It helped Kelly Osbourne shed 70 pounds, earning a coveted spot on the May cover of SELF magazine. It keeps actress Marissa Tomei in peak form. First Lady Michelle Obama is also hooked and I’ve even heard basketball star Shaquille O’Neill likes to give it a whirl. I’m talking about hula hooping, the zero-impact hot new fitness craze that utilizes giant eye-candy-cute weighted fitness hoops (such as the ones from Hoopnotica® )
Believe it or not, a hooping workout is not child’s play; it can be a highly effective fat burner and serious waist whittler. Even more surprising, there is real scientific research to prove it!
Research Proves Hooping Is Great Exercise
I’ve been hooping for years now and I know from personal experience that it is an amazing workout because I can feel my heart rate climb as soon as I start spinning the hoop—and the faster I spin the hoop, the higher my heart rate climbs and the better workout I know I am getting. However, as a certified American College of Sports Medicine Health Fitness Specialist I was elated to find scientific literature supporting hula hooping as a great form of fitness.
The American Council on Exercise conducted a study in order to determine the potential cardio and calorie-burning benefits of hooping. The results? Hula hooping was actually shown to be a more effective workout than most other group classes (including boot camp, advanced pilates, power yoga and step aerobics.) In my book, that means hooping should be taken seriously as a very effective form of exercise.
Hooping is a Mega Waist Whittler
Hooping will strip fat fast because it gets your heart rate very high and it does so all while targeting the waistline incredibly well. A two for one! Not only does the fat-burning from hooping help you shed inches from your waist, hooping is a total core toner, which means it will whittle your waist and flatten your stomach faster than just about anything. Because hooping requires you to perform something called the “drawing in maneuver” you target the notoriously neglected transverse abdominal muscles, which not only generates spinal stability but will help you achieve and trim and firm waistline.
Hooping is a Zero Impact Workout
I discovered hooping as a form of fitness about 4 years ago, around the time my orthopedic hip issues started to really flare up. My complete story is rather detailed, but the Cliff Note’s version is that in addition to being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when I was 22-years old, I had a congenital abnormality of my femoral head (femoral retroversion) that was not diagnosed until I was 36-years old and ended up causing years of hip pain, a failed first hip surgery and early hip degeneration. To fix the orthopedic abnormality, in 2012 I underwent a major 6 ½ hour surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC that resulted in breaking my femur (thigh bone) in half and rotating the top portion into the anatomically correct position. It was a terribly painful surgery, but the worst part was the recovery; my bone did not heal as quickly as it should have and so I was unable to walk for 7 months! I had a rod in my leg holding my bone in place, so I didn’t need to wear a cast, but I still couldn’t walk because the broken bone was excruciating. But I could still stand in place with my Hoopnotica® hula hoop and get my heart rate up by hooping! I couldn’t hoop after leaving the hospital that first week, but I was definitely hooping before I was walking. That’s because hooping actually puts less stress on your joints than walking.
The fact that hooping is a no-impact workout program is great for anyone with arthritis or anyone who has extra pounds to shed because many forms of exercise can be very taxing on the joints, especially if you are overweight.
And hooping is loads of fun, did I mention that? Even if you hate to exercise you can’t help but smile just a teeny-tiny bit once you pick up the hoop and give it a few spins. Once you give it a try I guaranteed you’ll never set foot on a boring treadmill or elliptical trainer ever again!
Give My Personal Hooping Workout a Whirl
In addition to hooping up a storm in my own living room all by myself, I also created a “Hoopnastics” hooping workout class in Palm Beach County where I incorporated my Full Fitness Fusion approach to fitness combining interval cardio training with resistance training in a 30 minute class format. During the “hooping cardio core” intervals the heart rate soars and the core muscles are targeted while the toning segments fuse legendary fitness techniques from ballet, yoga and pilates with exercises that use the hoop. Here are some of the benefits of a “Hoopnastics” style hooping workout:
• The brisk-paced no-impact workout safely burns a lot of calories
• The routine works joints through a full range of motion to keep your body limber and flexible
• The controlled movements and weight bearing exercises strengthen and tone every major muscle in your body
• The workout is intense enough to keep the heart rate elevated, improve endurance and condition the cardiovascular system
• The unique hula-hooping component works your midsection in a circular pattern therefore training every muscle in the core of your body while simultaneously toning your arms, increasing the flexibility in your spine and providing a fabulous no-impact calorie-burning cardio workout
It is nothing like any other exercise program you have ever done and rather hard to explain—-watch the video I just did on the beach and give it a whirl!
Learn the Art of Hoop Dance
If you want to discover how to move your body in a way you never dreamed possible and take your workout up a notch I highly recommend the Hoopnotica® Hoop Dance DVD series . This series of four instructional hoop dance DVDs breaks the art of hoop dance down into clear, accessible steps. Even if you have two left feet I promise you can still learn to hoop dance! But, you do need to get the right hoop…
Any Old Hoop Won’t Work: You Need a Special “Fitness Hoop”
The Hoopnotica® Weighted Fitness Hoop
If you are having flashbacks to childhood and can’t seem to recall being a master hula-hooper back in the day, have no fear, you just need to get the right hoop!
Hooping for fitness requires a large weighted fitness hoop that is between 37 to 45 inches in diameter (your height determines the size of the hoop) and weighs between 1 to 4 pounds. A larger, heavier fitness hoop rotates around the body more slowly, making it easier to hoop while potentially burning more calories and producing greater fitness benefits.
I have tried a number of different fitness hoops and the Hoopnotica® brand is by far my favorite. Click HERE to buy a Hoopnotica® hoop and get started shimmying your way to a fit and toned body today!
Really Hooked on Hooping? Why Not Get Hoopnotica® Certified!!
Have a passion for keeping fit? Why not get certified to become a Hoopnotica® instructor through the Hoopnotica® Teacher Training Certification Program? Hoopnotica® is the industry’s leading hoop certification program and has over 1,000 instructors in 22 different countries! Getting Hoopnotica® certified can help you earn extra income and open the doors to a fun and exciting career opportunity—not to mention an amazing way to stay fit on the job. For more information on how you can hone your own hooping skills while learning to share them with others as a Hoopnotica® Certified Instructor, click HERE.