Tag Archives: yonkers

The benefits of upper body cardio

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for many years, or secretly invented a drug that provides the benefits of exercise without actually exercising, we all know we have to exercise. The real question when it comes to exercise is “how?”.

IMG_0625

When most people think of cardio, they think of exercises that primarily use the legs: walking, running, and cycling. Even many otherwise fit people often neglect to do endurance work on their arms if their favorite cardio exercise is a leg exercise.

A cardio workout that includes both the arms and legs may be more beneficial than a workout that exercises either alone – Aerobic exercise training programs for the upper body. In fact, arm cardio all by itself has some interesting benefits: Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1988 Apr;20(2):136-41 – “Effect of arm training on central and peripheral circulatory function.”

The data suggest that endurance arm training as prescribed in this study elicits significant circulorespiratory function adaptations to support improved performance in both arm and leg work. Further, the findings suggest both a specific and general training effect, with the more dominant effect specific to arm work

This is pretty remarkable. So doing arm cardio can benefit the entire body, including the legs, not just the arms.

This raises an important question, and this is especially important for jogglers – Are the arms and legs in competition for cardiac output? Luckily, some scientists at the The Copenhagen Muscle Research Center, have already tried to answer this:

Oxygen transport to working skeletal muscles is challenged during whole-body exercise. In general, arm-cranking exercise elicits a maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) corresponding to approximately 70% of the value reached during leg exercise. However, in arm-trained subjects such as rowers, cross-country skiers, and swimmers, the arm VO2max approaches or surpasses the leg value. Despite this similarity between arm and leg VO2max, when arm exercise is added to leg exercise, VO2max is not markedly elevated, which suggests a central or cardiac limitation. In fact, when intense arm exercise is added to leg exercise, leg blood flow at a given work rate is approximately 10% less than during leg exercise alone. Similarly, when intense leg exercise is added to arm exercise, arm blood flow and muscle oxygenation are reduced by approximately 10%. Such reductions in regional blood flow are mainly attributed to peripheral vasoconstriction induced by the arterial baroreflex to support the prevailing blood pressure. This putative mechanism is also demonstrated when the ability to increase cardiac output is compromised; during exercise, the prevailing blood pressure is established primarily by an increase in cardiac output, but if the contribution of the cardiac output is not sufficient to maintain the preset blood pressure, the arterial baroreflex increases peripheral resistance by augmenting sympathetic activity and restricting blood flow to working skeletal muscles.

(Emphasis is mine)

Leg blood flow 10% less during arm/leg exercise, than leg exercise alone? This is significant, and I must admit that when I joggle it certainly feels like this sometimes. But then at the same time, don’t forget the general fitness benefit from arm cardio suggested by the first study. So it may be 10% less than a higher blood output rate than if I were only running. In other words, a higher fitness level that is the result of leg/arm combination cardio is being compromised than a lower fitness level that is the result of mostly leg cardio. And don’t forget that unless you’re joggling with 3 heavy balls(or 4 or more light balls), juggling isn’t as intense as rowing, so it may be a lot less than 10%.

So if for whatever reason you can’t run or walk long distances, juggling by itself can also provide aerobic benefits. Also, if you joggle, or you are considering joggling, your leg speed may be slightly compromised, but it’s not really a big deal and the juggling may be making you fitter than if you were just a runner.

Joggling is a winter sport

winterjoggling

Some people said it couldn’t be done, but everyone must know that joggling can be done during the winter, even with snow on the ground. Happy Thursday everyone!

Weirdest joggling experiences of 2012

One of the best things about joggling is all the weird things that happen to you while you joggle, largely due to all the bizarre things people say to you as you pass by. It really is an exercise journey into the Bizarro World.

While most people who say anything say “that’s so cool!” or “that’s amazing!”, there’s a good number of jokers and weirdos out there who can’t resist making sarcastic comments. I’ve even received a few threats(“who the %$#^ you think you are!!”, “get the $%^& outa here!” type of threats) from some gang-banger types, but that was back when I would foolishly joggle through these run-down, crime-ridden areas.
Screenshot-vjoggle1-1

Anyhow, among the more amusing remarks from last year were from this old guy saying “you can only juggle 3? just 3? come on!”. I did manage to respond that I was working on 4, and asked if that was good enough, to which I think he said “great”(I was going too fast to say much of anything).

