It’s that time of year -- where the days are short and cold, and the holiday weight is weighing heavy on you (literally). But how can you maintain an exercise regime if it’s just too cold to leave the house, or worse, you’re snowed in? We’ve got you covered with exercise options you can do at home!

1. Bodyweight Exercise

    Many people assume that to get their best workout, they need a gym with expensive equipment. But you can actually get a healthier, more effective workout just relying on your own bodyweight.

    Find an open space at home and implement a series of exercises to help you burn fat and get a truly intense workout. There are loads of websites (and video services) with a diverse range of exercises, so pick the ones that work for you.

    If you want to focus on toning your legs and glutes, choose exercises that emphasize that. If you have an injury or a delicate area, avoid exercises that will aggravate it or worsen the problem. Here are some great body-weight bearing exercises to try at home.

    Squats

    You can strengthen your core and tone your legs/backside with a repetition series of squats. Keeping your torso upright, while lowering your body as far as it can go by bending your knees and pushing back your hips, is a surefire way to build muscle. Your own bodyweight does all the work here, but you can always add small handheld weights to amplify intensity.

    Incline Push-Up

    Switch to regular push-ups if you feel ready, but an incline push-up is the perfect way to get a great upper body workout without pushing yourself too hard. Instead of placing your hands on the floor, place them on an elevated surface like the stairs, an ottoman, or a chair. Make sure your body is aligned in a straight line and execute the push-ups.

    Hip Raise

    Sure you can do regular crunches or sit-ups, but a hip raise works different parts of your core. Lay flat on the ground with your arms out to your sides at a 45-degree angle, tighten your tummy and core, and slowly raise and lower your hips while keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground. It may seem simple at first, but repetition is the key.

    Side Plank

    Plank position and side plank are a great way to strengthen both your core and upper body. All that is required is that you hold the position for timed intervals, no other movement necessary. If side plank is too intense, modify the position by lightly resting your knees on the ground and build up to fully elevated side plank.

    Floor Raises

    Floor raises are another deceptively simple and intense workout. Ideally, you should execute them in a “Y-T-I” series. That is, with your arms outstretched at 30-degree angles to form a “Y,” perpendicular to form a “T,” and straight out to form an “I.” You can leave your toes touching the ground or also slowly raise them with your arms for a modified exercise. Repeat this series of raises and feel the burn.

    2. Yoga

    You don’t actually need to find a yoga class to attend to have an effective practice. There are many DVDs and streaming yoga services, even YouTube videos and other free options, you can follow along with if you don’t feel comfortable devising your own practice. But it’s as simple as using a mat (or another soft surface) and executing a series of yoga poses in a slow and repetitive manner.

    If you don’t want to follow a particular program, select the poses that you like best and implement them as you see fit. If you’ve ever attended a yoga class, you can probably at least devise a short workout for yourself. There are tons of online resources to help you build an at-home yoga practice that works for you.

    3. Hula Hooping

    Another fun and low-cost way to get an intense workout at home is to devise a hula hoop workout plan. With a hula hoop, you can get a full body workout or focus on a specific area, most often, your core. There are loads of online guides and step-by-step instructions on how to get the perfect hula hoop workout and target specific muscles and zones.

    You can order a Hoopnotica DVD if you’re not comfortable working it out on your own and join a guided hula hoop workout. One word to the wise, make sure you pick a hooping area with plenty of space -- you don’t want to accidentally break something when your workout really gets going. If you’re feeling really dreary, pick a favorite song and blast the tunes, hula hooping is a high-energy, playful way to workout -- the perfect way to beat the winter blues and get the intense workout you crave.

    4. Aerobics and Modified Cardio

    You don’t need a treadmill or great weather to run outside, you can get an epic cardio workout in the comfort of your own home. Ever since Jane Fonda launched her aerobics empire in the 1980s, at-home cardio has been as simple as buying a VHS (or, nowadays, a DVD or finding a streaming video) to follow along with.

