Hulas: Whittle While You Work Out

Hulas: Whittle While You Work Out

Hula hooping can burn more calories than step aerobics and raise your heart rate as much as cardio kickboxing. It works your waist and core muscles, and can tone your thighs and biceps.

Exercise regimes can become repetitive and boring, making you less inclined to follow through with them. This is why it’s important to shake things up from time to time and try something new, whether its a new form of exercise, or simply incorporating a new prop. Shaking up your exercise regime that can also help to improve your waist reduction,
use a hula-hoop. Your waist and hips will benefit from 10 minutes a day of hula-hooping, with the added bonus you get to behave like a kid again each day!

One way to get and keep your waist (and the rest of your body) looking great is to dance! You don’t have to start up dance lessons, but turn on the radio or listen to your iPod and party around for about 20-30 minutes every day. Make sure you’re moving all of your body. Dancing burns off lots of calories and it feels great when you’re having fun, and you’ll look and feel great!

Celebs like Beyoncé and Oliva Wilde love this Hula-Hoop workout that burns calories while whittling your waist and toning the entire body.

Kelly Osbourne said hula hooping helped her whittle two inches from her waist, according to a recent interview. No doubt, she looks amazing. But can hula-hooping actually give you a good workout?

While hooping is just one part of Osbourne’s daily workout (she also says she runs intervals and does either weight training, yoga, or Pilates), hula hooping really can help you slim down: It burns about seven calories a minute, according to a 2010 study conducted at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. And while that might not sound like a lot, it’s about as much as you’d burn by walking briskly—and even more than you’d torch per minute in a power yoga, step aerobics, or Pilates class.

While hula hooping strengthens your core, and—depending on what you do with the hoop—can work the rest of your body, too, strength training still trumps hula hooping for sculpting lean muscle, says study author John Porcari, PhD, director of clinical exercise physiology at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. That said, swinging a hoop around your hips can be a pretty effective aerobic workout, he says.

Your hoop is probably too light—or too small. Contrary to what you might think, a heavier hoop makes hula hooping easier because it generates momentum, says Mary Pulak, owner of Hooked on Hooping fitness classes in Green Bay, WI, and designer of the hula hooping workout used in the 2010 study. Because you need to keep your core tight to whip the weighted hoop around your waist, heavier hoops also work your abs more than their lightweight counterparts, she says. A two-pounder is ideal. “It creates enough force to give a fantastic workout, but it’s not heavy enough to bruise your body,” Pulak says.

In terms of size, the bigger the hoop, the easier it is to use because it gives you more time to react to the forward and backward hooping movements, says Pulak. The diameter of the right-sized hoop should be between the height of your waist and your breastbone.

To starting hooping find a certified instructor in your ‘hood, or, buy your own hoop and try a hooping DVD. You could also build your own hooping workout: Just turn on your favorite playlist and hoop to the beat. For a more intense cardio workout, increase the speed, vary the hoop’s direction, and do alternating knee lifts to challenge your core. Add arm movements and squats to turn the routine into a total body workout.

What hula hooping does for your body. It trims the midsection, tones the arms and blasts calories. Did you know that even a beginner hooper can burn up to 10 calories per minute by just whirling a colorful tube around her waist? The best part is it’s totally fun, you feel cool once you learn a few tricks and you can rock out to your favorite tunes while staying skinny. 

Hula hoops have been around decades, and modern hooping, as a form of exercise, has been around for years — more and more people are discovering it every day. 

“People are just now getting wind that such a thing as hooping exists,” said Hesley. “Someone will walk in our store and say, ‘Oh, my God! This is the coolest thing ever.’”

Celebrities are fans of hooping too. “Marisa Tomei uses it, and Beyonce used it to get ready to go on tour and build stamina and endurance,” said Hesley.

When you’re starting, make sure you use an adult hoop. “The ones you buy in the Toys R Us store are not the one’s we’re talking about,” said Hesley. “We don’t mean the weighted ones, either. These are simple hoops made from tubing with tape on them. They are either made by hand by people across the country, or they’re made by a company like Hoopnotica.”

There are usually two kinds of hoops, beginner and intermediate. You definitely want to purchase the beginner first. They are larger, use tape with more grip and revolve more slowly around the body so you can learn tricks more easily.

