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Hula Hoop the pounds away, surprising new fitness tool

There is something to be said about children’s games: they get your heart pumping.  When you think about it, kids have endless amounts of energy, which is why they are bouncing off the walls from the crack of dawn until long after the sun sets.  We tend to overlook the benefits of children’s entertainment because they are simply, well, childish.  Take jump roping, hopscotch, sharks and minnows and tag for instance; all games that up your heart rate and burn calories.  As youngsters, weight was the last thing on our mind.   But as our metabolism begins to resemble more of the tortoise and less like the hare, we begin to rethink the possibilities of these games.

One such childhood game is coming back with a vengeance and its main target is belly fat.  Hula Hoops, the popular new exercise tool being used by women and men alike, has resurfaced and assured its place in fitness history.  Hula Hooping is popping up everywhere; being sold it athletic stores, written about in fitness magazines, and even becoming a tool in musical expression for tree hugging hippies.

I decided to try out several types of Hula Hoops to find out which one is most effective in burning calories and sprouting abs.  My roommate has recently become increasingly obsessed with the hooping culture that has sprung up at musical festivals and hippie hangout sessions.  When I asked for advice on which hoop to buy, she recommended a heavy Hula Hoop so I could get a better workout.

I decided to snag a couple different options, to maximize my experience and find a hoop that is right for the workout I am looking for.  I tested three hoops: One large, heavy hoop, one large, light hoop, and one smaller, lighter hoop that I found in the children’s section at Walmart.

A common misconception about Hula Hooping as an exercise regiment is that the heavier the hoop, the better the workout will be.  That, my friends, is a big fat lie. And I’ll be sure to wag my finger at my roommate for her misguidance on the subject, and for the battle scars I acquired.  The only thing the large and heavy Hula Hoop did was bruise the hoo-hah out of my hips and left my bladder feeling abused.  I lasted for 90 painstaking seconds before retiring the dead weight and moving onto the next option, the large, light hoop.

The larger, lighter hoop compares in exercise level to walking instead of running.  It’s all about your preference, but this hoop was light enough to feel comfortable while using it, but I learned that the bigger the hoop, the slower the rotation, causing you to move slower and therefore equate to a lighter workout.

My favorite hoop, as you might have guessed, was the last one I tested out.  Small, and light, this hoop forced me to spin it at a fast pace while causing almost no pain at all to my mid section, other than a ‘good burn.’  It was a higher energy exercise tool and I felt out of breath after nearly five consecutive minutes of hooping.  I would recommend the smallest, lightest hoop to those of you who like a high-energy, fast-paced workout.  

Not only is the hoop a nice alternative to running, or cardio workouts, it’s also a great tool for stretching.  By wrapping the hoop around your toes, or pulling it behind your back, you can relax and stretch after your workouts without needing any other equipment.  The Hula Hoop craze is already beginning to sweep the nation with its simplicity and effectiveness, and you can easily hop on the bandwagon too.  Although most hoops are found and purchased online, you can easily stroll to the children’s toy section of your local retail store and prepare to transform that jiggly torso into a tight and firm tummy.

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  • J

    julieMay 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I just started hooping a few months ago, I am addicted. It is so much fun. I just ordered my third hoop. I Can’t wait for it to arrive!

  • C

    CasandraSep 17, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    Hey Gainesvill-ians!
    Check out your local hoop group on Facebook, and visit classes taught by Michal, Claudia and Jodi Jainchill for a great workout and a fantastic time in spinning bliss!

    And look out for Florida’s FIRST Hooping festival: Florida Flow Fest, coming in November 2011!

  • M

    Maritta FinkSep 17, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Wait! Do NOT buy a kiddie hoop. You will only end up as a frustrated non-hooper. Adult size hoops (36-44″ in diameter) are what an adult size person should start out with. You may move down to a smaller size hoop as you improve.

  • L

    Linda G.Sep 1, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    What a great article!!!!………. I’m going to buy a little light hoop tonight!!…. Although quite the difference in age to the journalist I’m sure…. being an edorphin junkie, I’m sure I’ll love to add this to my workout regimine!