    Subscription service Daily Burn offers a variety of cardio workouts on a daily basis that you can execute in your living room. But just like the yoga, hula hooping, and bodyweight exercises, you can devise a cardio routine all on your own. With a series of aerobic exercises like jumping jacks, running in place, and more, you can build your own high intensity cardio workout.

    Make it your own aerobics classroom and hit that Spotify playlist to give you the tunes that will motivate your perfect workout. The best part of working out at home is that you get to choose the music!

    5. Incorporate Exercise into Household Chores

    Finally, if you really don’t have time for one of these routines or think they seem too daunting, start small and incorporate some exercises into your daily routine of household chores. Putting away laundry? Make it into a step routine to work those calf muscles. Time to load the dishwasher? Take advantage of your natural position and do squats.

    Chatting to your sister on the phone? Do chair leg lifts to work your abs and core. Washing dishes or your hands at the sink? Turn it into an opportunity to do incline push-ups against the sink.

    Sitting at a desk? Do stomach suck-ins while you work to activate your abs. Taking a coffee break? Do a wall sit while it brews. When you’re lying down to sleep at night, do some hip raises in bed.

    There are a million ways to incorporate a little exercise into your daily routine. If you don’t have time to execute a full workout, start here and build up to something more ambitious like hula hooping.

    Don’t let the snow and rain get you down! Keep your workout goals coming from the comfort of your own home with one of these five workout plans.

    hooping for fitness

    In an interview with Self Magazine, Kelly Osbourne revealed the fitness journey that helped her lose and keep off 70 pounds. Her exercise secret? Hula hooping!

    Osbourne told Self that she uses a Hoopnotica hoop and hosts regular hula hoop/dance parties on Saturday nights with fellow celebs like Adam Lambert.  She keeps her exercise routine fun, she dresses up for the gym…and, above all, she loves her body!

    “The only thing I can be is me. I'm not perfect. I make mistakes. And my body is not perfect, either, but I love it,” Osbourne shared in her interview. “It will never be perfect, and I do not want it to be. That's so boring!”

    Osbourne isn’t the only celebrity to fall in love with hooping. ‘New Girl’ Zooey Deschanel, First Lady Michelle Obama, Beyonce and even basketball legend Shaquille O’Neill all take to the hoop for fitness…and fun.

    hooping for fitness

    Kelly Osbourne

    Hooping isn’t just the latest fitness fad. Most have been hooping for years, since childhood. Hula hooping, however, was never really discovered for its fitness and health benefits until recently.

    A study conducted by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) found that a hula hoop isn’t just a simple toy, but a vital piece of workout equipment that offers fitness benefits.

    ACE researchers found that hooping burned seven calories per minute or 210 calories per half-hour. This calorie burn data gave hooping the stamp of approval as a legitimate form of fitness for weight control.

    And the study also revealed that hula hooping was a great form of cardio. Jordan Holthusen, M.S., one of the researchers who helped conduct the study was shocked at the results regarding heart-rate and calorie burn related to hooping.

    “Before we did the study, I didn’t imagine the heart-rate averages would be so high,” Holthusen stated in the study’s published results. “I was really impressed by how intense of a workout you can get hooping and how many calories you can burn.”

    Hooping isn’t limited to merely twirling the hoop around the waist—although that’s the best way to begin. Joining the hoop fitness craze includes dance, gymnastics and other unique ways to integrate the hoop for body benefits.

    Bring joy into fitness with these hoop-tastic routines:

    Classic Hooping with the First Lady

    Michelle Obama has been spotted hooping in the backyard of the White House, and she rocks the classic waist hoop method. This is the hooping that everyone remembers from childhood, and it’s both fun but challenging. The bigger the hoop, the easier it is to control. Use a lightly weighted hoop to benefit from a calorie burn. Focus on keeping the hoop in constant motion. Each person may have their own unique rotation technique. Use the hips to keep the hoop contained in the center of the core (the waistline!).

    Don’t be embarrassed if it takes a bit of practice to keep the rotation going…some master the technique quicker than others. Try it and have fun! And laugh at yourself…a sense of humor makes life and exercise much more enjoyable.

