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 …