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Hooping for Health: The Many Benefits of Hula Hooping

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For many of us, hula hooping sounds like a childhood pastime. However, with various fitness groups coming up with hula exercise programs like hula dancing, and weighted hula hoops, it’s quickly becoming one of the most exciting ways to shed pounds!

Many programs and calorie trackers claim that hula hooping can burn up to 600 calories an hour! If you’re thinking about how in the world you can hoop for an hour, think again.

As a new hooper myself, I can attest to the addicting and fat shedding nature of this activity. I began hooping just a few weeks ago and I am hooked.

Before I was introduced to the hooping world, I was only familiar with waist hooping, but after hooping for three weeks, I can hoop with my chest (horizontally and vertically), shoulders, and even on my legs.

Hula hooping not only strengthens almost every muscle group, but is also hugely cardiovascular. Because hooping involves so many muscle groups (especially when you’re able to hoop from your neck to your feet), it is a great way to burn fat.

Oftentimes, I am so absorbed in hooping, it’s hard to remember the many benefits that go along with hula hooping:

Core Strength - Having a strong core is one of the most important aspects of physical wellbeing. Having a weak core can cause you to also have poor posture, lower back pain and make you more susceptible to injuries.

Hooping works your abs, back and hips. In fact, according to livestrong.com, “There's anecdotal evidence suggesting that hooping can strengthen your low-back stabilizing muscles and can help anyone with a history of back pain.”

Muscle Tone - Hooping can help tone almost every major muscle group. Aside form the obvious toning of the abs, hooping can also tone your glutes, thighs and arms.

Cardio - Hooping with a heavier hoop will make you work harder, and literally get you winded within minutes. However, using a lighter hoop often makes you move quicker to keep it up. Either way, moving around in your hoop is a really fun cardio workout.

Joint Health - Hooping is a great, low-impact alternative to running, which can also help shed fat but is horrible for your joints. The repetitive and rhythmic motions of hooping help to gently engage your joints.

Posture and Spine Flexibility - According to livestrong.com, when you’re hooping, you’re moving your spine in a way that helps move nutrients into your intervertebral disks. This movement helps improve spine flexibility and posture.

Coordination and Balance - As a new hooper, keeping the hoop up may be difficult. With practice, you’ll increase your coordination and balance and get more in tune with your body. You may even want to start learning some tricks.

Improved Mood and Confidence - Hula hooping is so much fun and almost always improves my mood. Being in control of your body movements and being able to control the hoop is fun and rewarding. Many hoopers reveal that hooping makes them feel sexy and acts as the perfect creative outlet.

Here is a great website to find hoopers or classes in your area. Get creative and make your own hoop, or find one at a sports store (the light kiddie versions from the toy store are really too light for adults).

Have fun!


6 Fitness Benefits of Hula Hooping | 3FC. (2010, June 26). 3 Fat Chicks on a Diet! famous weight loss support. Retrieved October 20, 2011, from http://www.3fatchicks.com/6-fitness-benefits-of-hula-hooping


Fitness and Weight Loss Benefits of Hula Hooping . (2011, September 23). Blogs . Retrieved October 20, 2011, from http://www.weightlosstriumph.com/fitness-and-weight-loss-benefits-of-hula-hooping.html


Hughes, M. (2010, May 17). Health Benefits Of Hula Hooping | LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM - Lose Weight & Get Fit with Diet, Nutrition & Fitness Tools | LIVESTRONG.COM. Retrieved October 20, 2011, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/124992-health-benefits-hula-hooping

Reviewed October 24, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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EmpowHER Guest

I've been hooping almost every day since about mid-November 2013. In the last few weeks, I've noticed I haven't been getting the results that I was before (even with adding more time). So today I tried something different: I hooped on my mini-trampoline. Of course, I wasn't able to bounce very high; in fact, I was only able to do the "health bounce" and hoop at the same time. That worked for my dominant hoop-spinning direction. When I switched and went the other direction, I did interval workouts of hooping while moving around the trampoline and hooping while doing high knees (well, not very high--more like "low knees"). Now after this workout I can feel the tiredness--both from hooping and from the trampoline. I imagine the energy required to keep your balance while standing on a trampoline and hooping is good exercise for your core, and it's probably intensified when you move around. Anyway, I wanted to share my experience for those who might find that hooping, though still a much beloved exercise, is not as effective as it once was.

January 30, 2014 - 7:23pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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