By Healing Lifestyles

Swing those hips, watch the colors go ’round and ’round and the shed them pounds! Nearly every one of us had a hula hoop as a child. Right? Well, hula hooping is back and is all the rage! But this time around it’s not just for kiddies and First Ladies, hooping and even hoop yoga classes are cropping up across the country because of the intense full-body workout these inexpensive play pass times can provide.

Why hooping?

According to avid hoopsters, hooping tones your back, abdomen, arms and legs, and when taught in a structured class can also provide flexibility and of course balance benefits.

Even more of a bonus, according to the owners of Hoopnotica, while hooping has similar calorie-burning benefits as a boot camp class (420 calories an hour according to the American Council on Exercise) , they point out that hooping is fun and relaxing (with no drill sergeant!). You just need to have a little bit of coordination!

Ready to give it a try?

Here is an exercise from contributor Abby Schwartz:

  • Grab a hoop and get started.
  • First move, stand with legs apart in a wide stance, knees bent and feet turned out, so you really feel it in your thighs. Waist hoop with arms out at your sides for two 8-counts.
  • Then, while still hooping, bring one leg in closer to the other so you are standing with your feet a little more than shoulder width apart. Come up on the balls of your feet and while continuing to waist hoop for two 8-counts, shift your weight back and forth, left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, always on the balls of your feet. It looks a little like ballet steps.
  • After that move, take a step to the side so your feet are once again flat on the ground, knees bent, feet turned out (same position you started in) and hoop at the waist for two more 8-counts. Continue doing this sequence of three for up to 10 minutes. You can speed it up and reduce it to a single 8-count per position or keep the original pace the whole time.