    Hoop Dance

    The hoop integrates dance for a jazzy workout routine. Dance hoop routines are recommended for those who already know how to keep the hoop in motion. The fun of the hoop is combined with dance, but this is not just hooping around the waist. Hoop dance involves integrating the hoop into dance choreography, which might mean rotating the hoop on the arm or elsewhere. The hoop becomes a dance prop. Deanne Love offers numerous videos to teach novices how to hoop dance.

    Feel the Burn

    Those who want an intense hoop workout can feel the burn with hoop fitness. Rotating around the waist is key to the workout. While rotating the hoop, learn to also integrate the 360 rotation—a move that requires hoopers to turn the body while hooping. Dropping the hoop is par for the course, and it will happen to nearly every beginner.

    Pamela Crawford, a master trainer, teaches a beginners workout via POPSUGAR Fitness for individuals interested in learning how to integrate the hoop into their fitness routine.

    Selecting the Perfect Hoop

    There are numerous types of hula hoops on the market—from simple plastic $1 hoops to expensive weighted hoops. Each workout might require a different hoop size. Choose a lightly weighted hoop or a larger diameter hoop when learning how to keep the hoop in rotation. Heavier weighted hoops should be selected for avid hoopers with more experience. Never push the body with weights too soon into fitness routines; weight sizes should be added gradually. The ACE study noted that most hoopers use a one to four-pound weighted hoop. Diameter of the hoop also varies greatly, and each individual may have their own unique preference.

    Hoops also can be personalized for a custom appearance, built to travel, and some hoops even include LED lights for a hypnotic effect while dancing at night. While using a cheap hoop is great for learning, invest in a higher-end hoop for long-term use.

    The benefits of hooping for fitness are documented, and many celebrities have adopted the hoop into their own fitness routine. Hooping is fun, relatively inexpensive and can be done both indoors and out. Make 2017 the year for fitness and good health…and jump in the hoop!

    where can i buy hula hoops

    Hula hoops burst onto the toy scene in 1958, and since then generations have been wild about them. Who wouldn’t be? These colorful plastic hoops can be used for dancing, performance art, or simply having fun the the park. But it turns out that fun and entertainment aren’t all the hula hoop brings to the table--it’s also a great workout.

    For years, hula hoops were a popular children’s toy, but now they have become something people of all ages can use to have fun and get healthy. In fact, the Mayo Clinic has confirmed that hula hooping is an effective way to get your physical activity each day. This is great news for those of us who need to get fit, but hate logging hours at the gym or on the treadmill. Just put on some music and hoop my belly fat away? Sign me up!

    Once you decide to give fitness hooping a try, your first step should be finding a hoop (of course). But where do you start your search? We’ve got a few tips that just might help you being your hooping journey:

    where can i buy hula hoops

    Toys vs. Tools: A Quick Sidenote

    When you think of hula hoops, you think of toys, right? So why not head over to your nearest toy store and pick one up? The reality is that your standard toy hoop is quite a bit different than the fitness models available for today’s hooping adults. While the average hula hoop may suit your niece and nephew just fine, it’s not likely to get you the workout you’re looking for.

    Firstly, there’s the issue of size. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the average child is quite a bit smaller than the average adult! This means that hula hoops made for children aren’t likely to give an adult an effective core workout. Common knowledge says that the right sized hula hoop, when placed vertically on the ground, should reach the person’s belly button. As you become more advanced, you can make the hoop a bit smaller--but not as small as a child’s toy.

    The second issue with toy hoops is weight. One of the ways that hooping benefits the body is by weighting down the hoop itself, so the body has to work harder to keep it spinning. Most fitness hoops range between one and two pounds, but a toy hoop is only a measly two ounces! Without that extra weight, you simply won’t see the results you want from your hooping routine.

    Old-Fashioned Fitness: Sporting Good Stores

    Hooping’s rise in popularity has not gone unnoticed by the fitness industry. As a result, your standard sporting good stores (where you might by tennis rackets or running shoes) are starting to sell fitness hoops too! This can be a great place to start for a new hoop-enthusiast; you can try out the store’s selection right there and make certain you find a hoop that helps you reach your fitness goals.

