ancient Egypt and Rome and popular in Europe throughout the Middle Ages.
Yes it’s mildly interesting juggling provided entertainment for ancient kings, but even with the economy in the crapper freelance opportunities drying up I was confident I’d never be employed as a court jester.
I wanted to know what physiological benefits I might expect if I succeeded in teaching my clumsy self to juggle.
As it turned out jesters were on to something and juggling for sport had much to offer.
(**cue relief as I had zero other post ideas languishing in my head**)
Juggling increases coordination, balance and reflexes. According to skilled jugglers, prop tossing will improve my hand eye coordination and I shouldn’t shy away because I’m aware of my deficiency. Better balance and quickening of reflexes are also by products of mastering basic jugging stances and skills.
(Yeah, I noticed the word MASTERING in there as well.)
Juggling increases range of motion in arms and shoulders. In order to keep props in the air jugglers need to employ muscles and body mechanics rarely engaged in normal activities. As a result, one must contort in order to juggle smoothly. When one is able to master this contortionary tactic the arms and shoulder joints are in constant use, remain lubricated, and show less age-related creakiness.
Juggling is a workout for all ages and body types.
Juggling for fitness is ideal because it’s a no-impact workout. Tossing objects in the air burns up to two hundred and eighty calories per hour, same as walking, yet can be done seated. This makes juggling a fit for seniors, people with physical limitations & those who are returning to exercise after a hiatus.
Juggling is an excellent stress reliever. This six word sentence was the proverbial music to my frazzled ears. Jugglers must be fully present and focused solely on the activity at hand. No matter if it’s a two minute work break or an extended routine one returns to other tasks with renewed mental clarity and calm.
Juggling makes the brain bigger. A study published in Nature magazine showed learning to juggle triggers growth in the brain’s visual and motor activity sectors. Juggling may also prevent the onset of Alzheimers. Its forced use of problem solving skills (you can’t just toss the balls and hope you catch them. take my word for it.) is thought to stimulate oft neglected parts of the aging brain.
Juggling is portable, free, fun & terrific Tornado entertainment. This final piece sold me on juggling. I loved the idea of always having my workout with me and growing my gray matter /destressing at a moment’s notice! The mere thought of a balance-improving, ball tossing session in the restroom before doing a presentation for work was *already* enough to make me laugh.
Armed with my new found knowledge of juggling’s benefits I was ready to get tossing.
I grabbed a tennis ball, deemed it my prop, and threw it from hand to hand.
Clarification: nowhere in my reading did an expert juggler suggest starting with one prop. All beginner tips led off with two props in hand. I, however, knew I needed to begin with the very basics and urge you to do so, too.
If you’re not me it shall serve as a self- esteem boost and, if you’re my brother or sister in lack of coordination, it’s crucial to perfect the basic toss before adding props.
This basic toss is as uncomplicated as lofting the ball from left to right. I quickly discovered, however, it’s not easy to ensure the ball lands in the same place each time. It took me lots of practicing (and chasing) to get even this ‘simple’ part to become second nature.
Once I mastered that skill I was ready to add in an additional prop and truly commence juggling.
I swapped my tennis ball for rolled up socks (being determined to learn to juggle with as little domicile destruction as possible), the Tornado shouted GO!! & off I went.
Juggling two props was simple. If by simple you mean easy to explain and quite a challenge to learn which I do.
All that was required was I toss prop two up as the first prop starts to reach its peak (the highest point before descending) and repeat. and REPEAT.
Yeah, I didnt think so either.
The biggest shock in adding prop number two wasn’t so much the challenge—–it was the fact I didn’t grow frustrated.
As a woman who’s come thisclose to snapping a golf club in half, I’d assumed I’d find juggling exasperating as well. I didn’t.
The few times I kept my props aloft the feeling of accomplishment was beyond compare.
