As a kid, you rocked a hula hoop just for kicks. These brightly colored rings have adult appeal, however, especially if the years have also brought a few unwanted pounds. A study by the American Council on Exercise found that a 30-minute session of hooping can burn 210 calories, which can contribute to weight loss. Dust off that hula hoop, clear a space and have some nostalgic fun while whittling away a few inches.
1. Benefits of Hooping
Most physical movement begins in your core or powerhouse. Using the hula hoop engages your body’s power center, effectively working more than 30 muscles in your core, according to the website HulaHooping. As you are hula hooping, you're improving the strength of your entire mid-section, including your back and obliques. Hooping moves target transverse abdominal muscles located deep within the torso for a strong core. Hooping is also a full-body workout since it tones and shapes your abs, hips and buns while combining movement and balance from your arms and legs. All that cardio translates to increased heart rate and improved weight management benefits. American Council on Exercise research ranks hooping up there with kickboxing and boot camp for cardio benefits.
2. Choose the Right Hoop
After you've given yourself permission to hoop for fitness, you need to find the right hoop. Adult hoops are larger and weigh more than the plastic hoops you used as a girl. Exercise hoops range from 36 to 43 inches in diameter and weigh between 3 and 5 pounds. Keep in mind that these heavier hoops can leave bruises, so you may want to start with a hoop in the 1.5- to 2-pound range. You'll want to choose a smaller sized hoop, if you're going to be hooping primarily indoors and a larger hoop for outdoor sessions where you'll have more room. You may even consider a collapsible hoop for easy transport.
3. Hula Hooping Basics
Hula hooping burns calories and tones your muscles from the momentum your body creates keeping the hoop in motion. Movement can start in your hips or core. Once you determine which works best for you, you need to consider if you can generate adequate momentum from side to side or backward and forward motion. According to Hooping.org, attempting to move your entire body in a circle isn’t how you hula hoop effectively. You must stabilize and isolate the momentum and movement. Stabilize your fee, then put one foot in front of the other and shift your weight backward and forward from one foot to the other. The push-pull motion will be emanating from your core. Some people, however, find that shifting their weight from side to side works better. If you choose the side to side stance, stabilize your feet a bit further than shoulder-width apart.
4. Take Time to Lose Inches
Give yourself a pat on the back for wanting to diversify your exercise routine. Still, it’s not enough to have an intention of losing weight with hula hooping, you’ve got to actually set aside times throughout the week, you’re actually going to do it. Start with 30 minutes at a time, three days per week for four weeks to lose 3 to 6 inches, according to the website of Health magazine. If 30 minutes is a bit much for you in the beginning, MayoClinic.com says that 10 minutes with a weighted hoop can be enough to achieve fitness benefits. If you need support with fitting your your hula hooping workouts into your schedule, search online for hooping classes or meet-up groups, then hop to it.
5. Let Loose
The act of hula hooping is a practice of letting go of your inhibitions. Many women are insecure about moving their hips, but it’s a natural way to embrace your femininity while burning calories. Learning to hoop begins in your mind. If your mental attitude is stiff, your body will be also and you won't be able to keep the hoop moving. Think of hooping as a way to stimulate neurological pathways as well as your self confidence. The more comfortable and confident you feel as you hoop, the more intense your workout will be, which means more calories burned. Give yourself permission to let go, relax and have some hooping fun.
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