Hula Hooping for Health

Hula hooping was one of my favorite things to do as a young girl. My sisters and I had a large hoop and a small one, and we wore those things out! All it took to learn how was a little practice, and a lot of patience. The thought of it being good exercise never entered our minds. It was fun, that’s why we did it.

The hula hoop is back, and in a big way. Hoop dance classes are springing up all over the United States, and it’s catching on like wildfire. Many of the stars are hooping and taking classes to learn the newest fitness craze. Rumor has it that this is how Beyonce keeps her famous rear view in shape.

When I read the first article about it, I immediately got on-line and ordered one.

This hula hoop is specifically made for this type of workout. Larger in diameter than the normal hoop, it is wrapped with a special rubber-like material that adheres to natural fabrics, or skin, therefore making it easier to keep the hoop in place. It is slightly weighted, only about 1.5 lbs, but enough to make it more substantial than the old hula hoops. Mine is the signature pink and gold, and it glows in the dark.

I was like a kid at Christmas when my hoop arrived. It came in five sections, for easy carrying and travel. I quickly hooked it together and gave it a sling around my waist. It had been a while. It almost immediately fell to my feet. Had I lost all that skill I once possessed?

I popped in the DVD that came with it, and started viewing the instructions. Apparently we have certain pressure points in our abdomen and back that will push the hoop off the waist and around it, keeping it going with minimal motion. One thing is for sure, the entire truck of the body gets a workout as you concentrate on holding in the abs and lifting up on the ribcage. It is a mind, body, floor experience. It starts on the body, you engage the mind, and it eventually falls to the floor, despite all of your efforts to engage the pressure or push-off points.

All of the muscles of the trunk of the body are engaged, giving the abs a superb workout. Talk about trimming away the inches around the mid-section, this will do it!

I learned that I am a left hooper, meaning that I always start the hoop to the left. I learned that by putting my right foot forward and engaging my abs, I can keep that hoop going for quite some time. Whew! It really gets my heart rate up!

I also learned that when you begin to incorporate the grapevines, side steps, and 360 degree turns, that the living room probably isn’t the best place to be hooping. I should have put away the breakables before attempting any gyration of my hips. What the hoop isn’t doing is replacing the broken lids off my candy jars. Maybe that’s a good thing!

The DVD teaches you how to hoop on your waist and hips. You learn how to dance as you hula. Passing the hoop over my body and over my head, I attempt to learn how to do halos. I have to wait until I can go outside to master that skill. I could take my hoop to the gym, but I’m not ready to be hee-hawed at just yet. Before I debut my hooping skills, I want to have mastered it enough to let people know that they can do it too.

What is the big appeal of Hoop dancing? It’s like being a kid again. I get to play with a favorite childhood toy, and the movement is helping my heart, abs, hips. I must admit that it is a bit sexy, too. There are even special outfits you can wear while hooping. They remind me of belly dance clothes. On second thought, I don’t really need those, my belly dances all by itself.

It truly is a fun, safe (at least for your body, if not your room), workout that anyone, any age can do.

Give it a whirl.