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Hula hooping is something I’ve not done since I was a child and even then I wasn’t very good, so when my personal trainer Donna mentioned I should try hula hooping to help my ever increasing waist line, I wasn’t convinced. However there is nothing more motivating than trying to do up a pair of jeans, only to have a wedge of fat hanging over the top, to spur you into action!
Why Hula Hoop?
A recent study found that hula hooping can burn around 210 calories in 30 mins. This depends obviously on how hard you work, but you can burn anything from 7 calories a minute. Hula hooping workouts not only improve cardiovascular health, muscle tone, flexibility and balance, it is also a really enjoyable workout. I find it very relaxing, as it has a meditative effect, maybe down to the hoop’s rhythm.
It also ;
- Increases core muscle strength
- Tones abdominal muscles
- Trims your waistline
“The secret is practise” says Donna, “and the great thing is you can do it at home when no one is looking. Build up, at first you may only be able to do a few spins but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it”
Donna recommended I buy a weighted hula hoop, as the larger and heavier the hoop, the easier it is to control and the more I would tone up.
My Hula Hooping Journey
When my hoop arrived I was quite worried at the size of it and the heaviness, not quite the ones I remembered as a child. When I first tried it out, I found it so difficult to keep up, and also because it kept banging my side I became a bit bruised.
However the most amazing thing I noticed was how quickly I saw a difference! I only did it for a few days for around 5 – 10 minutes a day when, my waist started to tighten up. I could really feel my core becoming engaged, and my love handles starting to shrink!
With this new discovery, I began to really get into it. At first I could only hula hoop for a few seconds without it falling off, but I soon got up to around 5 minutes without stopping. The great thing is you can be doing it whilst watching TV, or on the phone. However after I sent a vase flying, (these hoops are big,) I decided to stick to practising 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 really 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 used for resistance training and development of 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 needed 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 non weighted 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 work out, 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, enagage 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 really have blasted my middle age spread. I feel I’ve had great results for minimum effort! No sweating buckets, or doing impossible explosive exercises like burps; just a very relaxing rocking movement. For me this exercise is for all of us who are time poor and want fast results. I lost 2 inches around my waist, and my core feels much stronger and trimmer, even my posture looks better from the side. I would really recommend this exercise for anyone wanting to tone up their core and lose their love handles!
Have you noticed you have put on more weight on as you’ve got older especially around the middle ?
Let me know in the comments below!
If you would like to contact Donna and find out more about her training methods, you can contact her here.
If you enjoyed this post you might also like this one; Get Organised for Exercise.