WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s Outdoor Recreation is proving that individuals don’t have to be a lumberjack to enjoy the fun and fitness that comes with the increasingly popular sport of log rolling.
The sport is growing from its roots in northern states like Minnesota and Wisconsin and is spreading throughout universities, recreation centers and military bases, according to Kaley Bartosik, Outdoor Recreation director. Bartosik decided to bring the sport to Wright-Patt after trying it herself at a director’s conference about a year and a half ago.
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s not only competitive with other people but as well as yourself to try to just improve each and every time,” Bartosik said. “It is a full body workout, so you’re not just using your legs on this — you really use your core to stabilize and balance on the log.”
Outdoor Recreation offers free log rolling classes twice a month 10 a.m. to noon Sundays during the winter months at the Dodge Gym pool on Area A. The classes start off with the basics of getting on the log, how to stand on it and then work on improving techniques for balancing while walking and running on it. Bartosik says new log rollers can be intimidated with it at first, but shouldn’t worry because it’s a sport that’s picked up fast.
“You kind of start at the very bottom of the totem pole. You can’t stand up for the first time but it does have a quick learning curve, so by the end of our usual two-hour sessions, they’re up on the log being able to compete against other people,” Bartosik said.
Far from the 500-pound cedar logs used decades ago, Wright-Patt’s 65-pound synthetic log is easily transportable and fills with about 50 gallons of water to reach its rolling weight of around 450 pounds. Special fins are added to the log to make it spin slightly less for beginners and a textured surface adds grip, though Bartosik recommends wearing shorts or long-pants over swimsuits to prevent possible “carpet burns” from sitting and moving on the log.
Bartosik says the sport is quite safe. Instructors hold the log to allow log rollers to climb up, maintain a 10-foot safe fall zone around the log and the natural physics of the log rolling in the water tends to push people away from the log when they lose their balance, preventing falling directly on the log. Bartosik said individuals don’t even have to be a good swimmer to participate.
“We do the log rolling in about five feet of water so most people can touch [bottom] at that distance,” Bartosik said, adding that instructors will move the log in a little shallower for younger people or those of shorter stature. “You don’t have to be a perfect swimmer or be able to do laps or anything to do this.”
Bartosik plans to add some small competitive events and provide more intermediate training in the future. For now, she encourages more of the Wright-Patterson community to come out and try this up-and-coming sport.
“Definitely give it a try. When I first started, I could barely stand up on it and now I can walk and run on it for three to four minutes,” Bartosik said. “Fifteen seconds feels like a lot when you’re on there, but it’s a lot of fun and it works your whole body. It’s a workout that doesn’t feel like a workout.”
For more information on log rolling or to schedule a team building event, contact Outdoor Recreation at 937-257-9889.