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Hula Hoop is the Word

hula hoop

We had a 50’s-themed luncheon at my office a couple of months ago and, as a member of the Hospitality Committee, it was my job to pick up 25 hula hoops from one of our local elementary schools.  The day of the party, we used the brightly colored rings to decorate, and had another half-dozen adult sized hoops for a hula hooping contest.  While seeing many of my co-workers break out their best hip-swirling moves was hilarious, I was particularly mesmerized by my friend who was twirling her hoop like she was born wearing it.  She later told me that she takes a hula hooping exercise class and also uses it to work out at home. Well, I have never thought about using a hula hoop to exercise, but she had piqued my interest. As luck would have it, she also makes and sells the weighted hula hoops used for this and I ordered one on the spot.

Hula HoopWhen my hoop was delivered, I received a quick lesson. “Hold the hoop against the small of your back, do a little wind up and send it around. Focus on keeping the hoop against your body, rather than trying to sling it around.”  OK. That sounds simple.  How do you get a workout from that?  At home that night, when DH was down in his man cave watching somebody doing something with some kind of ball or other, I tried it.  The hoop made three-quarters of a revolution and fell to the ground.  I picked it and tried again.  Straight to the ground again.  Over and over I set the thing to spinning around my waist with the same results.  After a few minutes of this, it hit me.  The work out comes from all the bending over to pick up the hula hoop time after time.

Frustrated, but not deterred, I sat the crazy thing in my foyer and looked at it every time I left the house.  And it looked at me. Sometimes I cursed it, sometimes it got off with just a sideways glare.  Every once in a while I’d take it outside to “practice” when I walked the dog; the results were similar.  The ground had more contact with the hula hoop than my hips did.

This weekend, DD was home from school and asked about my hula hoop.  It was really more like “Mom, what are YOU doing with a hula hoop?!” I told her that I got it to exercise. Then, likely out of disbelief, she basically challenged me to prove it and show her how to do it.  We went outside, I set up like I usually did, and prepared to do a little shimmy, pick my hoop up off the ground and say, “Just kidding! I don’t know really how to do this!” But, to our collective amazement, the hula hoop stayed up and obediently continued to circle my waist until my laughter blurred my vision and I lost control. I had done it! Yes!

So, what to do with my newly discovered talent?  Well, first thing I did was consult my other husband (as my friend, Darci, calls it!) – Google – to learn more about the benefits of hula hooping. I’ve found five great things about this kind of exercise:

  1. It will increase your fitness level like low impact workouts. It’s aerobic and will improve your endurance.
  2. It will burn fat and calories. It uses many of the biggest muscles in your body, and that equals fat burning. Think glutes, thighs, hips and abs.
  3. Hula hooping will improves your coordination. Ya gotta have pretty good timing and rhythm.
  4. It will tone your body by engaging your core muscles.
  5. It will make you feel better. Who can resist the mood-elevating fun of hula hooping? Or at least trying to hula hoop.

So today we’ve come full circle. I’ve just watched “Grease” for the 945th time (this may be slightly exaggerated, but not by much) and they’re all at the Rydell Graduation Carnival – after “You’re the One That I Want” – you know the part. Lots of hula hooping happening there on the football field among the fairway games, the Shake Shack, yearbooks and Ferris wheel! So, since Danny and Sandy have successfully flown away once again in the Greased Lightning car, I’m going outside to hoop a little and try to improve my hip action. I think that hula hooping may be one of the easiest and most fun ways to exercise and lose weight. I will just keep swimming hooping and let you all know how it goes.

Are you a hula hooper? Ever try Hoopnotica?  I’d love to hear your stories and tips.