Hoopnotica's Rebecca V. lays out some of the benefits of hula hooping that are guaranteed to have you wanting to give hooping a try for at least 8 minutes a day. (Keep reading to find out why.)
Hooping is a complete core workout. (Cue the killer abs.) Hooping regularly can help to whittle your waist and strengthen your stomach muscles while blasting fat in these (often problematic) areas. (Studies that show that hooping burns visceral fat- the fat that is the hardest to get off the older you get, and also the most detrimental to heart health.) That's what we'd like to call a win-win-win situation!
...It's also a full body workout.Recent studies have suggested that hula hooping works as many as 30 of your body's muscles. Just by incorporating some of the moves from HoopnoticaDance DVD 1 you will be working your arms and thighs as well as your complete core.
Hooping will make you feel the (calorie) burn. Hooping has been proven to burn over 400 calories per hour by the American Council on Exercise, although the calorie-burn from hooping may be as high as 600 calories per hour when other parts of your body, such as your arms and legs, are engaged. To break this down even more, consider that, according to a 2009 AARP Bulletin, hooping it up for eight minutes gives you a good cardiovascular workout and will burn a whopping 50 calories, or a satisfying 6.25 calories per minute! And the ACE reported, according to a study they conducted, that hooping burns approximately 7 calories per minute! Burn, calories, burn!
Hooping is good for your heart. Hooping is an intense workout for your muscles..including one of the most important muscles of all: the heart! Anyone who picks up a hoop will notice their heart rate go up in minutes! So hooping for just twenty minutes a day can count towards your moderate-vigorous intensity physical activity recommended for improving and maintaining your health.
It improves your spine's strength and flexibility. The movements require a significant range of motion for your spine while increased practice can train your spine to a greater range of motions than you are used to, increasing your flexibility and even preventing back injuries. According to 3FatChicks, one of several online sources on the subject (and an awesome diet and health blog), "While performing hula hooping, you make very rhythmic rocking movements forward and backward, shifting your weight along the way. This kind of movement releases the tension of the muscles surrounding the sacrum (the lower part of the back) and realigns the sacrum with the rest of the spine. As a result, blood flow to the spine improves and total flexibility of the spine is increased."
It improves hand-eye co-ordination and motor skills. Like other sports, hooping requires hand-eye co-ordination and challenges your brain as well as your muscles. Hooping in both your natural direction and your reverse directions (recommended) is an excellent opportunity for your brain to engage both your dominant and non-dominant sides while guaranteeing your body's balance.
The "H" Factor. Happiness. At the risk of sounding sappy, aside from these amazing physical fitness benefits, most of us fall in love with hooping because of how it makes us feel: Happy. Besides the wonderful burst of endorphins you're likely to enjoy after a good bout of hooping, this activity can have other, more subtle positive effects on your psyche. After hooping we often feel like younger, stronger, more toned, more confident versions of ourselves...in other words, we feel like better--if not our best Selves.
The bottom line is that Hooping, just like running, as a solitary or a shared activity, can be anything you need it to be, big or small: a tool you use to center yourself before or after a long day or a healthy activity you in which you take part with family and friends; an 8 minute-a-day activity (with a big fitness payoff); a satisfying career; or--a way of life.
This much we know is true: whatever hooping brings to us personally or professionally, whatever benefits (and lessons) we take from it, whether they are quantifiable or not, we, as hoopers, keep coming back for more!