Monday, September 10, 2012

Hula Hoops for Fun and Fitness

Photo by madmaven
While picking up a few things at the Dollar Tree this morning, a rack of hula hoops caught my eye.  Hmm ... I used to be able to hula hoop forever some 40-odd years ago, so thought that might be a good thing to add to my workout to mix things up a bit.  Since it was only a buck, I grabbed a pretty pink one and headed for home, reminiscing all the while about fun times shaking my hips to keep that hoop spinning as a scrawny kid.  As I think back, I believe it was Nana that bought me the hula hoop and it was kept at her house, and sometimes she'd join in and give it a spin!

The fun was short-lived after I got home and tried it out.  I stepped into the hoop, gave it a big spin and gyrated for all I was worth, only to have it drop to my feet after only a revolution or two.  I picked it up, dusted off my pride and tried again, with similar results.  Wow.  I wasn't expecting great things, but I also didn't expect to fail miserably.  I mean, how hard can it be?  It's a simple plastic hoop.  Wiggle your middle and keep it going, right?  Is it even possible to hula hoop incorrectly?  Are printed directions required?

I turned to my friend the internet for some answers.  As it turns out, the lightweight plastic hoops are hard to get any benefit from (unless you're 9 years old, I guess).  The better option for exercise purposes is a weighted hoop, which is supposed to be easier to keep up and going longer.

There are also many more ways to incorporate the hula hoop into your fitness program than just twirling it around your waist.  SparkPeople has a list of routines that use the hoop to work just about every part of your body.

So is returning to your childhood a good thing for exercise?  The Mayo Clinic agrees that hula hoops can be a useful piece of equipment to add to a fitness routine,  but of course check with your doctor for any specific issues that you might have before starting a program (and throwing your hip out).

Apparently some fitness centers offer hula hoop classes, and even Michelle Obama is a hula hoop champion.   If you're anxious to give it a whirl, is a good place to start looking for hoops as well as exercise videos and DVDs to show you how it's done.

I'm considering investing in the proper equipment to give it another go, but in the meantime, I'm going to ask the little red-headed pixie next door if she's available for private lessons.


  1. I had a similar episode a few years ago when I bought a hula hoop for my kids. I can't for the life of me keep one up for more than a rotation or two. I hope you get yours going - I gave up.

  2. Two thoughts (or at least, two thoughts that can be published in such a forum) -

    1. A pogo stick is much more fun. Boinggggg!
    2. If you grow tired of hula hoop-ing, you can always use it in horse training. A hula hoop is great for desensitizing a horse and also for teaching the Turn on the Forehand movement.

    Sorry, had to.


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