When was the last time you played with a hula hoop? The old school children’s activity isn’t just a kids’ toy, it can be used to give you a full-body workout that’s fun and easy on the joints. Plus, it engages the whole body, because it takes a lot of coordination and stability to keep that hoop going in circles.
These days, hula hoops come in different sizes and weights for different purposes. Fans of hula hooping say it’s an effective workout, including Sara Cole Barnette, a massage therapist and yoga instructor, who also teaches people how to hula hoop for exercise. She says just hooping around your waist with a regular hoop, not a weighted one, will get your heart rate up after about three minutes.
“It is an intense full-body workout and your heart will be pounding, similar to doing a spin class or an aerobics class or Zumba class,” Barnette explains. “The main thing that most people love about it is that it builds core strength and balance.” It’s a way to play while working out and it can be done anywhere, from at home in front of the TV to a workout class setting. It may take some trial and error to learn how to do it, and these tips from Barnette can help:
Start with stretching, which you can also do with the hoop.
- For waist hooping, proper form is standing with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Hold the hoop around your midsection, let it go and push your hips back and forth or side-to-side, not in a circle.
- Keep both sides balanced by switching directions while your hoop spins, not only going in one direction.
- Beginners should start slowly and build up the time and intensity gradually.
- Once you nail waist hooping, you can add in squats, lunges or jumps while hula hooping.