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The exact origins of hula hooping are unknown but historical evidence shows that the Greeks and Egyptians used hoops in their exercise practices. It became wildly popular in the United States in the 1950’s, with the toy company Wham-O. A hula hoop, by definition, is a round plastic toy that is twirled, thrown or rolled around the waist, neck, hips or limbs, and can be used to condition specific muscles. The diameter of the hoop generally ranges anywhere from 28 to 42 inches depending on the height of the individual.
Hooping or hoop dance has had an exciting resurgence in the past few years, becoming a popular new fitness trend!
Instead of traditional materials of willow, wood, iron, rattan or thin plastic, modern hoops are made out of polyethylene tubing (notably known for irrigation). This tubing is much heavier and larger than those of the 1950’s. Hoops are made with different sizes and weighted tubing. The size and the weight affects the style of the hooper. Heavier, larger hoops are more often used for slow hooping and body tricks while lighter, thinner tubing is used for quick hand tricks. These hoops may be covered in a fabric, gaffer or plastic tape to aid in keeping the hoop in motion and adjusting the amount of work for the hooper. The tapes can be a great tool for each hooper, as well as being beautiful and colorful embellishments. Some use glow-in-the-dark, patterned, or sparkling tape, and others are produced with clear tubing and filled with plastic balls, glitter, or even water to produce visual or audio effects when used. Recently, LED’s can be used with clear plastic tubing to create visual effects and trails. During the recent revitalization of the hula hoop, its uses have been extended to serve as an implement for fitness.
Hula Hooping is a low intensity, aerobic exercise that increases flexibility, and tones and strengthens one’s body. It is a fun and creative way to lose weight, release toxins and improve your mood and self esteem.
Benefits of Hooping:
There are many health benefits from hooping. Think hooping is just for kids? Think again and read on!
Helps to Improve Stability
Hula hooping is predominately a core exercise that focuses on stability. Stability is a major foundation block for all exercise programs. It requires effort from both the biggest and smallest muscles in the body. You can feel each muscle throughout your legs and feet working to improve general strength and balance. It helps to tighten up each muscle group in your core (better than any sit up).
Tones Your Body
Hula hooping works out several of your body’s core muscles. It strengthens and tones these muscles. Muscles that can be toned by hula hooping include: gluts, thighs, hips, legs, knees and abdomen. In addition, you can twirl a hula hoop with your arms to tone your shoulders and forearms. These muscles require a significant amount of energy, so it forces the body to burn fat stores throughout.
It’s Active Meditation and Improves General Mood
Hooping gives you time to practice meditation by hooping around your waist and learning to control your breathing, heart rate, hoop and mind. It also helps to lower resting heart rate. Hula hooping helps increase the flow of blood to the brain. Hula hooping exercises are more reviving than a short nap. Regular hula hooping helps increase the energy level of the body. Hula hooping is fun, and it makes exercising less of a chore. To be able to do something fun and see the improvements to your body can brighten your spirit and raise your confidence.
Increases your Aerobic Activity
The constant motion and the “pushing-pulling” effect hula hooping has on muscles will stretch the muscles, build strength and definition, and also burn the fat around those areas to give you a great body shape. Hula hooping is such a low impact exercise that just about anyone can use it to increase his or her endurance and general fitness level. Even just 10 minutes of hula hooping can provide enough benefit to your body to increase aerobic activity. Hula hooping is so effective as an aerobic workout that an hour of hula hooping can help you burn just as many calories as the same length of time engaged in a traditional cardio workout, such as the treadmill. For those unable to perform serious aerobic exercises due to health reasons, hula hooping can be a gateway to better health.
Improves Your Coordination
Hula hooping requires a certain timing and rhythm. By practicing, your coordination will improve as your body starts to learn the timing. As your skill level increases, hula hooping with more than one hoop at once can be challenging and can help to improve your coordination even further.
Improves Flexibility of Your Spine, Knees, and Hips
The motions of hula hooping require a significant range of motion in your spine. Increased practice in hula hooping can give your spine a greater range of motion than you’re used to, thereby increasing your flexibility. When you’re hooping, you’re introducing movement into your spine that helps move nutrients into your intervertebral discs. This can help you in the prevention of back injuries. The rotations around the body works all major joints to help aid in joint mobility.
What is the best hoop weight for me?
There are so many different schools of thought when it comes to the weight of a hoop. Obviously, the heavier and bigger the hoop the easier it is – simple physics. With that being said, we don’t make our hoops more than 2 pounds. We find that more than that weight can cause excessive bruising and the lighter and smaller the hoop the harder it is. Who wouldn’t want to graduate to a smaller hoop for a better workout? Contact Kat to discuss what is best for you.
What size hoop is best for me?
As we continue our own practice, I use about 4 different types of hoops for different reasons. Normally, we suggest a 40-42 inch hoop for beginners, 38 inches for intermediate, and around 34 inches as you advance. Every body is different, but we have found this to be a basic guideline for most.
Am I too old/young to hoop?
Hooping can be geared towards any aged person or child. With young children a hoop can help to improve hand eye coordination and muscle dexterity. It can be used to play games with and to encourage the joy of physical activity. For older adult, it is a fantastic low intensity exercise. It increases general stability and motor control while providing a healthy cardio workout.
What clothing should I wear to hoop?
Natural fibers work best! Synthetic clothing usually is slick and slips from your body. Keep layers to a minimum. They can get in the way of the hoop. Avoid wearing large belts, pins, or anything that can press into you if the hoop rolls over it. This also includes bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Keep it simple and let your inner beauty shine.
Mayo Clinic article with a lot of great hula hooping info.
Daily Spark Fitness article with some great general fitness tips and a prediction that hula hooping will be a hot trend!
Inspiration Hoopnotica article telling the story of remarkable weight loss via hooping.
Forbes Magazine article titled “Names You Need To Know In 2011: Hoopnotica” which highlights the success of Hoop Fitness and specifically Hoopnotica.
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