It’s finally summer and everyone knows what that means…swim suit season! As my freshman year of college was winding down, I found myself daydreaming of the upcoming long, hazy days when I could sit out by the pool for endless hours. But then I found myself dreading the very act of tugging on my bikini because my once toned and firm core has become a bit flabby. While I’m determined to work my abs back into shape again, a little summer laziness has already set in and I don’t always feel like doing an intense ab workout. No problem – I’ve discovered the perfect solution: Hula hooping!
Hula hooping is one of the best core workouts you’ll find. And it’s fun! I picked up a hula hoop for the first time when I was five years old and was hooked immediately. In fact, at the end of my kindergarten year, I entered my school’s talent show with a hula hooping act. I got up on stage and just stood there hooping to a three minute CD. Five minutes later I was still at it and probably could have kept going another five but someone eventually came up on stage and politely herded me off so the next act could go on. You’ll be pleased to know I received a second place ribbon for my hula finesse. So I guess you could say I’m something of a hula pro – and it evidently runs in the family because my mom, Coach Stacy, has recently started to incorporate “exerhooping” into her weekly Boomer fitness classes and they’ve been a huge hit! I joined in her class last week and even though I hadn’t hooped in quite a while, I discovered that it’s a little like riding a bike – you never forget how to do it. There I was, working my core and having a blast! And because I was having so much fun the time literally flew by. Before I knew it we had been hooping for eight minutes straight, which according to Coach Stacy, burned as many calories as we would have running a mile. And I don’t know about you, but I’ll hoop any day over running a mile.
Now, here are a few hula facts for you to ponder:
- Hula hooping is great for burning fat as well as toning your body’s core muscles.
- The heavier the hoop, the more resistance provided which means the faster your muscles will be toned. The more weighted the hoop is, the greater number of calories you’ll burn.
- The secret to hula hooping is to rock your hips forward and backward, as opposed to side to side, which is what most people try to do. Think of it as a pumping motion, not a circular motion.
- Hooping is a low impact exercise that will gradually increase your endurance and aerobic capacity.
- Hula hooping can greatly improve your coordination because it requires timing and rhythm.
- It can also increase the flexibility of your spine because of the wide range of motion required (great for those who are prone to back injuries).
- Hooping is an excellent brain exercise, particularly if you try rotating your hoop in both directions – clockwise and counter clockwise. For me, counter clockwise is a piece of cake, but clockwise, not so much.
- Most importantly, it is a fun way to exercise, and when exercising is fun, you’re more likely to actually do it!
Finally, an enjoyable workout that burns lots of calories, costs next to nothing, with no gym membership required. ANYBODY can get fit by hula hooping! I was so impressed with the Boomers in my Mom’s class. They were really good at exerhooping – all except for one old fellow named Jim, who for the life of him, couldn’t keep his hoop going for more than about five turns. But he just kept at it and we all cheered when he actually got it going ten times. As my mom always says, “When you’re moving, you’re improving,” and Jim was doing just that!