The Hula Hoop Workout
By Jennifer Kelly Geddes
Remember that easy, breezy feeling you had as a child, when swaying with a hula hoop around your waist? That same joyful feeling can be yours again as an adult. Hula hooping burns 300 calories in 30 minutes and is an excellent workout for your abs, hips, butt and leg muscles. The best part is that it can be done in the basement, backyard, or hotel room if you’re on the road for work. So grab your sneakers and your hoop — it’s time to shake it!
Size it: Skip those flimsy dollar-store picks — a hoop that’s made especially for adults is your best bet. To check the size, stand the hoop next to you; it should reach the spot between your waist and chest. Try a few at the store to pick one with the right diameter for you.
Move it: The front stance is the first move to master. Stand inside the hoop with one foot in front of the other and the hoop at your lower back. Square your shoulders, bend your knees and tuck your pelvis a bit as you start to swing. If your right foot is in front, try a counterclockwise spin — and the reverse if your left foot is forward. Shift your weight between your front and back legs and move your hips backward and forward to keep the hoop aloft.
Walk it: If you’ve managed the basic move above, go on to walking while you hoop — or, for even more fun, try dancing. Walking forward and backward as you hula will add another level of cardio to the workout, and rockin’ to a beat on your MP3 player will raise your heartbeat even more. If you plan to dance, choose a tune with a medium beat and work up to a faster one. Keep a hoop at work, too, and take a dance break in your office, conference room, or at a park nearby.
Make it: Cathy Robie of Freeport, ME gets her hoops made by her husband, Fred. “All you need is a coil of black plastic water pipe and some colorful duct or electrical tape from the hardware store,” she explains. Experiment with different tube diameters and
weights to get the right feel (the larger and heavier the hoop, the slower it spins and the easier it is to keep it going).
Jennifer Kelly Geddes is a New York-based writer and editor who has written for Parenting, iVillage.com and Time Out New York Kids. She frequently contributes to Go Vibrant.