For many of us holidays become a mixture of family, traditions, gratitude, giving and, often, challenges too. More than any other time we seem to find ourselves with a few plates in the air. So, in keeping with this theme, I offer a literal juggling challenge.
Juggling is more than just a cool party trick. Keeping a few balls in the air can make our brains and bodies healthier! Any activity that requires you to move in patterns and think about what you are doing are called “complex ideomotor activities.” Ballroom dancing, tai chi and juggling are just a few examples.
Juggling has other benefits as well. It is a form of aerobic exercise which we know improves everyday thinking and reduces dementia risk. It activates coordination and balance skills and keeping an object in the air requires hand-eye coordination too. Juggling makes you think fast; it improves reaction time and your brain’s processing speed, all of which often diminish with age.
Ready? Let’s Juggle!
Gently toss and catch a ball, bean bag or even a scarf in your dominant hand.
Gently toss your object of choice in your non-dominant hand.
Toss it with the dominant hand and catch it with the non-dominant hand.
Now, using two objects, one in each hand, toss the object in the dominant hand toward the non-dominant shoulder while switching the object from the other hand to the dominant hand. Catch the first object with the empty hand.
Continue this circular motion gently catching and throwing with swinging forearms.
Got it? Well, if not, just keep trying! It really is fun, especially if you make it a group event…and your brain will thank you!
Susan Covey is the Acts Bayleigh Chase Fitness Director