In addition, the zen-like focus required to get to that place rivaled my brief foray into meditation. My juggling was awkward and stilted at best, yet I laughed and viewed each dropped prop as a chance to burn calories as I chased an errant sock.
The answer to the question I know is coming? No.
I haven’t, at this time, graduated to juggling three props (or am anywhere near needing these) and plan to stick with my new avocation until I do.
With regards to three props, word on the juggling street is the more height a toss is given the more time there is to determine where it’ll land and catch it.
I’ll let you know if it really is as simple (please see definition above) as all that.
Nettie saysJune 8, 2010 at 2:31 am
How hilarious are you, Miz?
I loved the video and was just whining to a coworker how stressed out I am.
I may try this with two STRESS BALLS I have at work.
Helen saysJune 8, 2010 at 3:02 am
Brother or sister in lack of coordination LOL
That is why I am a runner!!!
Yum Yucky saysJune 8, 2010 at 3:27 am
Ball tossage? Good thing I’m one of those people who reads the entire thing…in context.
But I may need to NOT try and juggle. If it will cause my brain to get bigger, no doubt I’d have to file more stuff inside. But that whistling background sound effect you did. That is talent.
jen (@jeninRL) saysJune 8, 2010 at 4:33 am
hehe…you said balls!
Evan saysJune 8, 2010 at 3:40 am
I can actually do this “workout” even at my current weight.
I had no idea I could call this my exercise 🙂
Is wearing just a sports bra mandatory?
I can’t find one to fit.
karen saysJune 8, 2010 at 3:58 am
I had some friends when I was in high school who were semi-professional (and later full-fledged professional) jugglers. I used to sit and watch them for hours! I was never good at it then and still can’t do it!!! Before I was just horribly uncoordinated and now pair that with little-to-no depth perception and, well, I’ll just keep watching others in awe 🙂
Jessica saysJune 8, 2010 at 4:16 am
I have always wanted to juggle. I do not have the patience!
Natalia saysJune 8, 2010 at 4:18 am
I used to be able to juggle a LONG, LONG, time ago! 🙂 It’s fun! 🙂
Aimee saysJune 8, 2010 at 4:19 am
Reading this made me wonder if I could try juggling as a stepping stone to meditation?
I am far too hyper to meditate but your reference to “zen like focus” is intriguing.
As always you rock the vid.
Diane Fit to the Finish saysJune 8, 2010 at 4:21 am
Creativity and exercise is a fabulous combo!
MrsFatass saysJune 8, 2010 at 4:25 am
You said Ball Tossage. And I shall think on that and laugh all day.
You GO! Creative. Refreshing. Entertaining to the masses. And . . . you can earn a little extra cheese by doing it at children’s birthday parties. I’d say you’re on to something.
Bea saysJune 8, 2010 at 4:27 am
Miz you should have put BALL TOSSAGE in your title for some mad SEO!!
I love you and your whistling juggling video.
MizFit saysJune 8, 2010 at 4:35 am
GOOD LORD I LOVE YOU GUYS.
Please to never grow up 🙂
messymimi saysJune 8, 2010 at 4:49 am
It isn’t easy, it is fun, I learned a bit at one time, and you have given me good reason to go back and relearn. Thanks.
Irene aka FitHungryGurl saysJune 8, 2010 at 5:02 am
Eh…you CAN juggle and whistle at the same time. Not me! LOL!
Stacey saysJune 8, 2010 at 5:04 am
This truly is fitness not fitting in 🙂
I guess it could be a workout though.
Erica saysJune 8, 2010 at 5:05 am
hahah cute video. Love the background music 😉 “Juggling increases range of motion in arms and shoulders.” who knew! maybe I should have Josh juggle as he starts to recover from the surgery he had on his arm 😉
Lisa saysJune 8, 2010 at 5:24 am
ahhhhhh….thank you for a fabulous laugh to start my day!!! loved picturing you chasing the tennis ball and getting all zen like when you did manage to toss (and catch) both pairs of socks!
