Many people often give up on their exercise programs because of boredom. Exercise doesn’t always have to be a chore. According to a Harvard Medical School study, only 18% of Americans meet the weekly recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity.
This lack of exercise can increase your odds for heart disease, diabetes, and a host of several other medical conditions. There are many ways to incorporate some sort of exercise into your schedule. The key is to try to make your workout challenging and fun at the same time.
This is where the hula hoop comes in to play. Made popular in the 1950s as a child’s toy, the hula hoop has been rediscovered by the fitness community.
A hula hoop and a little upbeat music can turn your dull workout into an exciting way to get into shape.
Types of Hula Hoops
These hula hoops are the light weight plastic hoops that are commonly used as children’s toys. While these can be utilized for exercise, they are often difficult for adults to use; they also don’t always provide the same benefits as a weighted hula hoop.
Weighted Hula Hoop
A typical weighted hula hoop weighs between one and five pounds. They are larger in size than most children’s plastic hoops and measure around 38 to 42 inches.
Before you purchase one of these hula hoops, make sure to pick one that is right for your size. The American Council of Exercise recommends a hula hoop exercise that reaches somewhere between your waist and chest when measured vertically from the ground.
Also, keep in mind that the heavier the hula hoop is, the easier it is to keep going. Lighter hoops will take more energy to keep going.
If you choose to work out with a weighted hula hoop, they can be found at most fitness stores.
Benefits of Hula Hoops
Boredom is typically the number one reason why people don’t stick to their training programs. A hula hoop is an effective way to add diversity to your training routine.
Another factor of unsuccessful fitness results is injury due to overuse of a particular part of the body. For example, if you run everyday, you may be susceptible to shin splints, or some other injury due to the repetitive strain of running.
By training with a hula hoop, you will work different muscles of the body. This will allow your other muscles and joints time to recuperate, while your heart is still getting the required cardiovascular workout that it needs.
Burn Calories and Tone Muscles
Working out with a weighted hula hoop provides aerobic exercise as well as muscle resistance. This allows you to burn calories and tone your muscles at the same time. Many muscles in your body are recruited during this full body activity.
The swinging motion of the hula hoop will effectively work your abdominals, obliques, back and hip muscles, as well as your arms.
Hula hooping is an activity that you can do with your whole family. Because its fun, hula hooping is a great activity for kids. There are many different tricks that children can learn with a hula hoop.
The Right Hula Hoops Technique
Like many other sports, correct form and technique are important to success.
To start, place the hoop on your lower back, and then step one foot slightly in front of the other. Instead of moving your hips in a circular motion, use a forward-and-back rocking movement.
Try this basic movement for ten minutes and gradually build up to 20 minutes of non-stop hula hooping. If your hoop falls to the ground, just pick it up and try again. It may take some time and a little patience to master the technique.
After you become comfortable with the basic movement, you can add an upper body workout to your hula hoop fitness repertoire.
Start by stretching your right arm out in front of you, and then place the hula hoop around your arm. In this position, you can make large circles with your arms. Perform this movement for five minutes and then repeat it with the other arm.
If your coordination allows, there are several advanced maneuvers that you can perform with the hula hoop. You can walk forward and backward while hooping; you can even add dance steps and arm movements at the same time.
Hula hooping is not just for kids anymore. These former children’s toys have become serious fitness tools that allow you to burn a ton of calories. Just play your favorite music and swing to the beat.
When getting started, you can participate in a hooping class at your local heath club. If you choose, you could also purchase a DVD and follow along to a guided workout in the comfort of your own home.
Which ever route you choose, a hula hoop routine can be an effective path towards a successful fitness program.