You will be surprised to discover that Hula Hooping is not just a fad that started in the 50′s or a phase you went through in childhood. As an activity, hooping actually dates back to the ancient Egyptian and Greek civilizations with records showing that people were already doing it in 500BC with hoops made out of grapevines, rattan and other hard grasses.
Can’t imagine that have been very comfortable or even easy to do but hey, you do what you can with what you’ve got!
Fast forward to the 21st Century and hula hoops have seen a resurgence in popularity because of the health benefits they bring to those who are brave enough to pick one up and have a go.
Modern hoops are larger and heavier than their ancestors thus rotating more slowly and requiring more calories to keep them going. This means that they can be very useful as part of any weight management program. Yay!
Most importantly, hooping is a gentle activity that doesn’t place the joints under strain and as such is safe for most people. It can be tricky to get going but once you have mastered the basics you can really let your imagination run wild and start to experiment with different tricks and techniques to test your co-ordination and timing. Play your favourite music in the background and you are all set for a truly exhilarating experience.
Of course you don’t have to just take my word for it. My claims that hula hooping is good for you are backed up by science! 😉
Buffled by the fact that some obese individuals managed to lose large amounts of weight doing nothing different other than playing with a hula hoop, scientists decided to explore this further and find out if there was a correlation between hooping and massive fat loss.
Recent research carried out at the University of Wisconsin showed that a good hula hooping session will help burn approximately 420 KCal per hour (!) comparing favourably with higher impact forms of exercise such as boot camps and cardio kickboxing thus making it a SMART Fitness choice!
Waist hooping alone will work all the major and minor core muscles as well as helping in the development of rhythm and co-ordination. Hooping will help you shrink your waist and also tone your thighs. When moving on to hand hooping and circus tricks you will be able to get a full body workout that is still gentle but awesome fun.
Because hooping is relaxing it will do wonders for keeping your stress at bay. As women get older and their hormone levels drop they lose their first line of defense against stress. Relaxing activities like hooping can help you restore the balance and create the best environment to promote fat loss.
What do I need to get the most out of my hooping?
The best hoop to get you started needs to be fairly heavy, 1 or 2 Kg is ideal. This is because a heavier hoop generates momentum and moves slowly therefore making hooping easier.
Try not to go for anything too fancy or too thick with knobs on the inside as they will limit your options when it comes to moving around or even practicing easy tricks. The hoop on the right is perfect, albeit a bit light for my taste for fitness and weight loss purposes.
According to Mary Pulak, the designer of the hula hooping workout used in the 2010 study, a heavier hoop “creates enough force to give a fantastic workout, but it’s not heavy enough to bruise your body”.
Because you need to keep your core tight to whip the weighted hoop around your waist, heavier hoops also work your abs more than their lightweight counterparts, she says.
In terms of size, the bigger and heavier the hoop, the easier it is to use because it gives you more time to react to the forward and backward hooping movements. The diameter of the right-sized hoop should be between the height of your waist and your breastbone.
I have a copy of the DVD with the workout used in the research study mentioned above. The actual workout will take a bit to learn as it involves a lot of moving around while you are waist hooping: you will be walking in all directions, moving your arms, squatting and lunging. If you are new to hooping these are all skills that will take some time to get just right before you can follow along with the workout. But that’s all part of the fun!
If you then decide to progress on to hoop dancing and circus tricks you will need a lighter, but still weighted, hoop. This is because you will spend a lot of time using your hoop with your hands, jumping in and out of it, flipping it in the air and catching it. I tried this with my fitness hoop and got bruised all over as a result. Then I bought a professional hoop and I was fine.
Among other benefits hula hooping is relaxing and is said to have meditative qualities and encourages you to keep on improving on your flexibility the moment you start jumping in and out of the hoop.
Depending on how far you go with the circus tricks, hooping can bring back the element of play into everyday life, it’s a mood enhancer and stimulates the 2nd chakra governing sexuality, creativity and emotions.
I used hooping successfully with many clients who hated the idea of doing cardio and although hooping won’t give you the same metabolic stimulus as a jolly good HIIT session it will still help you bring the energy expenditure towards the red.
You can tell who my clients are (or were) because they all have had a go at hooping at some point or another. Even some men tried it and enjoyed it…
Everyone can do it and I really cannot emphasize enough how enjoyable this form of exercise is. Lose yourself in your favourite spot outdoors and burn those calories!
What are you waiting for? Get hooping!
If you want my help in learning how to lose weight with hooping get in touch by booking your complimentary 30 minute call right now!