Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Guess what I have in common with Beyonce, Liv Tyler, Marisa Tomei, and Michelle Obama. The hula hoop! But that's as far as the comparison goes. They already have the figures I can only hoop for.

I first became interested in the hula hoop after reading an article online about its health benefits. I immediately went to Wal-mart.

"Do you sell hula hoops?" I asked the saleslady at the sports and fitness section.

"Yes, we do. They are in the toy section," she replied.

Disappointed that my "fitness equipment" was not among the weights, yoga mats, and trampolines, I walked towards the Barbie dolls and kiddie bikes aisle. I finally saw a box of hula hoops that came in two sizes and various girly colours. I chose a bigger one. That would do for now.

Thus began my early morning hooping.

Even though it's been ages since I last tried the hula hoop, I quickly found my groove. These days, I can keep it swiveling for longer periods, up to 30 minutes. I can now vary my movements, change my feet position, turn around to the left or to the right, sway my hips this way and that, rock back and forth...

I find it more fun to hula hoop to continuous dance music. I hardly notice the time. I think it's easier to do it on a bare waist too because the hoop sticks better to the skin than on clothing.

I hope to transition to hula hoop dance instead of just doing the basic hooping. Yesterday, as I watched my reflection on the computer where my music was playing, I thought I'd do a Ricky Martin. Livin' la vida loca!

One of these days, I will go to Home Depot and get materials so I can make my own hula hoop or hoops to vary the weight and size. The instructions I found on the Internet are pretty straightforward. I checked out the ones designed for exercise and only sold online, but they cost at least $50 with S&H. I can make one with an irrigation tube, coupling and duct tape, sand or water for weight, and coloured electrical tapes for design.

Here are some health benefits of the hula hoop that I found on the website Body by Design:

Burn Fat

Hula Hoop exercises are a great fat burner. Some of the large muscles of the body are activated causing higher blood flow and increased heart rate. Because of the amount of energy used your body will burn fat to fuel those large muscles at work.

Tone and Shape

Hula Hooping works your glutes (bum), thighs, and abdominals. This area of the body can cause great embarrassment especially for women and hula hoop exercises are a simple activity to really improve your body image. The constant motion and the "pushing-pulling" effect hula hooping has on muscles will stretch the muscles, build strength and definition, and also burns the fat around those areas to give you a great body shape.

Increase Aerobic Ability

The only way to increase your aerobic endurance is to do aerobic activities. Exercising with a hula hoop is excellent at doing this because it is simple and fun but makes your body work hard for its oxygen. Its low impact so it won’t cause injury and you can do it anytime and anywhere.

Feel Better, Look better

Hula hoping will increase your fitness and improve your body shape. This improvement has many follow-on benefits including increased learning ability, increased happiness, ability to work harder but most importantly it provides more energy for the things you enjoy in life.

I found instructional videos on youtube that beginners might like to watch. Here's one:

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