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The Joy of Joggling

Lenny Ferman submitted this joggling article.  It was originally published in the Jacksonville Track Club newsletter and reprinted here with permission.

Last month I introduced the club to the sport of joggling, which is running while juggling 3joggling races balls. This month I’m going to explain how you can become a joggler and enjoy the many benefits of this incredible running activity.

Benefits of Joggling

First, I’m going to answer the question you’re probably thinking…. Why? Why should anyone juggle 3 balls while they’re running? Isn’t it hard enough to just chew gum while you’re running. And why juggle? Why not simply tell jokes, or hop on one leg? Well, these are all good questions, and they deserve a good answer.

My simple reply is that joggling is the greatest activity in the world.

Once you learn to do it, you’ll be hooked on it, and it’s a very positive addiction. The longer answer is a description of the benefits and an explanation of how you can do it too that is in the rest of the article below.

The biggest misconception in joggling is that you’re doing two things at once, running and juggling. Actually, you are just doing one thing. You are moving your arms and legs in a rhythmic pattern and utilizing all four limbs in aerobic activity. When you run, you have to pump your arms back and forth. This is a fact of running. Joggling simply takes that arm motion that you are already doing, and gives it a real purpose. When I’m joggling, I’m simply using the natural arm pumping motion to “release” and catch a ball. As my arm moves forward I release the ball. The ball naturally crosses in front of my body, as the arm swinging motion for nearly all runners is not straight forward, but in fact is to cross in front of you a little. Again, this is made to order for joggling.

My next thought is to catch the ball with my opposite hand as that hand has started its descent back. So my simple thoughts while joggling are “release”, “catch”, “release”, “catch”, with each throw crossing over to the other side. This single insight took me a long time to understand. But once I realized that I was really doing one thing, not two things, when I was joggling, it became very simple.

Becoming a joggler

Of course, it does help to be a juggler first. Most people unfortunately think they can’t juggle. But juggling 3 balls is actually rather easy with the right instruction. I have taught many people how to juggle in as little as 15 minutes. There is a simple test I perform to see if someone has the capability to juggle 3 balls. I call it walking in a straight line. If you can walk, you can juggle. We all learned the incredible balancing feat of walking when we were 1 year old. Walking is not as simple as you think. It requires the ability to balance all of your weight on one leg while swinging the opposite leg forward. There are dozens of muscle groups recruited for this task, and constant feedback from the nerves of the foot to the brain to monitor the position of the foot so that you do not fall over. But since we learned it when we were 1, we don’t think about it as being difficult. Juggling is no different. You are simply moving your arms up and down in a simple rhythmic pattern.

If you’d like to learn to juggle, check out these 25 free resources for learning to juggle.

Benefits of joggling

Now on to the benefits of joggling. We all know about the runner’s high, the documented rush of endorphins that make you feel great during and after your run. Joggling takes that high and multiplies it a few times. The combination of all four limbs engaged in a hypnotic activity takes you to a new level of inner peace. Joggling is mesmerizing and it increases your focus both during and after your run.

Joggling also gives you a better workout. I don’t have time to run and lift weights. Joggling allows me to workout my arms and abs at the same time as I’m running. Sometimes I’ll joggle with 1 pound exerballs. What an incredible workout. I come back from my run totally pumped up.

Finally, Joggling makes people happy, which in turns makes me happy. I get the most incredible reactions from people when they see me joggling. Often I hear people say, “wow, how do you do that?.”, or people will smile and say, “that’s cool”, or, “now that’s multitasking!”. Occasionally someone will yell, “show off.” The only thing I’m trying to show off is that you can do this great activity too. I couldn’t juggle until I was 35, and I didn’t pick up joggling until I was 42. So you can teach an old runner new tricks. I never made my high school basketball or baseball teams. In fact, I ran track because I wasn’t good enough at any skill sports. So if I could do it, you can too.

Stating to joggle

If you do pick-up joggling, I suggest that you start out trying it on the track or the beach or an open flat stretch of road. You will inevitably drop a few times and you don’t want to trip or run into something. But, once you get it down, you can see ahead of you just like regular running. In fact you won’t even need to stay aware of the balls. Your hand-eye-brain coordination will keep track of the balls subconsciously. It will be just like putting one foot in front of the other and running without tripping. Honestly. This is yet another cool benefit of joggling.

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