By Dan Harriman
Hula hooping can be an enjoyable exercise with many benefits. If you get bored easily at the gym, change up your regular workout routine by incorporating some hula hooping. It's also an ideal low-impact cardiovascular exercise if you have joint pain.
Hula hooping can be traced back to ancient Greece. It has evolved into an effective exercise that today is a staple of many fitness programs. One of its biggest draws is its potential to help you lose weight.
Hula hooping requires coordination and helps develop flexibility. Through a steady rhythm of swinging your hips back and forth, the hula hoop rotates around your body. The speed of your rhythm can change but it must remain steady. Otherwise the hula hoop will begin to fall. The key is to engage your entire midsection and aim to keep the hula hoop rotating just above the hips. Your body should remain in contact with the hula hoop at all times. The longer you are able to hula hoop without interruption, the more calories you burn.
Hula hooping engages your core and midsection continuously, which can help tone the muscles around your waist. The repetitive back-and-forth swinging motion burns a significant amount of calories. Hula hooping for at least 10 minutes on a regular basis, coupled with a balanced and nutritious diet, can help you lose weight in the long-term. However, you shouldn't rely on hula hooping alone in your goal to lose weight around the waist. Other abdominal and oblique exercises are also effective for toning muscles and slimming down.
According to a study by a research team from the University of Wisconsin's Exercise and Health Program, hula hooping burns 210 calories during a 30-minute workout. That's an average of seven calories per minute. The exercise is a significant cardiovascular activity. Study participants averaged 151 heart beats per minute, or approximately 84 percent of subjects' age-related maximum heart rate. The research team concluded that hula hooping is comparable to other high-intensity cardiovascular exercises, such as kickboxing, step aerobics and power yoga.
Weighted Hula Hoops
Some hula hoop exercise classes offer various weighted hula hoops. The claim is that heavier hula hoops encourage your abdominals and obliques to work harder, therefore burning more calories than with a standard hula hoop. According to Betty Shurin, creator of the 40-minute Dance Hoop Workout, hula hooping with heavier hoops can burn up to 100 calories in 10 minutes. Shurin says that the added resistance makes the push-pull contractions in your midsection more challenging and helps reshape problem areas, namely the waist.