Although hula hooping is something I’ve done since I was a child, I have never been good at it! So, when my personal trainer Donna mentioned that I try hula hooping to help reduce my ever-increasing waistline, I wasn’t convinced that it would work. However, nothing is more motivating than trying to do up your favourite pair of jeans only to find a wedge of fat hanging over the top, so I decided to throw myself into some regular waist-trimming hula hooping!
Why Hula Hoop?
Firstly, hula hooping isn’t just for children! It’s an effective and fun way to exercise. A recent study found that hula hooping can burn around 210 calories in just 30 minutes. Obviously, the results depend on how hard you work, but you can burn up to 7 calories a minute with moderate effort. Hula hooping workouts not only burn calories, but they also improve cardiovascular health, muscle tone, flexibility, and balance, with the added benefit of being enjoyable. I also find that it’s a very therapeutic way to work out, as it has a meditative effect which may be down to the hoop’s rhythm and the repetitive circular motion that your body makes as you hula.
Other benefits of hula hooping;
- Increases core muscle strength
- Tones abdominal muscles
- Trims your waistline
- Improves your balance
- Works your lower body muscles
- Burns body fat
‘The secret is practice,’ says Donna. ‘And the great thing is you can hula at home when no one is looking!’ Her advice is to build your hula hooping up slowly. ‘You may only be able to do a few spins at the beginning, but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it.’ Donna recommended that I invested in weighted hula hoop as the larger and heavier the hoop, the easier it is to control, and the more toning it would be.
My Hula Hooping Journey
When my hoop arrived, I was a bit concerned about how large and how heavy it was. Not what I remembered from my childhood! When I first tried it out, I found it so difficult to keep up, and because it kept banging into my sides, I was quite bruised. However, the most amazing thing about this activity was how quickly I saw a difference! After only a few days of working out with my hoop for around 5 to 10 minutes, my waist started to tone up. I could really feel my core becoming engaged, and my love handles starting to shrink!
These results were incredibly motivating, and I really began to get into it. At first, I could only hula hoop for a few seconds, but I soon built up to around 5 minutes without stopping. Another advantage is that you can do your hula hoop workout whilst watching TV or even while you’re on the phone. However, after I sent a vase flying (these hoops are big!) I decided to stick to practicing in my garden. One of the things I love most about hula hooping is you don’t need to warm up or cool down, so it’s easy to fit into your schedule. I never do it longer than 15 minutes and I can see a huge difference already.
Where to Buy a Hoop?
How to Choose Your Hoop
There are two types of hoops you can choose from;
- Weighed hoops – These are best for resistance training and developing core muscle strength.
- Non-Weighted hoop – these hoops tend to be smaller in diameter and obviously lighter than weighted hoops. They have a smaller circumference, so more skill is required to keep them up and moving.
My hoop is 41 cm in diameter but I’m quite tall at 5ft 8, so if you’re smaller you might want to try a slightly smaller hoop. A good way to measure is to stand your hoop vertically in front of you and it should reach between your waist and chest. I bought the 1.5 kg which did bruise me at first, so if you’re worried about that being too heavy, perhaps try the 1.2kg one.
I find the nonweighted one doesn’t do a great deal in terms of toning up your core; these might be better if you were doing a longer workout or a hula hooping class. If you want the benefits of a 10-minute workout, I think you will need a weighted hoop.
How To Hula Hoop
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the Hoop around your waist with one hand on each side, pressing the hoop into your back.
- Spin the hoop around in one direction, engage your core and gently rock your body back and forward. The key is to make the movement small (I tried too hard at first, and then the hoop keeps falling off.)
- Keep your knees bent and if the hoop starts to fall, bend a bit deeper to try and keep it up.
- Make sure to hula hoop in both directions. One side will feel completely alien at first but
keep going as it’s important to work both ways equally.
I’ve been hula hooping now for around 4 months, and I think I have blasted my middle-age spread. I also feel that I’ve had great results for minimum effort! No sweating buckets or doing impossible explosive exercises like burpees; just a very relaxing, rocking movement. From my point of view, this form of exercise is for all of us who are time-poor but want fast results. I lost 2 inches around my waist, my core feels much stronger and trimmer,and my posture looks much better from the side. I would really recommend this exercise for anyone wanting to tone up their core and lose their love handles!
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|Natalie Shirlaw is a healthy living expert with 10 years of experience in the field of holistic health, wellbeing, and fitness. If you enjoyed this article be sure to pin or share it!|