You probably remember hula hooping as a kid, or maybe your grandchildren have one they play with. Well, that “toy” is becoming an activity (exercise) that people of all ages use to get in shape and stay healthy. It has some amazing benefits for your adult body and is an inexpensive tool to add to your exercise equipment! There are also weighted hula hoops available for more advanced strength conditioning hooping.
Hooping is a full body, low-impact aerobic exercise and it’s fun! It is great for heart health as it gets the blood flowing. It works over 30 core muscles and improves flexibility, balance, motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and endurance. It is low-impact so it puts little to no stress on the joints. It helps relax and loosen muscle tension helping increase range of motion, especially in the hips and spine while toning your stomach, arms, thighs and butt.
There are many other physical and psychological benefits of hula-hooping. It has similar benefits to yoga in that it is a mind/body activity involving coordination. The rhythm of the exercise can be very calming and relaxing. You can also determine the level of exertion by slowing or speeding up the revolution of the hoop. Many hooping activities revolve around a dance, following an ebb and flow of music which also can reduce stress and anxiety. It also is done individually, just you and your hoop, so great for this social-distancing life we are currently in – but could also be done in a group for added fun, or challenge maybe? Who can hoop the longest, the fastest, navigate the farthest while hooping, etc.
If you want to give hooping a try, you need to know a few things to get started. First, a hula hoop should be sized for you. When holding it up beside you, it should reach your waist. As always, you should do a few light stretches before you begin, warm up. Start slow, a few minutes even. Don’t get discouraged – it will come back to you in no time! Build those minutes gradually 5, 10, 15 minutes per day until you can hoop for 30 minutes a day! There are lots of great articles regarding hooping and so many things you can incorporate into it, tricks, additional hoops, etc. If you are after a low-impact cardio exercise that is fun, give it a try!