The hula hoop became a craze in the late 1950s when the Wham-O company successfully marketed a plastic version as a toy. It is estimated that over 100 million hoops were sold in 1958-59, securing the hoop’s eventual induction in the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York.
Today, the hula hoop is making a comeback, but not necessarily as a kids’ toy. It has now emerged as a fitness tool.
Hooping is a great cardio workout that can burn between 400 and 600 calories in an hour, while also improving core strength and toning the abdominal muscles, arms, thighs, and butt. It’s high energy, but low impact, which means it doesn’t put stress on the knees. Plus, it’s fun!
For maximum benefit, weighted hula hoops are often used for working out. Weighted hoops are bigger and heavier than traditional hula hoops. If you try a weighted hula hoop, be sure to select one that is the right size for you. The hoop should reach somewhere between your waist and chest when it is resting vertically on the ground.
The weight of the hoop is personal preference. A smaller, lighter hoop takes more energy to keep going. A bigger, heavier hoop is easier to keep going, which means you can probably do it for a longer period of time. Experiment with different hoops to see which kind and size you prefer. Weighted hula hoops are available from sporting goods stores and online retailers. Some fitness clubs have hoops available for members to use.
Once you are proficient in spinning the hoop around your hips in one direction, challenge yourself by reversing it. You’ll be amazed at how it’s easier one way than the other. And you can also shake your workout up a bit and by spinning it around your arms (one at a time). Just be sure you’ve got plenty of room around you so your hoop doesn’t hit anything or anyone. Then let go and have fun!