I’ve also received a bunch of “I wish I could do that”, as well as a few “I wish I was you!”. I often just respond, “thank you!” or “you can do it too, it just takes practice”.

By far the most bizarre was a few months ago when I had to slow down at this busy intersection, and this young woman I had never seen before comes up to me and tells me “I love you, I really really do”. I didn’t say anything because this was so totally unexpected, and I was trying to catch my breath and darted off as soon as I was able to cross the street. And she started shouting at me again, “I really do!”. Of course I don’t believe she does and this may be her own weird way of expressing admiration.

A few people around here really seem to get it. If I am going slow enough or taking a break, some people will praise me(I’ll tell them I don’t deserve the praise) and start a conversation about how juggling is good for the brain so juggling while running is such a great exercise. I will usually try to encourage them to do it too, but they will say it is impossible for them. Some claim it is impossible for them to juggle even while standing still. But it is just a matter of practice I will say, before parting ways.

Oh how could I forget the man who asked me as I joggled by – “can you chew gum while doing that?”.

What goes through the mind of a joggler?

Besides how cool and awesome it is to joggle?

Contrary to what many might think, it doesn’t require deep concentration. The experience is somewhat meditative, but not really all that different from what goes through the mind of a runner. The juggling is almost totally automatic, although I may have to correct myself every now and then if my mind wanders or becomes distracted. Or if I am changing speed or doing tricks.

Rhythm is everything in joggling. The running is what sets the rhythm and the juggling follows it. It is almost like making music; I often have glorious music playing in my head(I never listen to recorded music while running), music which roughly fits the rhythm of my joggling. Sometimes I even hum or sing a little to give a melody to the rhythm. I rarely focus on the rhythm as closely as I used to. It’s there, but I only have to pay attention to it when I need to make adjustments. Beginners need to pay much closer attention.

Being one of the few people in the country who regularly joggles(there are none in my immediate area) adds a certain mystique to the activity, both for me and onlookers. Like I am just that much closer to unlocking the secrets of the universe. It is running meets esoterica, the next stage in evolution for running and fitness. Above all, it’s hard to not feel special while doing it.

But at the same time, I often feel it is rather mundane – it is just a type of exercise, that’s all. I’m just running with a little something added, it’s not like I am saving the world. It’s just that I am better coordinated than most, although to what degree this is genetic rather than due to training is difficult to figure out.

Joggling seems to makes life’s problems much smaller, much more so than mere running. It shrinks an angry elephant to the size of a mite. I believe it is the “joggler’s high” which accomplishes this. It adds magic to running, and beauty and stimulates parts of the mind that I didn’t know exist.

All this, from running with a little something added.

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. 

 

Fantastic time joggling along Croton Trail and Lyndhurst

I had a great time joggling along the Croton Aqueduct trail to Lyndhurst. It was perfect joggling weather. This trail follows the path of a now defunct aqueduct that once provided water to New York City. It zigzags through much of western Westchester county, through several historic villages. Some stretches of it are densely wooded, and many houses along the trail are quite grand and architecturally significant. In some spots, you can get spectacular views of the Hudson. It is often crowded with lots of runners, cyclists, walkers and bird-watchers in calm weather. You may encounter deer along some parts of the trail.

Luckily, hurricane Sandy didn’t destroy a lot trees along the trail. The trail mostly runs on top of the old aqueduct, and so you can almost never see it. You can even go under the aqueduct it in a few places, but be careful.

It’s large alright, but it’s not Downtown Abbey(Highclere Castle)

It runs through Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, villages made famous by Washington Irving’s novels(it also runs through Dobbs Ferry, Hastings-On-Hudson and Yonkers). The Lyndhurst castle is the most important historical mansion along the trail.