6 Fun-Filled Hula Hoop Exercises for Better Fitness

By , SparkPeople Blogger
In 1958 WHAM-O introduced the world to a new toy after Arthur Melin and Richard Knerr observed children in Australia playing with bamboo hoops in their exercise class. Upon their return to the States, they took what they had seen and invented the plastic hoop, what we now know as the Hula Hoop. What started out as a fad in the late 1950's for kids has now turned into a fitness frenzy 53 years later. And if you don't believe swirling your hips can burn calories and tone your body, think again.

Researchers at the Exercise and Health Program at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse led by Jordan Holthusen, M.S. and John Porcari, Ph.D. conducted a study of 16 advanced to intermediate female hoopers. To their amazement, hula hooping expended similar calorie rates and raised heart rates similar to cardio kickboxing, step aerobics and boot camp classes. Although the researchers state that more studies need to be done to determine what the long-term fitness benefits to hooping will bring, one thing is for certain, when we have fun doing an activity we are more likely to participate in it. I always say something always trumps nothing, especially when it comes to exercise.

Today, some fitness experts have taken hula hooping one step further by combining hooping and Pilates. Kristin Benton, founder of the hula-hoop based FXP Fitness, recognized the amazing benefits of incorporating this kid-approved piece of equipment into exercise after losing 40 pounds with a regular hooping routine. 

Below are a few tips on choosing the right hoop for you.
  • Choose the right size for you: Small, lightweight hoops in the kid's section are exactly for that—kids! Make sure that when you place the hoop on the ground standing up that the hoop falls between your waist and your chest. Purchasing a smaller hoop will make hooping a little more challenging.
  • Weighted Hoops: Just as a larger circumference hoop will be easier to use, the same is true for a weighted hoop. You want to use a weight that offers a challenge without being so heavy that it causes bruising. The recommended weight is right around two pounds.
  • If you have a history of back problems, hula hooping may not be for you. Always check with a physician before starting a new fitness program.

6 Ways to Hoop Your Way to Healthy

Abs, Thighs, Arms and Shoulders: Sumo Squats

Abdominals: Teaser Prep

Arms and Abs: Zip It Up

Legs, Abs and Cardio: Waist Hooping

Abdominals: Wring It Out

Abs, Thighs and Glutes: Wide Second Plie

To watch the complete workout, visit Benton's SparkPeople YouTube playlist directly. 

Have you ever worked out with a hula hoop? Share your experience below!

Updated 8/1/2017

See more: fitness exercises fun