Juggling helps seniors stay fit

  • By Gale Fiege Herald Writer
  • Monday, June 23, 2014 1:49pm
  • LifeEdmonds

Randy Engel is making a name for himself by teaching older folks how to juggle.

The retired professor of organic chemistry is a regular instructor at Edmonds Senior Center.

Engel, 68, was faced years ago with the possibility of falling victim to a debilitating disease. The prospect prompted him to start exercising.

It worked. He got better.

A teacher by nature, Engel was then inspired to earn his certification as a personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise.

As part of that training, he found out about the mental and physical benefits of learning to juggle, particularly for seniors.

Engel took on that challenge, as well, believing in the adage that people should never leave the playground.

Juggling fits right in with that philosophy, he said.

“It’s a fun, relaxing activity that helps with your coordination, your balance and so much more,” Engel said. “I’ve been delighted at the reception for this class. It’s so much fun for me, too.”

His class is geared for those who have no circus experience.

Juggling starts out slow and steady, with students bouncing beach balls back and forth to each other.

People who participate can expect to see improved flexibility, greater upper body strength, reduced anxiety, improved memory and concentration. And they get a nice little cardio workout to boot.

Liz Windgate, 72, of Edmonds is the former web developer for the senior center. She had a car accident several years ago that affected her balance.

“If you can fix your brain, you can do anything,” Windgate said. “Juggling is much more challenging than a lot of other exercises for seniors.”

On Tuesday, Windgate had a great time.

“I have to overcome my fear of letting go of the ball,” Windgate said with a laugh.

Her partner for the morning, John Williams, 73, also of Edmonds, said he had tried juggling when he was young.

“This is great. I really have to concentrate,” said Williams, a retired data processor. “The key is to latch onto the rhythm.”

“It doesn’t look like much, but juggling is actually a pretty good aerobic exercise, too.”

Christina Horst drove up from Seattle on her 89th birthday Tuesday to participate.

“I’ll try just about anything,” Horst said.

That’s what Engel likes to hear.

“I know I will be juggling for the rest of my life,” he said.

Learn to juggle

The current juggling class meets at 10 a.m. Thursdays, through July 3 at the Edmonds Senior Center, 220 Railroad Ave. Cost is $5 a class. Drop-ins are welcome.

For more information, call 425-774-5555 or go to www.edmondssc.org.

To learn more about Randy Engel and juggling, go to www.jugglingdogfitness.com.

More in Life

This beefy ex-cop has a delicate hobby: intricate paper-cut art

You can see Tom Sacco’s creations at the upcoming Everett Art Walk.

Slow-roasted vegetables make sumptuous sauce for pasta

Make the basic but good spaghetti with red sauce blissfully better with this recipe.

Mocking meatloaf: One man’s loaf is another man’s poison

Some don’t like it and some do. Here are six meatloaf recipes to try.

Roasted Brussels sprouts can be the apple of picky eater’s eye

Toasted sesame seeds and diced apple add flavors that compliment the sprouts’ earthiness.

Arlington eagle fest wants your nature-themed artwork, haiku

Local residents of an artistic bent are invited to submit… Continue reading

Dylan Farrow says she wants to bring down Woody Allen

The 32-year-old said in an upcoming interview that she is telling the truth about him abusing her.

Kendrick Lamar, Sam Smith and U2 added to Grammys performance roster

Also unveiled is a performance by pop star Miley Cyrus and superstar piano-rocker Elton John.

Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman listens to a guide at the Sci-Tech Complex in Pyongyang, North Korea, last summer. Rodman was arrested Saturday on suspicion of DUI in Southern California. (Kim Kwang Hyon / Associated Press file)
Rodman checks into rehab after DUI arrest

His agent says he’s dealing with his longtime struggle with alcoholism.

Hau Tran sings as Vietnamese seniors eat at Homage’s Center for Healthy Living on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 in Lynnwood, Wa. Each weekday the center offers its room for various cultures to get together for activities and lunch while speaking their native languages. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Seniors of four cultures gather for food, fitness and fun

Homage’s Center for Healthy Living offers a venue for programs in the seniors’ native languages.

Most Read