Let’s Roll

It is described by many as a historic sport for modern times. But the Westerville Parks and Recreation Department sees log rolling as a competitive way to have a lot of fun too. This spring, the department is offering a new course on log rolling.

You may be asking: “What in the world is log rolling?” 

Log rolling has a history that dates back more than 100 years. As America was growing, the need for lumber grew as well. Lumberjacks transported logs down local waterways and frequently jumped from log to log on the rivers to keep wood moving downstream. The challenge and skill developed from rolling logs quickly turned into a sport outside the work day.

The popular sport in Wisconsin and Minnesota has transformed in recent years to become more accessible and user-friendly. At one point, 500-pound cedar logs were smoothed out and carpeted to be gentler on feet. However, this didn’t solve the issue of transporting a very heavy log. A synthetic log was later developed by the company, Key Log Rolling. This new type of log weighs only 65 pounds before it is put into water, making it much more mobile.

With the addition of a key log, the Westerville Parks and Recreation Department is one of the first to offer log-rolling courses in central Ohio. 

The man behind this new class is Parks and Recreation Program Supervisor Darcy Baxter. 

“We’re always looking to bring new adventure programs to the Community Center,” said Baxter. “I was at the Ohio State Fair last year, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources had this cool log-rolling exhibit. I had never seen the sport in person before, and a light bulb went off…our camp kids would love this.” 

And so far the Parks and Recreation employees training on the log are loving it as well. 

“You might be a little nervous the first time you get on the log, but you have to be able to laugh at yourself,” said Parks and Recreation Facilities Supervisor J.R. Fourqurean. “I fell off within two seconds of jumping on the first time. Now that we are all getting better, we are battling it out on our lunch breaks to see who is the best lumberjack. It really brings out the competitor in you in the best way possible.” 

Employees Trying Log Roll Edited for blog 2

Beyond the fun factor, log rolling proves to be a well-rounded workout, improving balance, coordination, endurance and foot speed. 

“Since you are having a good time, the physical fitness aspect of log rolling sneaks up; and you end up getting a really good workout. Your legs are constantly moving while your core is stabilizing the rest of your body,” explained Baxter. 

Log rolling also strengthens mental focus and concentration. 

“You might think you just jump on the log and go. But, just like any other sport, log rolling takes specific techniques and strategies to be successful,” said Baxter. “For example, unlike a balance beam, you don’t look down at your feet and instead focus on the opposite end of the log. 

The four-week course starting April 12 is intended to teach beginners the basics, including safety, stance, timed trials and even some matches to try to knock other class participants off the log. To make it easier to learn, the log comes with different “training wheels,” which slow the log down so anyone can give it a spin.

Earlier this winter, ABC-6 Good Day Columbus Meteorologist Dana Turtle escaped the cold and tested his log-rolling skills at the Westerville Community Center pool. Check out his experience in this video.

Dana Edited for Blog 2

The log roll will be utilized at camps, community events and Highlands Parks Aquatic Center in the future. You’ll even get the chance to see the log roll in action at Party at the Creek on May 28.

For more information on log-rolling classes or to register beginning March 6, click here.



Healthy Active Lifestyle

Energize the Holiday Season

The Holidays: shopping, parties, cleaning, baking, decorating…the list goes on. You may feel run down or left with little time to devote to yourself this time of year. Megan Arnold, Westerville Parks and Recreation’s Fitness and Wellness Program Supervisor, is here with a quick workout and a few other tips to help keep you going strong and healthy the next couple of weeks.

Megan recommends a 30-minute format of High Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT) workout that’s easy to squeeze in before work or before the kids wake up and life takes over. With interval training, you focus on bursts (or periods) of intense work followed by complete rest or active recovery exercise. This kind of routine will give you a metabolism-boosting, energy-expending workout that will help burn off those Christmas cookies.

All exercises should be modified to your ability level, taking into account your fitness level, the time you have to exercise and personal goals. The workout below requires no extra equipment – just you, some space and some effort.

(The exercise provided in this article is for educational purposes only. Exercise is not without risk and if performed incorrectly this or any exercise program many result in injury. To reduce the risk of injury, before beginning this or any exercise program, consult your physician. As with any exercise program, if you feel faint, dizzy, or experience chest pain or chest discomfort STOP immediately and contact your physician. The City of Westerville assumes no responsibility for accidents or injury to persons or property that result in connection with this exercise program.)

If you are new to exercise, Megan recommends lower impact exercises (keeping one foot in contact with the floor at all times to better protect the lower back and joints.) Lower impact and intensity modifications are provided in parenthesis below. If you are more advanced, allow both feet to leave the floor when jumping for an increase in intensity. It is always important to listen to your body when exercising and take breaks accordingly. Perform all exercises with correct form. If you are unable to do so, reduce your workout intensity or take a short rest. When lunging or squatting, protect your knees by pushing your hips back and down and keep your knees behind your toes. And always remember to breathe!


Warm-up for two to three minutes by walking/marching/or jogging in place.

*Click on the exercise for more information on proper form and demonstration.*

1. 15 Jumping Jacks and 15 Squat Jumps (or Squats)

IMG_4765    DSCF0815

Rest 30 Seconds

2. 15 Tuck Jumps (or High Knees) and 15 Push-Ups (or Modified Push-Ups)

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Rest 30 Seconds

3. 15 Mountain Climbers (or Bench/Wall Mountain Climbers) and 15 Tricep Dips using a bench/chair/coffee table

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Rest 30 Seconds

4.  15 Jump and Reaches and 15 Glute Bridges

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Rest 30 seconds

5. 15 Prone (face-down) Supermans and 15 Switch Lunge Jumps (or Alternating Forward Lunges – No Jumping)

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Rest 30 Seconds

Repeat the entire series one to two more times, continuing to the perform the same amount of repetitions and breaks noted.

Holiday Dance Party 2014 for fb 2Make sure to cool-down by walking/marching in place for an additional two to three minutes (similar to the warm-up). Add in some mild stretching following the cool-down to minimize muscle soreness.

It can be helpful to have a workout buddy. If you need a little extra motivation and a good stress reliever, join us for our Holiday Dance Party fundraiser benefiting W.A.R.M. Sunday, December 21 at 2 p.m. in Community Center Aerobic Room. And don’t forget, the new year is right around the corner and you still have a chance to register for upcoming fitness classes.


Never go shopping without snacks.
Take a small bag of whole nuts, an apple, banana, or shaker with protein powder to keep your blood sugar stable while your body works hard running from store to store. If you go shopping without a plan, it is easier to become exhausted, hungry and make poor (and quick) food choices. Bring plenty of water, as dehydration can also make you feel hot and tired.

Have a holiday party strategy.
When you finally head to those holiday parties, don’t forget to eat beforehand and bring your own healthy option to fall back. Try using smaller plates and wait before heading back for seconds to curb overeating. Remember, it is okay to say no to Aunt Mary’s pumpkin pie too!

And lastly, don’t skimp on sleep.
There’s no doubt you might be up late wrapping presents before the big holiday, but on other nights try your best to get the amount of sleep you need. Research suggests getting enough Zzzs can help keep the pounds off, not to mention give you more energy throughout the day. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try turning off electronics in the bedroom or avoid large meals late at night.

Healthy Active Lifestyle