Hooping is a popular form of aerobic activity using hula hoop exercises to firm, tone and burn body fat. The hoops used aren’t the standard toy you played with as a child; instead, these large, customized hoops are weighted especially for the activity.
Hooping is Older Than You Think
Historically most people think the hula hoop is a product of the 1950s; however, it has been around for several thousand years and dates back to ancient Egypt and Greece. Today it has re-emerged as a popular new fitness trend as hooping or hoopdance and provides an alternative cardio and core strengthening workout.
How to Do Hula Hoop Exercises
If you can’t find a hooping class near you, instructional DVDs about hooping can show you the basics of how to use these larger (35-40 inch plus diameter) hoops to become fit. Using a weighted hoop is a little different that the classic hula hoops you may remember as a child. These weighted hoops weigh around 2 pounds and because of the heavier weight, they rotate around the body more slowly, so even if you struggled to keep your hoop rotating as a kid, it should be easier with this heavier, larger version. At least that’s what the manufacturers have to say; according to them, there are no worries about a lack of rhythm or being clumsy.
Benefits of Exercising With a Weighted Hoop
Not only do the larger, weighted hoops give you a good cardiovascular workout, but using these hoops also:
- Massages your intestines and organs as it circles your waist
- Allows for meditative time
- Gets your heart rate up
- Increases the fitness level of the entire body
- Increases the flow of blood to the brain
- Increases energy level
- Improves coordination
- Strengthens torso muscles
- Enhances spinal flexibility
How to Choose a Hoop Right for You
Before you start to exercise using a hula hoop, be sure that you have purchased the right size hoop. If you head out to Wal-mart and buy a Hula Hoop, most likely you’ll be getting a child-size hoop. To make using the hoop fun and effective, it has to be the right size. The general rule of thumb to follow is that when the hoop is resting on the ground, it should reach somewhere between stomach and chest height. However, if you have an apple-shaped body and a large waist, you’ll want to compensate for that as well. The bigger the hoop, the slower it will rotate around your body and the easier it is to use. The smaller the hoop, the more challenging it is.
How to Exercise with a Hula Hoop
Once you’ve purchased the right size hoop, it’s time to start the fun. If you used a hoop as a kid, it might not come back quite as easily as riding a bike, but with a little practice you’ll get the hang of it.
The key is to put one foot in front of the other instead of standing with your feet side-by-side. Start with the hoop against your back at your waist. Give it a gentle push to start the rotation around your waist and shift your weight back and forth between your front and back foot to keep the hula hoop moving. Don’t move your hips in a circle to keep it rotating because the opposite will happen. As you shift your weight back and forth, your hips make more of a rocking motion than a circular movement. Keeping the hoop twirling around your waist is the most important of the hula hoop exercises. In fact, if you’re strictly using the hula hoop for exercise and don’t have a lot of time, this is the only exercise that’s needed. It can be used anywhere and your waistline will really show improvement as the unwanted fat burns off the midriff and the stomach muscles tighten.
To use the hula hoop to tone muscles in the arms, extend your arm to the side and roll the hoop around your arm in a circular motion. The idea is to keep the hoop moving around your arm. This exertion works to firm and melt body fat.
You can do a similar exercise for the legs. To avoid losing your balance, lie on your back to work the legs. With one leg perpendicular to the floor, or at a slight angle, start the hoop spinning around your extended leg and keep it spinning for one to two minutes.
Stand in a standard position, but instead of spinning the hoop around your waist, work it around your hips. However, the standard around-the-waist position will help you lose off your hips, too.
Make It Fun
Adding some fast paced cardio music will make your hula hoop exercises fun. You’ll feel refreshed while you burn that unwanted body fat.
Article via lovetoknow exercise