Hesley recommends as a great resource to link you with other hoopers and retail outlets. TYou can try some of the DVDs that are out there or search on YouTube. 
There’s a great community spirit to hooping: You not only get a great workout, but you’ll also wind up making some new friends. Plus, you can really lose a lot of weight if you hoop regularly.

Hula-hooping is a fun way to keep fit, allowing you to target your arms, legs, abdomen and buttocks through a variety of exercises,. It improves flexibility, balance, motor skills, hand-eye coordination and endurance, and a weighted hoop can even provide enough resistance for a strengthening regimen. After a long day in front of a computer, hula-hooping offers a rejuvenating workout that can help you realign your spine.

Pumping the hula-hoop around your waist provides a workout for your core muscles. To keep the hoop circling around your waist, move your hips in a forward and backward motion — a push-pull — as opposed to a circling movement. Begin by standing in the middle of the hoop with your feet staggered, lead foot about 12 inches in front of the trail foot, and knees slightly bent. Grasp the hoop and bring it to waist height, propping it against your back. Rotate your trunk to one side to wind up and then quickly push and release the hoop in the opposite direction. To keep the hoop spinning, immediately drive the hoop forward with your abdominal muscles and pull the hoop backward with your lower back muscles. Envision doing fluid and rhythmic hip thrusts to keep the hoop spinning for 10 to 20 minutes.

Health benefits of Hula hooping

Hooping is a complete core workout. (Cue the killer abs.) Hooping regularly can help to whittle your waist and strengthen your stomach muscles while blasting fat in these (often problematic) areas. (Studies that show that hooping burns visceral fat- the fat that is the hardest to get off the older you get, and also the most detrimental to heart health.) That’s what we’d like to call a win-win-win situation!

It’s also a full body workout.Recent studies have suggested that hula hooping works as many as 30 of your body’s muscles. Just by incorporating some of the moves from HoopnoticaDance DVD 1 you will be working your arms and thighs as well as your complete core.

Hooping will make you feel the (calorie) burn. Hooping has been proven to burn over 400 calories per hour by the American Council on Exercise, although the calorie-burn from hooping may be as high as 600 calories per hour when other parts of your body, such as your arms and legs, are engaged. To break this down even more, consider that, according to a 2009 AARP Bulletin, hooping it up for eight minutes gives you a good cardiovascular workout and will burn a whopping 50 calories, or a satisfying 6.25 calories per minute! And the ACE reported, according to a study they conducted, that hooping burns approximately 7 calories per minute! Burn, calories, burn!

Hooping is good for your heart. Hooping is an intense workout for your muscles..including one of the most important muscles of all: the heart! Anyone who picks up a hoop will notice their heart rate go up in minutes! So hooping for just twenty minutes a day can count towards your moderate-vigorous intensity physical activity recommended for improving and maintaining your health.

It improves your spine’s strength and flexibility. The movements require a significant range of motion for your spine while increased practice can train your spine to a greater range of motions than you are used to, increasing your flexibility and even preventing back injuries. According to 3FatChicks, one of several online sources on the subject (and an awesome diet and health blog), “While performing hula hooping, you make very rhythmic rocking movements forward and backward, shifting your weight along the way. This kind of movement releases the tension of the muscles surrounding the sacrum (the lower part of the back) and realigns the sacrum with the rest of the spine. As a result, blood flow to the spine improves and total flexibility of the spine is increased.”

It improves hand-eye co-ordination and motor skills. Like other sports, hooping requires hand-eye co-ordination and challenges your brain as well as your muscles. Hooping in both your natural direction and your reverse directions (recommended) is an excellent opportunity for your brain to engage both your dominant and non-dominant sides while guaranteeing your body’s balance.

The “H” Factor. Happiness. At the risk of sounding sappy, aside from these amazing physical fitness benefits, most of us fall in love with hooping because of how it makes us feel: Happy. Besides the wonderful burst of endorphins you’re likely to enjoy after a good bout of hooping, this activity can have other, more subtle positive effects on your psyche. After hooping we often feel like younger, stronger, more toned, more confident versions of ourselves…in other words, we feel like better–if not our best Selves.

The bottom line is that Hooping, just like running, as a solitary or a shared activity, can be anything you need it to be, big or small: a tool you use to center yourself before or after a long day or a healthy activity you in which you take part with family and friends; an 8 minute-a-day activity (with a big fitness payoff); a satisfying career; or–a way of life.


The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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