Crabby McSlacker saysJune 8, 2010 at 5:32 am
I almost forgot that “juggling” isn’t just a metaphor for modern life, but is an actual activity you can do on purpose for fun! Laundry day is coming up, I think there are some socks that need flinging. Thanks for the inspiration!
South Beach Steve saysJune 8, 2010 at 5:35 am
I never knew there were so many benefits to juggling! Unfortunately, it would take years for me to be able to learn to juggle one ball, much less multiple ones. 🙂
Joanna Sutter saysJune 8, 2010 at 5:40 am
I lack the coordination gene. Sadly no step classes, line dancing, or invitations to be on Dancing with the Stars for this girl.
Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman saysJune 8, 2010 at 5:55 am
I’m still trying to be coordinated enough not to walk into door frames and bump my knees on tables. Juggling is so far from something I can feasibly do. I’m a klutz at heart, so if I did try, it’d be with painless, squishy balls. For when they all come crashing into my face.
Karen saysJune 8, 2010 at 5:57 am
When’s the birthday Miz.
Will we get an encore video?
Hilary saysJune 8, 2010 at 6:13 am
The twins and I will give this a go today with rolled up socks.
Ill report back the destruction.
Carla saysJune 8, 2010 at 6:24 am
My husband has tried many times to teach me to juggle! I just can’t seem to get it!!! 🙂
Jody - Fit at 52 saysJune 8, 2010 at 6:39 am
I admire you for trying this! I like the relieve stress part but am afraid it may stress me more not being able to do it! 🙂 Definitely like the ” Juggling may also prevent the onset of Alzheimers. Its forced use of problem solving skills (you can’t just toss the balls and hope you catch them. take my word for it.) is thought to stimulate oft neglected parts of the aging brain.” we have that in the family so….
Not sure I am going to try it but ya never know.. I may need that laugh.. at myself trying it! 🙂
Jules - Big Girl Bombshell saysJune 8, 2010 at 6:41 am
Love, Love, Love THIS! I think I might just take a couple rolled up socks to the big meeting at work this week and just start trying to juggle when everyone gets SO serious!
Rachel saysJune 8, 2010 at 6:47 am
Ohhhh my gosh that whistling is fantastic. haha Made my morning!
Emma saysJune 8, 2010 at 6:54 am
I think you could kick this 22 year olds ass 😉
I hope I look like you at 41.
Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit saysJune 8, 2010 at 6:55 am
You know what they say: life’s a struggle if you can’t juggle…
Well, they SHOULD say it!
charlotte saysJune 8, 2010 at 7:08 am
Can I just say how impressed I am with your WHISTLING ability?? I can only whistle one note (it’s the you-kids-get-your-tiny-heinys-over-here-this-second woot) but I’ve always always wanted to be able to whistle a tune! Who cares if you can juggle if you can whistle like that.
But I do understand the juggle-love. My dad can juggle and would always pick up random things at home and just start throwing them around. Made regular Saturday mornings feel like a circus. It was awesome. I used to be able to juggle three things with some consistency but it’s been a long time. Going to go try now!
Meg saysJune 8, 2010 at 7:29 am
Wow! I’m seriously impressed! I have a friend who’s an avid juggler and who’s tried on occasion to teach me, and honestly I think I’m just two uncoordinated. Props to you for learning!
MizFit saysJune 8, 2010 at 7:33 am
Emma I’m totally printing out your comment today and placing in my pocket to reread when when I need a BOOST!
Made my day 😉
cammy@tippytoediet saysJune 8, 2010 at 8:11 am
I can totally see the fitness benefits from juggling! I’ve tried a few times, just in passing, but quickly grew tired of chasing the dropped balls around. I never thought of SOCKS! Socks won’t roll under the sofa (after taking out a row of photographs on the shelf.) Thanks for that little tip! I’ll be tossing my socks this very afternoon!
