Hula Hooping: Reclaim Your Inner Child

(This is cross-posted at BlogHer.)

Until recently, I’d never thought about picking up a hula hoop when I was considering new ways to exercise. Who can blame me? I had a hula hoop as a kid, but it’s not something I’ve come across with a lot of frequency in the intervening years. But now more and more people are purchasing both regular and weighted hoops for personal use (or even making their own), and even though it’s a relatively new phenomenon, hooping classes are growing in popularity as well. There are also a variety of websites and DVDs on the subject if you’re interested in improving your technique.

If you want to purchase a hoop, you’ll soon discover that there are a lot of different options (depending on the way they look, how much they weigh, and how much you’re willing to spend). When I went looking for my own, I knew I wanted one that was weighted (at least a few pounds) and not ultra-expensive (I didn’t want to feel bad about spending a lot of money if it turned out to be an activity I didn’t enjoy).

The nice thing is, I found that it is possible to get a decent weighted hoop for a relatively small amount of money (I bought mine for $14, plus $8 shipping, from an seller), so it fits into the whole stay fit on a budget thing, too.

If you’re wondering what size hoop would be best to buy, I have to say that I’m glad I went with a two-pounder. You can commonly get weighted hoops between 1-5 lbs, but I read this article on that said hoops between 1-2 pounds seem to work best for most people. With the 2-pound hoop, I can still tell a difference between it and the unweighted hoops I used to use as a child, but it’s not so heavy that it’s cumbersome.

For one thing, the weighted hoop feels okay when it’s spinning around my waist, but once it falls to my hips, it’s more difficult to keep it spinning in that position than it is with the lighter hoops. I’ve only had it for a few days so far, though, so I haven’t attempted any fancy moves yet. (I am, however, happy to report that I had no problems keeping the hoop spinning around my waist, even though it had been a number of years since my last attempt. I must have retained my stellar hip-swiveling action.)

At this point, I’m just trying to get the hang of it and see if I notice any results (meaning: if it appears to be worth my time). I’ve read about the calorie-burning potential (between 150-200 calories per half hour, depending on your weight and the weight of the hoop…but right now it’s hard for me to imagine hooping for that long).

A possible negative side effect of using a weighted hoop? Bruises. Yes, that’s right — apparently some people experience bruising on their bodies afterward (I’m not sure if this is a recurring thing, or if your body gets used to it after a while). It hasn’t happened to me yet, but I might have to plan a marathon hooping session — I’m curious to see if I’d experience the same result.

Have you tried hula hooping as an adult? Do you like it?

Related Reading:

More hoop-related info can be found at the FAQs page at HoopGirl.

Hoopnotica: New to hooping? How to get started.

City Wendy took a hula hoop dance class last year and really enjoyed it.

I’m not going to get rock-solid abs from it or drop a ton of weight, but it’s definitely good exercise anyway and I break a sweat, but more important, it’s really liberating to completely let go and act like a kid again. It’s just like bike riding too, because you never forget how to do it, but also because it’s nearly impossible to feel anxious, stressed, or upset when you’re doing it. Slightly retarded, yes. But stressed? No.

Laurwilk decided she needs a hula hoop to get of those “obnoxious little love handles,” but was worried about the cost, as well as possible bruising.

The only problem is this — apparently hula hoops are now expensive. I was expecting to buy some $5 trinket at WalMart. [...] And based on my hooping research, it is rather important to have a hula hoop that is adult sized so that you can be a more successful hooper. Additionally, there are lots of hula hoops that are weighted and designed to help you trim your ‘mid-section’. However, it seems that these hula hoops tend to bruise people quite badly. I’d rather not be bruised because of some crazy hoop jabbing into my side for five minutes.

April ordered a hoop after a friend at work recommended it, but bruising was one of the problems she experienced.

I hooped a bit on Friday evening and then for a while on Saturday. I started getting pretty sore on Saturday evening. As I was getting ready for bed, I noticed I had bruises around my waist and on my legs where the hoop had fallen.

Di at Moronacity has experienced some additional benefits of hula hooping.

The greatest benefit I am experiencing, so far, is the stretching of my abdominal, lower back, and hip muscles. Hula hooping seems to alleviate much of the back pain I have been experiencing, lately. As an added bonus, it keeps my metabolism revved up since I pick up the hula hoop several times per hour.

Washington Post: In Hula Hoop Rebirth, A Fad Comes Full Circle

A blogger at Fit Sugar bought a hula hoop and was very happy with it.

Another FitSugar blogger reviewed the HoopDance DVD.

Photo: Carole Brown shows us a stack of hoops at her hoop class.

Video: How to Make a Hula Hoop

MunFitnessBlog: Why You Should Consider Hula Hooping To Lose Weight

Reuters: Hoop dreams: cashing in on hula craze


  1. actually, this may or may not count, but i love doing the hula hoop exercises on the wii fit! it’s so much fun and the wii fit tells me it’s a calorie burner (it’s so wise). maybe one day i’ll add the actual hoop!

    Posted March 11, 2009 at 7:54 am #
  2. Wow, do people really hula hoop for an hour straight? lol…

    Posted March 11, 2009 at 11:05 am #
  3. Brought out the hula hoop the last time I had some friends over… someone wanted a demonstration. Can’t remember why. And then everyone was trying. It was pretty funny when people realized they hadn’t hula hooped in about 10 years!

    Posted March 11, 2009 at 9:52 pm #
  4. Hip-swivelling?!?! I thought this was a Family blog! (Well, maybe if I’m your mama!)

    Posted March 11, 2009 at 10:27 pm #
  5. My old roommate was OBSESSED with her hula hoop. She’d do it for I think an hour watching TV downstairs. Don’t remember her mentioning the bruising, but then again, maybe her body was acclimated. How on earth does Amazon package up a hula hoop, by the way? I was hoping for a visual of that!

    Posted March 12, 2009 at 10:16 am #
  6. I was gonna say Wii Fit hula hooping too! It’s a great workout. I get super sweaty.

    Posted March 13, 2009 at 1:35 am #
  7. Hi Zandria,

    It’s been way too long since I’ve commented! I’m back…

    And I have a story. Last summer we went rafting for several days out in Idaho. One day, we’re on one of the rafts (there were several) and our guide starts digging around – and pulls out a hula hoop (that requires some assembly). So, he puts it together and then he does all sorts of fun things with it right there on the raft. It was so much fun, and that then became the highlight of our evenings on the sandbars also. The hula hoop would come out, and everyone had a blast trying new tricks with this simple device! It was a blast!! So, yes kids AND adults can have fun with one of these. And this guy proved it – even left us with a link to a youtube video he did while rafting in the Grand Canyon – and hula hooping!

    So, I say – get a hula hoop and have some fun! Maybe you’ll be bad at it (like me) and can laugh at yourself. And maybe you’ll find a hidden talent!!

    Posted March 13, 2009 at 7:48 am #