Why I am a Hoop Girl!


I have found a new, fun and totally cool exercise and I love, love, LOVE it.  Hooping!

Yes, the basic premise still holds just like when you were a kid: taking a hula hoop, holding it at your hips, and whizzing it around your waist.  But there is so much more.  You can hoop anywhere on your body from your neck to your feet, plus there are all kinds of tricks you can do with your arms that will make you look cool while you’re exercising.

Yesterday, while I was in the park practicing my fledgling moves, women kept watching me go through my different routines. There were a lot of smiles and a lot of people who were pausing to see what I could do.  One woman borrowed her daughter’s hoop and started doing it on her own. I walked over, let her borrow my “adult-size” hoop, gave her a tip, and within two minutes she was cruising along on some basic moves.

So here are some facts, courtesy of the new book, Hooping, A revolutionary Fitness Program by Christabel Zamor.
  • Egyptian children in 1000 BC played with large hoops of dried grapevines and stiff grasses. They would propel the hoops with a stick and also swing it around their waists.
  • In the late 1800s, British sailors visited the Hawaiian islands and noticed parallels between the hip motions of native hula dances and the popular activity back home, then called Hoops.  Hence was born Hula Hoops.
  • In 1958, Wham-O manufactured its first hula hoop.  25 million hoops were sold that first year and over 100 million the next.
  • The current Hoop craze, which has been building over this past decade, features a wide variety of moves, both on the body (hoop travels along the torso) and off the body (hoop spins on arms or legs or is held in the hands).  Dancers have found the hoop makes a good prop and the fluid movement and bright colors catch the eye during a performance. Several hoop troops have cropped up including The HoopGirl Allstars in San Francisco, and the Boston Hoop Troop in Massachusetts.

Here's the kicker: Hooping is great for your arms, your abs, and your bum. AND it's cardio as well!  Depending on the intensity of your hooping, you'll burn as much as 10 calories per minute, equivalent to a fast walk or a steady jog.

You will need an adult sized hoop.  The one I have is made with irrigation hose and has tape wound around it in pretty colors.  You can buy them online in the $30 to $40 range.  Specialty hoops that have LEDs, glow in the dark, or break down so you can tuck them in a bag cost more. For me, I find my new workout is great cardio and has really defined my arms and abs in a new way.  My first love is Pilates and I will always do that for resistance training, but I'm cutting back on running and adding hoop work into the mix. Plus, I'm having a lot more fun! Picture credit to Hoopnotica.com.  Thanks ... A great hooping video ~ That Old Pair of Jeans ~ Fat Boy Slim

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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6 Responses to Why I am a Hoop Girl!

  1. Joe Williams August 16, 2009 at 9:58 am #

    I’e been watching my girls (7 and 5) having fun with hula hoops outside and on Wii Fit. I recall having fun with one growing up, yet considered it as a “child’s pursuit.” Obviously, your post is leading me to rethink that position. Thanks, Lisa!

  2. Christabel August 24, 2009 at 1:51 pm #

    Hi Lisa! Thanks for the mention in your blog! So glad that hooping is helping you gain the fitness and fun you seek. Let me know if I can answer any other questions for you as you hoop your way to health…


  3. Lisa Johnson August 24, 2009 at 9:13 pm #

    Thanks Christabel! It’s been a very fun month and I’ve lost a dress size & 6 lbs! I find hooping calming, invigorating & fun all at the same time. Now if I could just figure out shoulder hooping I’d be set!

    I’m working with Marria Kee, I think you know her right? Boston Hoop Troop?

    Thanks for your kind words :-)


  4. Tara Burner July 5, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

    which type of hoop would you suggest a ‘newbie’ get??
    as you know I’m on a shopping spree for new exercise stuff! LOL

  5. Lisa Johnson July 5, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

    I’m a big fan of these … http://www.bodyhoops.com/Standard_Fitness_Hoop_p/sfh.htm There are also some great beginner hoops at Hoopnotica.com. Check them out … You want a larger hoop to begin with. As you get better you go to smaller and lighter ones.

    Let me know how you do! They don’t cost too much until you get into the LEDs and super fancy tape ones … make sure you get ones with lots of grippy tape on it. The shiner metallic tapes slip more.

    Have fun and when you get one let me know and I’ll point you to some training videos on YouTube!

  6. Tara Burner July 7, 2010 at 7:19 am #

    I’m going to order tonite or tomorrow.
    I have to go an hour+ north of here today to help train the woman who bought my company so I’ll be gone most of the day/evening :(
    but am goin to order!

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