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Juggling for fitness: Prop up your daily workout
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Juggling for fitness: Prop up your daily workout

Apart from being a fun-filled journey, juggling for fitness also lowers stress and boosts confidence
Juggling for fitness can be done using various props including balls, clubs and rings. The possibilities are endless, along with the fun element and benefits.
Juggling for fitness, or as an exercise routine, can help improve concentration and hand-eye-brain coordination, and decrease stress. (Photo: Goutham V / Happiest Health)

Juggling comes naturally to us, figuratively speaking — how we juggle the variables that govern our lives, trying to touch the right balance and, more important, find happiness. Some of that juggling revolves around managing a decent fitness routine that can be practically included in an increasingly busy schedule: running, the gym, cycling, pilates, a bit of yoga…

Why not add a bit of juggling to your workouts too, literally? Trust us, juggling for fitness will leave you relaxed.

Almost all of us have been awed at the way jugglers go about their act — throwing and spinning multiple balls, or any prop for that matter (from rings to clubs), in a seemingly endless loop powered by two busy hands.

Jugglers say that mastering the art is a fascinating journey that requires years of practice and involves establishing new neural connections. It involves getting physically fitter too.

And the fitness world, constantly in search of novel ideas and means, has taken due cognizance. Juggling as a fitness routine, part of flow arts that include hula hooping and poi spinning, is fast gaining popularity.

Basics of juggling for fitness

Juggling requires a lot of determination and persistence. Mastering the basics is key. Beyond that, the possibilities are endless, limited only by the person themselves and their creative zeal.

“I started juggling in the year 2013 and, 10 years down the line, I can now juggle seven [juggling] balls at a time, and can also juggle clubs,” says Arjun Krishna Kishore from Bengaluru, a juggler and object manipulator. Kishore started juggling after seeing a colleague do so, and his keenness to learn how to manipulate the balls in time and space kept him motivated. In the initial years, he used to spend six hours a day training.

There is a catch though: initially, if one does not get the technique right, the chances of boredom and even giving up are high.

“But after learning the trick, the happiness you get and the satisfaction on accomplishing the task can be enormous and it will push you to learn more tricks,” he adds.

How juggling relaxes the mind

Juggling is known to lower stress, make you happy and build confidence.

“Whenever I am stressed, I do some juggling,” says Bengaluru-based Uday Kanathur, a ventriloquist, magician, juggler and founder of Talentworld, an event-management company. “It also helps build self-confidence.” Kanathur has been juggling for eight years.

In the case of most skills, you learn the basics first, advance to the next step and then progress. Once the base skills are mastered, stepping up to more complex acts requires a process of reinvention. But the progression in juggling is different from other arts or physical activities.

“When you want to go the next step, you must come back to zero and start again,” says Kishore. “For each new trick that you learn, you start afresh. So, as you continue doing this, the neurons make new patterns in the brain. That helps in increasing the amount of grey matter in the brain. It improves motor skills as well.”

The hand, eye and brain coordination is crucial. It improves focus levels, which will have a bearing in other daily activities as well, be it work, studies or chores. It also enhances problem-solving skills.

Health benefits of juggling

“Juggling is definitely helpful for maintaining fitness and controlling body weight,” says Kanathur. “It works the hands, shoulders, neck, back and leg muscles.”

Standing for long durations (while training or performing), the muscular exertion involved in throwing and catching, and the energy utilised by the brain help burn calories.

“Each juggling ball weighs approximately 150g,” says Kishore. “When the ball is thrown up in the air and caught as it drops, the effective weight will be much more than 150g because of gravity. It also depends on the number of balls or props that are being juggled and the speed at which they are thrown up in the air and caught again. That makes the arm muscles work a lot. Hence people also get tired after juggling because it feels like a physical workout. It also leads to building the muscles that are involved.”

The whole action is driven not just by the arms, but the core and the legs. In a way, the whole body is utilised while juggling.

Warm-up

Juggling can be a real pain in the neck because one is always looking up at the props (though seasoned jugglers may not have to look frequently). It can also cause strain, stiffness and pain in the wrists, shoulders, back and the legs.

“Starting with a warm-up of the head, neck and shoulders, wrists, elbows, spine and the feet is important to avoid pain,” adds Kishore.

Takeaways

  • Juggling is the act of throwing and catching different props — balls, clubs, rings, etc. — at the same time.
  • It can help increase the grey matter in the brain, concentration and hand-eye-brain coordination, and decrease stress.
  • Juggling makes your arms, core and leg muscles strong.

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