BlogHer, Fitness

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 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 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’s 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 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 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 I’m glad I went with a two-pounder. You can commonly get weighted hoops between 1-5 lbs, but I read an article 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 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, so I haven’t attempted any fancy moves yet. (I am, however, happy to report 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?

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