You need a baton

Being a cold creature I never had an interest in outdoor sport, either as a participant or spectator.  If I ever saw a ball come in my direction I ducked or ran in the opposite direction.

I did try indoor bowling at one stage, alas my bowls were drawn to the stick with a great magnetic force.  This action provided great laughter and fun for the other players in the first few weeks, but once the novelty wore off I felt duty bound to retire as I was rather a drag for any team.

At another stage I joined a local group for Aerobics, that too went by the wayside because I always ended up feeling out of breath, unwell and raw down through the inner tubes.  My most energetic exercise was while taking a very young Elly to primary school – We jogged, skipped or hopped the whole way (almost 2 miles) every morning.

While rebuilding a life on my own I joined a rambling club and it was ideal; exercise, fresh air and fellowship.  We had a planned programme produced twice a year and members were encouraged to plan and lead a walk.  The summer programme took us further afield and I enjoyed the opportunity of visiting places not generally open to the public.

I did lead a few winter walks in my general locality, and we finished with the whole group coming home with me for afternoon tea.  I did try going back to the group, but alas I found my heart or legs objected and I would have to return to the car early.  Someone always insisted on returning with me and I felt guilty because they were out there for the walk and not to play nursemaid to me.  So I gave the rambling a miss.

In the past couple of years I have devised my own way to exercise… and NO, it does not involve Toyboys!  I play my music, which varies to the time of day and my mood.  While happily listening I give a very good impression of Daniel Barenboim.  It always seemed to improve my mood and bring a smile to my face.  It was only the other day that I discovered why.

I was taking part in a sport without realising it.  I was actually doing what my Granny taught us to do many a long year ago.  We would follow her in single file around the garden singing at the top of our voices and waving our arms.

I was actually J’ARMing.

So what exactly is J’ARMing, you may ask. In a nutshell, J’ARMing is short for (j)ogging with the (arm)s—the sweeping motion orchestra conductors make with their arms as they lead the musicians. Conductors have known about the benefits of their baton-waving arm movements for years, and they live…and live…and live to prove it. In fact, great symphony orchestra conductors live, on average, five years longer than the general population. They are healthier in both mind and body than others their age.

Several years ago, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company published its findings of a longevity study of conductors. In examining 437 active and former conductors, researchers reported that mortality among conductors was 38 percent below their contemporaries in the general population. How’s that for some incentive to J’ARM?

Fortunately, there is a bit of a conductor inside each of us; we just need to re-tap our childhood memories and actions. Think back to your childhood for a moment. Many of us marched around our parents’ living room pretending to lead a marching band or a large orchestra. We would hoist our arms high in the air and march around to the music, or dance with all limbs—arms and legs.

So go on give it a try it will:

Improved posture
Muscle strength and flexibility
Improved blood circulation
Better balance Weight loss
A gentle shoulder and back massage
Reduction of your physiological and mental ages
A positive attitude and readiness for laughter
A “wash” for your brain that removes annoying distractions and makes you smarter
Higher self-esteem
Elevation of endorphins and other feel-good brain chemicals
For stroke patients, it may help re-connect some of the injured neural pathways

13 thoughts on “You need a baton

  1. whoopsadaisy

    I know someone who does this, usually when alone though 🙂
    Do you think dancing in the kitchen counts? Or half dancing while washing the dishes 😆 It’s good fun exercise that doesn’t really feel like exercise!

  2. Nick

    That’s astonishing. The decreased mortality rate among conductors is quite dramatic. I must start working some regular arm-waving into my daily routine. I’ll pretend I’m conducting some famous orchestra. Or waving at all my devoted subjects.

  3. Grannymar Post author

    @Whoopsadaisy – Dancing in the kitchen was a well known entertainment going back the centuries! Washing dishes while dancing or singing is good exercise with the bonus of no gym fees! 😀

    @Nick – Devoted subject waves back! 😀 With this sport you can be anyone you wish… just move the ornaments to a safe distance!

  4. Ian

    A mortality rate 38% below the general population? Does that mean 38% of them don’t die? For goodness sake, don’t take out a pension with the company that pays theirs, it must be broke from paying the ones who should have been dead years ago!

  5. Magpie11

    Don’t forget that the music is an essential part of the whole thing.

    It also works for the minimalist conductor who doesn’t wave his/her arms vigorously…..there’s a thought.

    I don’t participate. but I wonder if air guitarists benefit in a similar way?

  6. rummuser

    Grannymar, I had given my favourite exercise in many questionnaires as the most popular form of exercise known to mankind ever- elbow exercise. Has served me well so far!

  7. Grannymar Post author

    @Steph – Whatever turns you on! 🙄

    @Ian – I think they mean 38% lived 5 years longer than .the general population.

    @Magpie – I must ask George about the air guitarists.

    @Ramana – In this neck of the woods, elbow exercise or elbow grease usually means hard physical work…. but to the guys lifting an elbow often involves lifting a glass of the black stuff!

  8. wisewebwoman

    I have these little weights in Newfoundland but forgot to pack them, I did some wavy exercises with them which were highly beneficial (a combo of tai chi and downright silly). I haven’t been doing them here and my body suffers as a result. Thanks for the reminder, I had read of these conductors, in some cases they said a 20% increase in longevity, ditto for string players in orchestras – and they are seated.
    There’s a lot to be learned. Every day.

  9. Grannymar Post author


    I use a couple of cans from my store cupboard for weights when I have nothing else!

  10. rummuser

    Yes, Grannymar I meant the latter. Not for the black stuff the last almost decade but other more suitable to my temper stuff and lots of solids too.


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