Hula Hoop Your Way to Fitness

Published on: 28/05/2021

When it comes to exercise, it’s good to find a routine that you enjoy and have fun with. Find out how the hula hoop can fit into your fitness regimen.

The humble hula hoop is proof that exercise tools do not need to be expensive nor complicated for them to be effective. It also reminds us that a fun routine could be an excellent workout at the same time.

Inspired by Australian bamboo hoops and by Native American dance hoops, the traditional hula hoop used to be made of willow, grapevines, rattan, or stiff grasses. The name "hula" was derived from the 18th-century Hawaiian dance, which entailed similar hip movements.

The Hula Hoop Benefits

While we may associate the hula hoop with games we played back in our childhood, more and more fitness regimes are being built on this “toy” because of the following benefits:

  • Promotes Cardiovascular Fitness - Once you have gained the right rhythm with your hula hoop, the repeated movements give your heart and lungs a workout. This cardiovascular exercise can therefore help lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. It can even improve your levels of cholesterol and reduce stress. 
  • Burns Calories and Body Fat - When it comes to burning calories, the Mayo Clinic reports that hula hooping can be compared to other dance aerobic activities. Furthermore, research suggests that weighted hula hooping can be effective in helping to lose inches around the waist and hips.
  • Works Your Core Muscles - Because you need to move your hips to keep the hula hoop spinning, doing this exercise builds strong core muscles and good mobility in your hips. These movements target not only your abdominal muscles but your obliques and hip muscles as well.
  • Trains Your Lower Body Muscles - To help you power the motions (front-to-back and side-to-side) and keep you firmly grounded, you need to use the large muscles in your legs. These include your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.

How to Know Whether You’re Doing It Right

It all starts with choosing the right size of the hula hoop. Keep in mind that the bigger and heavier the hoop, the better control you will get. If you are just starting out, use a larger hoop that will allow you to spin slowly. 

Form and posture are also vital. Make sure that your feet are positioned firmly (ideally more than shoulder-width apart) and that one foot is slightly in front of the other. Engage the core muscles and keep your back straight as you do the movements. If you have a back injury, consult with your doctor first to ensure that this exercise is safe for you. 

Level Up with Weighted Hula Hoops

If you think that using a regular hula hoop is child’s play, then why not add weight to it?

These specialty hula hoops can be bought from sporting goods stores, online retailers, and some fitness clubs. Because they are bigger and heavier than are traditional hula hoops, weighted hula hoops add an extra challenge to your workout. To make sure that you are purchasing the right size, the hula hoop should reach a point between your midchest and waist as it rests vertically on the ground.

Give It a Try

Ultimately, hula hooping is an inexpensive yet effective form of exercise. It doesn’t involve heavy equipment, complicated movements, nor a commute to the gym. As such, you can do it anywhere, even with the whole family!