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830,080 Jumping Jacks on the way to a million
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John Kozlowski
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Published a year ago

Because I am “slightly” older than my wife I made a promise to do what I can to live to be 90. Since both of my parents made it to 89, it seemed a real possibility. However, the typical American diet and lifestyle does not lend itself to longevity. I did try things like pushups and dumbbells, but it was not something I would keep up. However, aggressive long distance walking became a focus in my life in my late 50s and today at 67 would beat 90+% of young walkers in a 5K or half-marathon. So an eleven mile round trip hike up a mountain is just normal.

But what do you do when it is cold and rainy outside? I tried jumping jacks and found it was something I would maintain. So I set myself a goal to start on my 65th birthday to do a million jumping jacks by the time I was 70, which meant about 560 a day. Half a year into it I was starting my morning with 512 continuous jumping jacks, so it was clear I needed to move up my goal. For about 2 years I have done at least 1,024 jumping jacks a day. Occasionally I have done 1,024 continuous, and very rarely 2,048. That is nuts!

Yes, my form is not perfect, but I do them. They are often very less than perfect when I do them on the top of mountains, such as Big Frog or Buzzard Point.

On this particular trip we did a 5.5 mile hike from a parking lot to the top of the mountain, which was also a half mile up. At the top I did 128 jumping jacks, which was videoed. Then we did the 5.5 mile return. Obviously when we got to the parking lot I did another 128 jumping jacks, like a normal sane man would do (maybe?).

For reference, the counts are always 2 to the nth power as I am a software guy and binary things gets into your blood.

It is my hope that on December 8, 2023, my wife’s birthday, to again be at the top of Big Frog Mountain and do my millionth jumping jack. Considering how I felt the day after this hike, it seems like a very real possibility.

The bottom line to couch potatoes or those who think they can’t for whatever reason, let me encourage you to try. Set a goal for something that you will do, commit to doing it, and then live your commitment! I am a pathetic running, uncoordinated, and not very strong, but I can walk long and fast. Don’t look at what you are pathetic at, but what you can do and do well. Then do it!

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