Everyone Should Juggle
pic credit: Pexels.com
Juggling has been practiced for over 4000 years and evidence of this has been found in many cultures around the world. During the middle ages, juggling was looked down upon by the elite as jesters and even now, it is largely seen in children’s parties or circuses as mere entertainment.
Juggling however can be a great exercise which is fun and also improves focus and concentration.
Moreover, it is fun to learn and do as a family. Everyone from children over seven-eight years of age (once they have proper hand-eye coordination) to adults and even senior people can practice juggling.
What are the benefits?
It is a great exercise
It is said to burn approximately 280 calories in an hour, same as walking. It doesn’t tax the joints and can therefore be done even by older people. Therefore almost all age groups can practice juggling and it benefits each person immensely.
It is portable
You can juggle anywhere, even in a small place. You don’t need big equipment for practicing. You can juggle when you are traveling, in your home or outside in the park.
It is good for the brain
Juggling has been proven to increase the amount of grey matter in the brain (Nature magazine, volume 427, Jan. 2004). A study conducted by German researchers divided 24 non-jugglers into two groups and only one group was made to practice juggling for three months. Brain scans before and after the three-month period were same for the non-juggling group, whereas the ones who practiced juggling showed an increase in grey matter especially in two areas of the brain involved in visual and motor activity.
It increases focus and concentration
Juggling requires your brain to focus completely on the activity. You can’t throw a ball in the air and hope that your other hand will catch it in time in a rhythmic fashion. Even when you start, with one ball or with scarves, your brain needs to give the maximum focus on the activity. As a result, practicing regularly will improve your focus and concentration. You will be able to better concentrate on all work without getting distracted too often.
It improves coordination
This is a no-brainer. Anyone who has ever tried or even watched jugglers will know that it requires good coordination. It is seen that athletes can learn to juggle more quickly because their coordination is usually good because they have practiced to hit a fast-moving ball with a bat, or throw a ball in a basket while moving or hit a shuttle with a racquet.
But even if you are not an athlete, juggling will help you in increasing your coordination. This is especially useful as you grow older as better coordination will prevent falls and accidents.
It is great for family bonding
Juggling is so much fun to practice and even watch that it is a great way for a family to bond. The children can juggle with just one ball, using different parts of their body to throw it up. Older kids and adults can increase with as many objects as they can. Even grandparents can learn and practice this activity with ease. It is an entertaining and fun activity with numerous physical and mental benefits.
How do I start?
Here are some steps to start your juggling journey. Get yourself some juggling balls. Note that if you are a beginner, do NOT use regular balls as most of your time will be spent in running after them.
Now that you have the props, let’s begin.
Stand with your shoulders in line with your feet and your elbows bent at 90 degrees. This is the position for juggling.
Try with one ball – Hold a ball in one hand and toss it in an arc to the other hand. Ensure that the ball reaches a height just above your eyes and the height is consistent every time you toss the ball with either hand.
Introduce second ball – Hold one ball in each hand. Toss the ball in one hand and when it reaches the maximum height (this is important – maximum height), toss the other ball from under the first so that they do not collide. If done right, you will catch the first ball when second one is at highest point, and you toss it as soon as you catch it.
Introduce third ball – Step 3 will require a fair practice before you can do it seamlessly. Once you are comfortable, introduce the third ball. Hold two balls in your dominant hand (right hand if you are right-handed and left if you are left-handed) and third one in the other hand. Toss the first ball from your dominant hand. When it reaches the highest point, toss the ball from the other hand. Just as the second reaches the top, toss the third ball. Meanwhile, first ball would have reached the other hand. Toss it as soon as you catch. And lo and behold, you have become a juggler!
Here is a youtube video I found helpful.
I am planning to try it out. Are you?
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