Remember when you were younger and could spend hours hula hooping in your driveway? Hula hooping often gets grouped into the hopscotch, foursquare and jump rope category of somewhat old school activities, but it is having a bit of a comeback these days – and not just for little girls!
Hula hooping (as fitness or fun!) dates back to 14th century England, but got its name from its similarity to traditional hula dancing in Hawaii. You might not have picked one up since 5th grade gym class, but consider returning to the hoop – this one piece of cheap “equipment” can tone your thighs, firm your tush, and work your abs, and arms – no wonder you were so thin as a kid! (Okay, maybe metabolism had something to do with it…)
Working out with a hula hoop can burn as many calories per minute as step aerobics or brisk walking. Using a light hoop, you can burn as many as 200 calories in 30 minutes. They also make weighted hoops, which make each move harder (burning more calories and working muscles harder!)
There are plenty of reasons to get hooping again – the best part is that it’s just as fun as you remember! Here’s how to get started.
Swinging the hoop might be easier than you remember
When you were younger, it might have seemed like hula hooping was something some kids could do, and some kids couldn’t. However, now that you’re not a clumsy 10-year-old, it might be easier than you remember.
Hold the hoop at waist level with your feet planted slightly wider than shoulder-width. Push the hoop to one side with your hands, and swing your hips back and forth. Many people feel like because it’s called “hula” hooping, some complicated, swingy hula dance motion is involved. In reality, it’s just like standing in a doorway, bumping your hips against either side. No gyrating necessary!
Try out different moves
Swing the hoop for about a minute at a time, with short rest breaks in between. Try different moves, like swinging the hoop around your hand with your arms above your head, or while leaning over with a flat back, to get the full-body benefits.
You should do each of these moves for 30 seconds to a minute, resting for a few minutes between sets. Two to three sets will probably be enough to make you feel like you got a workout!