Tag Archives: winter sports

Fabulous time joggling around Rockefeller Preserve

Lake at Rockefeller Preserve in winter

Lake at Rockefeller Preserve in winter

The Rockefeller Preserve in Sleepy Hollow, NY, has a lot to offer the nature lover or fitness buff all year round, so long as no idiot burns it down. Its 1,233-acres offers beautiful vistas, dense forests, diverse wildlife, and exotic dancers. The preserve’s many bird species will greet you with ethereal bird song as you walk, run or joggle along its many trails(and I was kidding about the exotic dancers, just wanted to make sure you were paying attention).

Lake at Rockefeller Preserve in summer

Lake at Rockefeller Preserve in summer

The Rockfefeller preserve used to belong to this very rich, powerful family, but I can’t remember their name at the moment. It’s an especially good place for joggling as there is virtually no vehicle traffic or roads in the park. I don’t let the cold, breezy air keep me indoors, so I had a delicious time there yesterday.

Some new video from yesterday – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eK0V7834BM4

There are so many great views in this preserve, it’s hard to decide where to take photos.

I believe that joggling keeps me warmer than running due to having to move my arms a lot to juggle the balls. Keep in mind that you may have to do a lot of warm up exercises with your arms before you joggle or you will drop the balls a lot at first. Try to see if you can incorporate juggling into your fitness routine in the New Year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

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Winter is officially here

Now that winter is officially here with all its challenges and positives, I keep thinking of the how different it was when I joggled during the summer and its own unique challenges.

I joggled many times around this lake during the summer. This photo was taken in the Rockefeller Preserve, Pocantico Hills, NY.

In a strange kind of way, I miss it, especially as the weather gets colder. It’s like I have forgotten the profuse sweating, the heat-induced muscle fatigue causing me to slow down or drop the balls, the countless insects biting me or flying into my face, and the sunscreen I had to rub over much of my body to prevent sunburn. Okay, maybe I haven’t forgotten, but I still achieved bliss on a good run. I remember joggling in the summer wishing it was the heaven that is winter.

And now sometimes I wish it was summer, or spring. How ironic. The middle of the winter means heavy clothing, shorter days, a running nose, the risk of frost-bite, kids throwing snow balls, and sometimes stiffer muscles. If there is snow or ice, winter joggling can be especially problematic – be not afraid of new challenges. And the local kids should know they can’t win in a snow ball fight with a joggler!

“When you long for a life without difficulties, remind yourself that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure” – Uknown

Although I have to adapt to the weather, all the rules for joggling are the same. For beginners, this is very important: Maintaining the proper rhythm and posture is everything. It is like music, making beautiful music, becoming one with the rhythm and one with the balls. You may hear the music, you may not. If a melody develops, literally run with it. Hum along if you want.

With all this emphasis on rhythm, and music perhaps it would be better for jogglers to forget about running and to think of themselves as dancers. Running simply takes you from point A to point B. But juggling adds a new magical dimension to the running; going from point A to point B^3.

It really doesn’t matter what kind of dancer-joggler you think of yourself as. If you prefer the grace of a ballerina, go with that. Or if you prefer hip-hop dance, go ahead. You don’t even necessarily have to do the 3 ball cascade pattern, although that is most efficient and easiest for beginners. Above all, be creative. You may surprise yourself and learn all sorts of new things about yourself through joggling. If it really does make us smarter, that isn’t such a surprise.

In the new year, whatever your fitness goals are, it helps to be as creative as possible, to think outside-the-box, to make it as fun as possible and to not care what anyone else thinks.

And for the record, I’ve decided to stop eating eggs, which makes me vegan yet again.

You get most of your protein from nuts?!

Rumors have been swirling around about this for quite some time. I thought it was time to tell the truth. I do, in fact, on many days get most of my protein from nuts. Or a delicious combination of nuts and legumes. The Wild Juggler is in fact a vegetarian.

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So how is this possible? Is he, yet again, violating the laws of physics? Truth be told, nuts are a great source of protein.
1/4 cup of almonds contains about 6 grams of protein.

While it also has a lot of fat, it is mostly the healthy, unsaturated kind of fat. Almonds and many other nuts are also good sources of fiber, minerals, and protective phyto-chemicals, similar to the ones in tea and some vegetables. I love my nuts raw and unprocessed. I don’t eat nuts that have added oils, salt, sugar or anything. Read labels. I often snack on nuts after a long joggle.

If you’re afraid that eating nuts will cause weight gain, do not worry. I eat tons of nuts almost every day; if you’ve been pecan at my photos, you know I’m not exactly obese. Still not convinced?

According to Fitwatch.com, eating nuts regularly can help you lose weight by speeding up your metabolism – Why Eating Nuts Can Help You Lose Weight

Fiber, always your friend, helps prevent the fat from getting absorbed. I think nuts are a great way to replace meat and dairy in your diet. People who eat a lot of nuts are generally slimmer, on average than those who eat the least. Nut butters make a great snack and are good for making sandwiches. Peanut butter is one of my favorites, though technically, peanuts are a legume.

I totally love nuts. When people call me a “nut”, I take it as a compliment. So go nuts with nuts, and try to violate the laws of physics with your fitness routine!

