Author: Paula Scott
Using hula hoops for exercise is becoming all the rage for three reasons – the hoops are cheap, you burn calories and it’s fun!
As a form of aerobic activity, the hula hoop can help firm, tone and burn body fat. The hoops used aren’t the standard toys you played with as a child; instead, these large, customized hoops are weighted especially for the activity.
There is only1hula hoop exercise you need to do. Simply twirl it around your waist (insert how to link from part 2 here). You don’t need to get fancy or anything. That’s it!
Hooping is good for the body, mind and spirit:
Gets your heart rate up Promotes laughter
Burns fat Helps overcome shyness
Increases your overall fitness level Promotes happiness
Increases energy level Focuses the mind
Helps with weight loss Encourages creativity
Burns calories Boosts self-esteem
Improves core strength
Strengthens torso muscles
Improves motor skills
The Hoop may be one of the best and cheapest exercise pieces you ever buy!
The key is to put one foot in front of the other instead of standing with your feet side-by-side. Start with the hoop against your back at your waist. Give it a gentle push to start the rotation around your waist and shift your weight back and forth between your front and back foot to keep the hula hoop moving. Don’t move your hips in a circle to keep it rotating because the opposite will happen. As you shift your weight back and forth, your hips make more of a rocking motion than a circular movement. Keeping the hoop twirling around your waist is the most important of the hula hoop exercises. In fact, if you’re strictly using the hula hoop for exercise and don’t have a lot of time, this is the only exercise that’s needed. It can be used anywhere and your waistline will really show improvement as the unwanted fat burns off the midriff and the stomach muscles tighten.
To use the hula hoop to tone muscles in the arms, extend your arm to the side and roll the hoop around your arm in a circular motion. The idea is to keep the hoop moving around your arm. This exertion works to firm and melt body fat.
You can do a similar exercise for the legs. To avoid losing your balance, lie on your back to work the legs. With one leg perpendicular to the floor, or at a slight angle, start the hoop spinning around your extended leg and keep it spinning for one to two minutes.
Stand in a standard position, but instead of spinning the hoop around your waist; work it around your hips. However, the standard around-the-waist position will help with your hips, too.
Join a hooping club to get more from exercise with a hoop. If you find yourself enjoying hooping and want to take it to the next level, there’s nothing like a guided workout. Many routines teach you to dance with the hoop for a full body workout.
To begin with, 2 minutes or less is probably all you’ll be able to do before you get tired. That’s fine. Your metabolism gets much more of a boost doing short mini-workouts throughout the day.
Have I got you convinced now to try HOOPING? It will be a fun way to sneak some physical activity into your kids’ summer days or laugh and make memories at a family reunion!
Paula Scott is a Utah State University Extension associate professor. She is the state director of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). Paula is a master’s graduate of Utah State University. She has worked in food and nutrition positions for approximately 20 years focusing on educating people in the community. Paula co-authored a national nutrition education curriculum for nutrition paraprofessionals. She is a Certified Family Home and Consumer Scientist, with experience in food and basic nutrition, and has always been interested in exercise and fitness, promoting the importance of nutrition and physical activity.
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