Shelley B saysJune 8, 2010 at 8:55 am
That looks like fun…which is my favorite kind of exercise!
Cynthia (It All Changes) saysJune 8, 2010 at 9:11 am
For the life of me I’ve never learned to juggle. I’ve learned to juggle life a bit better as I’ve grown but real juggling is too hard.
Karen (KCLAnderson) saysJune 8, 2010 at 10:33 am
I taught myself to juggle several years ago but it didn’t stick. I am more impressed by your ability to whistle so well while you juggle 😉
Dr. J saysJune 8, 2010 at 11:01 am
LOL!! You crack me up! I think every kid tries to juggle. Can I do it? Yes, but not to well. It’s still fun!
Lisa saysJune 8, 2010 at 11:31 am
My husband can juggle like a professional circus act. Me…not so much. It is hard. I get frustrated and lose concentration.
Renee saysJune 8, 2010 at 11:35 am
I know you are kind of joking with this post but I think it’s actually a fab idea for working balance and core!!
(I love your navel tattoo)
Quix saysJune 8, 2010 at 1:06 pm
Back in junior high school PE we did just about everything under the sun. One of them was juggling. I could barely keep 3 balls going for a few rounds but sometimes I got lucky.
Sometimes, I feel like I need to be able to juggle like SIX to get everything done lately. Sigh. Happy sigh, but still sigh…
Kimberley saysJune 8, 2010 at 6:06 pm
I love that circus song. You whistled it while you did demonstrated your amazing ability as well…
Keep on juggling!
Kimberley saysJune 8, 2010 at 6:07 pm
Now if only I could demonstrate my writing ability…previous post must have been written with one eye closed and both hands juggling…
'Drea saysJune 8, 2010 at 7:02 pm
We have a joggler in St. Louis.
Dude straight up jogs and juggles through Forest Park. I would be on the way to the hospital if I tried such a feat. Once you tackle juggling, perhaps you can take on joggling? 😉
PhysiqueSpeak saysJune 8, 2010 at 8:25 pm
JEALOUS! Been trying for years- just cant get the hang of it
FatFighterTV saysJune 8, 2010 at 10:44 pm
I need to make my brain bigger! Maybe I will take up juggling objects in addition to juggling looking for work!
Renee saysJune 9, 2010 at 5:42 am
I wasn’t you (not nearly) but I did lead our seminar in some juggling attempts with crumpled paper yesterday during the donut break!!
Thanks Miz for the idea.
Amy saysJune 9, 2010 at 6:25 am
love this post!! now i am looking around my office for things to juggle! and LOVE the joggler link.. did you see the thing where they were running on water?? cool.
Skyler Meine saysJune 9, 2010 at 6:41 pm
The one hand two prop toss is the way to go. Three props seems to be to complicated. Keep it simple.
Kyle saysJune 9, 2010 at 10:04 pm
Well, this is wonderful. Juggling is a great metaphor for other challenges. There is a lifetime to mastery and no end of ways to increase its difficulty. Even juggling three props is an outstanding accomplishment that actually would still put you among small company even without juggling gas powered chainsaws.
Hanlie saysJune 12, 2010 at 1:51 am
I can barely catch one ball at a time… (I blame my father – he never played ball with his girls!). So I think I’ll give the juggling a miss. But it sure looks fun!
Mel saysJune 20, 2010 at 12:56 am
Hm, I never thought of juggling as a workout, but you’re totally right. It certainly includes a lot squats or bending over to touch the floor!
My $.02 if you want to progress with juggling – when I learned, I found beanbags were much easier to work with than socks. They won’t drift, and your hand will automatically close around it when you catch it rather than having to consciously snatch it out of the air. You want something heavy enough to throw like a baseball. Beanbags also don’t roll away when you drop them!
I knew a guy who liked to juggle two pound weights, he said it made a fantastic workout for the biceps and shoulder muscles. He was kind of nuts.
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