By Jesse Styles
I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of the traditional gym workout. Going to the same place to repeat the same mindless, boring routine is just not motivation enough for me to get up off the couch. In fact I never used to be a fan of the idea of working out until I found a way that barely feels like a workout at all: hula hooping. Yes, that toy you used to play with as a kid is how I work off all the beer and bar food I consume whilst supporting the local music scene 😉 It’s extremely effective, dangerously fun, and you can do it virtually anywhere!
I’m sure you are all s’ing your h’s at the idea that a hula hoop can be an effective way to burn calories. If this is the case, you’ll be surprised to learn hooping in fact has a plethora of fitness benefits. In as little as half an hour you can strengthen and tone every major muscle group in the body, while simultaneously burning up to 300 calories. While simply waist hooping, you’re working about 30 different muscles around the core. For those of you who have back problems, hooping has been proven to strengthen the back muscles and aid in back pain. The constant repetitive vibration of the hoop around your waist also gives your intestines and surrounding organs a nice little massage.
Also, what most people don’t realize is that there are more ways to hula hoop besides around the waist. You can hoop around your chest (my favorite space to work inside), which will give you a serious cardio and ab workout. Hooping around your knees allows you to give your buns and thighs a nice tightening. You can even play around with the hoop off your body, allowing your arms and shoulders an intense burn. For my fellow artists and geometry lovers out there, exploration off body hooping will offer endless amounts of fun for you as well.
Not only does your body get a benefit from hooping, but so does your mind. The constant massage-like rotations promote relaxation and a meditative state of mind. For me personally, hooping decreases my anxiety and can turn any bad mood around. Nothing is more of an escape than turning on my favorite tunes, stepping inside that circle and dancing away all the worry and negative energy. It also helps with body awareness, can boost self esteem, and can even make you feel a little sexy.
Aside from it being a workout and a method of meditation, it’s also FUN! Even the simple act of watching another person hoop can inspire and bring a smile to your face almost instantly. The fun factor of hooping makes it seem like less of a chore, and will make you want to return to the workout. The element of boredom is not invited into your routine. After awhile you stop focusing on the physical workout aspect, and learn to just dance and jam out inside your circular space. And you don’t have to use it as just a daily workout routine; hula hooping is an activity that you can do almost anytime, anywhere. Festivals and concerts are popular, and where my hooping career began. Other great places are parks, beaches, even parties and weddings. The energy you pick up from crowds at said events are unreal, and can give you an inspirational kick start. It’s also a great conversation starter!
A word of caution: If you drop your hoop a lot in the beginning DO NOT get discouraged. Just keep trying. It’s all about muscle memory and training your muscles to move in such motions. Even if you only hoop for 10 or 15 minutes at first, it’s still something! Dropping your hoop is not only inevitable, but a positive experience. If you don’t drop your hoop you’ll never have the opportunity to pick it back up, and there is so much to learn even from that simple act.
Still think a hula hoop is just a toy? Well if you pick one up and blast your favorite jam I promise it will change your view and bring a smile to your face in moments. If you’re anything like me you’ll have trouble putting the hoop down. This versatile workout is a lifetime of exercise for a onetime membership fee of as little as $15, and with proper use is guaranteed to slim your waist, tone your muscles, and give you a positive outlook and healthy mind. Before you know it you’ll be hooping everywhere! If you’re interested in purchasing or making your own hoop, or have any other hooping related questions please see the links below. And remember: hooping is FUN! Happy Hooping, y’all!
You can contact me directly for all things hoop related at [email protected]. Custom fitness and dance hoops are $15 each or 2 for $25.
Hooping.org – an amazing website dedicated to all aspects of hoop dance and offers daily inspiration.