Military-style boot camp workouts are a popular way to stay in shape – because they work. But if sweating it out doing push-ups and jumping jacks doesn’t excite you, there’s another alternative – hula hoping. You may have played with a hula hoop as a child, but even if you’re all grown up, you can still use this big loop as a fitness accessory.
Is Hula Hooping Good Exercise?
Grab your hoop! A new study shows that hula hoping is as good as boot camp workouts for burning calories and blasting away body fat. According to research from the American Council on Exercise, 30 minutes spinning a hoop around your waist and hips burns 210 calories, which is comparable to most boot camp and kickboxing workouts.
Hula hooping gets your heart rate up – an average of 150 beats per minute, which is enough to get an aerobic workout. Not surprisingly, your core gets some benefit too as you twist and turn to keep the hoop spinning. It’s a refreshing change for many fitness devotees who are bored with running, cycling and aerobics.
How to Use a Hula Hoop
If you haven’t hula hooped since childhood, you may find it challenging at first. Start by holding the hula hoop at waist level with your hands. Push the hoop to one side of your pelvis and start circling your hips to keep it moving. It takes practice to keep it at waist or hip level, but once you get the “rhythm”, you’ll enjoy the movement. If you find learning to use a hula hoop is challenging for you, sign up for a hula hoop fitness class – or buy an instructional video for guidance.
Once you become a proficient hooper, you’ll join the ranks of celebrities like Marisa Tomei and Michelle Obama who workout by hooping. Like you, they know a fun workout is one they’ll stick with.
Choosing a Hula Hoop
Don’t buy a hula hoop made for a child. Go to a sporting goods store, and choose a weighted hula hoop that weighs 2 or 3 pounds. Weighted hula hoops spin more slowly, and this will make it easier to twirl. It’s also important to choose the proper size. Look for one that hits you between tummy and chest level when you hold it on its side. A hoop that’s smaller will spin too quickly, making it more difficult to work with.
Other Ways to Get the Benefits of Hula Hooping
Try hula hooping with a friend. Turn on some upbeat music and hoop for 30 minutes or more. It’s also a fun exercise to do with a child – so you’ll both get a workout.
The Bottom Line?
It gets your heart rate up, burns calories and fat, improves coordination and tones your core. Give it a try!