Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Might As Well Jump

See the source imageWhen I think back on my elementary school physical education classes, I picture a gym full of kids doing stuff like dodge ball and skipping rope. And jumping jacks, of course. Awkward, unsynchronized jumping jacks. I don't even remember learning how to do jumping jacks, they've been with me so long.

But from an exercise standpoint, there's no reason jumping jacks should be relegated to childhood PE class. As an exercise, they offer many benefits. They're aerobic, which is good for the heart. They're weight-bearing, which is good for the bones. They require coordination, which is good for the brain. And they use the sometimes-neglected abductor and adductor muscles in the hips and shoulders. These are the muscles that move a body part away and back toward the median line and help with strength, balance, and stability.

Jumping jacks are also free, they don't require much in the way of equipment, and they can be done in a variety of ways. So this week, I decided to channel my inner third-grader and make jumping jacks a regular part of my life.

I started with 50 and added 10 each day, ending at 110. I did them barefoot or wearing shoes, on a mini-tramp or on the floor, in sets spread out through the day or one big clump. I did them as stand-alones (jump-alones?) or as part of other workouts.

After a week, I discovered I'm a pretty big fan. Like many people, I often end up sitting more than I want to during the day. When I needed a break from working at the computer, a quick set of jumping jacks made me feel less stiff in the hips and shoulders. They also shook the cobwebs out of my brain and boosted my alertness. The only downside was that unlike a stretch or a quick walk, jumping jacks are not something I feel comfortable doing at work. (Although, in all honesty, I didn't actually try it. Maybe my coworkers would be charmed.)

But at home, with only my dog giving me quizzical looks, this week's Take It or Leave It is a surprisingly enthusiastic Take It.

Image result for jumping jacks
Jumping Jacks...Russells, that is.

1 comment:

  1. And after kids these are something that I really shouldn't be doing...