Old Man Winter versus the Joggler part II

Old Man Winter did not want me or anyone out there yesterday in his snowstorm. As time went by, the wind he threw at me became angrier, and my hands became colder and wetter, as if joggling in the snow was the ultimate act of defiance. In spite of all this I refused to concede defeat, and managed to joggle straight for an hour, even making good time, as if it was a sunny 50 F(10 C) degree day. I even managed to do my usual route along the Bronx river.

This is unlike the last time I joggled in a snowstorm for around 20 minutes(and ran and power-walked for another 30 minutes) running into stores to take shelter every now and then. Yesterday was the real thing.

Due to my feet and hands becoming very cold and wet, I definitely need better winter clothing. I dropped the balls many times due to the wind and my cold hands feeling like they were going to fall off, even though I had gloves on. There was almost no other soul out there. Luckily there was little snow accumulation, since it was about 35 F(1.6 C). I almost slipped a few times, but always managed to quickly correct my footing. If the temperature had been below freezing, I probably wouldn’t have been out there for an hour.

This was one of my most humbling joggling experiences. It felt fantastic upon completion; it was such a relief to get home, to finally warm up and dry off. I do not recommend joggling in snowstorms, unless you have a lot of experience hiking or playing sports in the snow. Just because I can sort of do it, doesn’t mean you should. 

 

Vitamin D may improve athletic performance

It may not be the cold air or Old Man Winter’s roar that keeps even seasoned athletes indoors during the winter. According to the scientific literature, vitamin D may improve athletic performance, but only in athletes who are deficient in vitamin D.

So who is most likely to be deficient in vitamin D? Since vitamin D is produced in the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight, it shouldn’t worry people who get at least some sun exposure throughout most of the year, unless they live north of 37 degrees latitude during the winter. The sun’s rays are too weak north of 37 degrees, and it’s even worse if your skin is dark, since melanin can block sunlight.

The elderly also have problems making vitamin D, even if they get sufficient sunlight. Vitamin D(a misnomer, it is actually a hormone) is necessary for calcium absorption, which helps build strong bones, and may also boost the immune system, among other things. Scientists have found links between vitamin D deficiency and certain forms of cancer, but a lot more research needs to be done.

Eating a healthy, varied diet can provide just about all the nutrients the average person needs, but hardly any foods contain sufficient quantities of vitamin D to meet new nutritional guidelines. Even multivitamins fall short of the new guidelines. So it looks like eating food fortified with vitamin D(like milk) or vitamin D supplements may be the answer, for those who live north of 37 degrees latitude from autumn to spring.

A rather interesting possible solution which doesn’t involve supplements is to get some mushrooms(button mushrooms, shiitake, and many other mushroom species, but do not pick any wild mushrooms unless you know what you are doing) and place them in the sun for a few hours. When exposed to sunlight, they will manufacture vitamin D, just like humans, in quantities that are as good as or even better than supplements. This is certainly a wild solution!

I take a 5,000 I.U vitamin D supplement about twice a week during the winter since I am in the north-east U.S. I don’t take them at all during the summer, since I get enough sunlight during that time of year. I take it twice a week since vitamin D is fat-soluble, which means it can be stored in the liver and fatty tissue, unlike water soluble nutrients like vitamin C, which are quickly removed from the body which is why you need to get it every day.

So if you’re an athlete or even if you’re not an athlete, and you feel sluggish and you live in the northern U.S, see if you can get your vitamin D levels checked by your doctor. Or, you can just eat more mushrooms that have been sun-bathed as suggested above if you suspect you’re deficient. Like many nutrients, Vitamin D can be toxic in large quantities, so be careful.

For my fellow vegetarians and vegans – vitamin D-3, also called “cholecalciferol” is not vegan since it is derived from animal sources. However, vitamin D-2, also called “ergocalciferol” is vegan since it comes from plant sources. The type of vitamin D that is in mushrooms is D-2/ergocalciferol.

Old Man Winter versus the Joggler

Too bad I can’t borrow the fur, feet and reflexes of this guy.

Winter will soon be upon us. This won’t be the first winter I’ve joggled in. I have no problem joggling in a snowstorm or snow, as long as it isn’t too deep, and already did so in an early recent snowstorm, even with heavy snow blowing in my face. It was a ton of fun, but it is also a lot more exhausting. Obviously, the snow blowing in my face temporarily blinded and disoriented me so that I was more likely to drop the balls(I was surprised by how little I dropped them though I didn’t do it for very long).

Normally I dread Old Man Winter, since he often makes the roads and trails I use for joggling almost impassible with snow and/or ice. But I really should see this more as an opportunity, however challenging the weather conditions might be. I realize I may not be able to joggle at all if there there is too much ice in my area. When it rains cats and dogs, I often “joggle” in place at home; while it may not be the real thing, at least I am still getting a good aerobic workout.

I will do the same thing if ice or blizzards make outside conditions too difficult for outdoor exercise. Again, I keep repeating to myself “opportunity”. Maybe I’ll learn new things about joggling due to the nasty weather. In a way, it is like a new winter sport, “Old Man Winter versus the Joggler”. I have to outsmart it. I may have to learn some new tricks, and will definitely have to dress the right way, to win this battle against the elements.

In the very least, the challenging conditions of the winter will help improve my fitness to the degree that when spring comes around, I may be almost unstoppable at races.