    Of course, the selection at a sporting goods store won’t be quite as varied as a specialty store. You may miss out on certain sizes, weight levels, or even specific colors. Once you’ve found the right size for you, or once your starter hoop isn’t challenging enough, you’ll likely want to check out a store that specializes in hula hooping for exercise. Brick-and-mortar hula hooping stores are hard to come by (though who knows what the future holds), so to find the perfect hoop for you, you may have to go digital.

    where can i buy hula hoops

    Add to Cart: Online Stores

    The internet has revolutionized everything, from the way we make friends to the way we shop. With a few simple clicks, our everyday necessities (and even a few luxuries) are sent straight to our homes from shops all over the world. It’s hardly a surprise, then, that one great place to get the perfect fitness hoop is in an online store.

    Online shopping means that you can compare different shops, different styles, and differents sizes at home, quickly and while wearing your pajamas. Do you want a weighted hoop for an extra tough workout? A collapsible hoop you can take with you to the office?

    You could even custom order your hoop, making it as unique as you are. With an online shop that specializes in fitness hoops, you are more likely to get a piece of exercise equipment that you can use to great effect.

    What are you waiting for? Now’s the time to buy a hoop!

    hoola hoop workout

    For many individuals who aren’t accustomed to a regular fitness routine, exercise is intimidating. What if you look ridiculous? You aren’t even sure what an elliptical even looks like--let alone how to use one. Not only that, but what if you aren’t in the shape you want to be in yet? The gym can be swimsuit season on steroids--especially at the beginning of the year when it’s the most crowded.

    Adopting a consistent fitness routine should never elicit fear, self-loathing or anxiety. And exercising does not require a gym membership. The simplest way to stay in shape is to adopt an exercise routine that is so much fun, you’ll want to be exercising all day!

    Enter the hoola hoop. Or hula hoop (as it can be spelled both ways!). Hooping is a fun, easy and budget-friendly form of fitness. The hoola hoop workout has become so en vogue that celebrities have adopted the hoop as their latest, greatest piece of fitness equipment.

    Beyoncé—yes, THE Beyoncé—hoops to maintain her physique. First Lady Michelle Obama hoops. Perfectly quirky indie it-girl Zooey Deschanel opts for the hoop. Even Shaq hoops beyond the basketball court.

    Celebrate a new year by grabbing a hoop and beginning a hoola hoop workout for a healthier happier new year and new you!

    Hooping is simple!

    Anyone can hoop! Grandparents, young kids, millennials. Even if the hips can’t move well, use the hoop in other ways. Hoops are versatile. Jump rope with them. Use them on the legs. Or the arms. Hoops can hoop anywhere on the body!

    Hooping burns calories…fast!

    Yes, everything we do burns calories. But hooping burns LOTS of calories, without the dedication of a ton of time. Hooping can burn up to seven calories a minute, or 210 calories per half-hour workout. Hooping works the body and gets the heart pumping. And hooping has been shown to be a great workout for weight control. So hoop it up!

    Hooping is low impact for joints.

    Hooping is a relatively low impact exercise, so knees and leg joints won’t take a brutal beating. Unlike running or even brisk walking, which requires the feet and legs to quite literally pound at the pavement, hooping can be done on carpet or anywhere with the space to move.

    Hooping helps cinch the waist.

    Hooping helps tone and trim the core. The muscles used to keep the hoop in rotation may become stronger through regular hooping. And some studies have shown that hooping may help trim waist and hip size.

    hoola hoop workout

    Hoop for relaxation.

    Hooping can be both a form of fitness and a form of relaxation at the same time. The rhythmic motions of rotating the hoop can keep the mind focused and mindful. Hoop for stress relief and to move the mind from negative thoughts, worries or to help loosen up after a bad workday.

    Hooping lifts the spirits.

    It’s easy to smile while hooping, because the hoola hoop is pure joy! Hoops are so much fun and spark smiles on so many faces that Hoola for Happiness, a non-profit organization in Tampa, Fla., sends hoops around the world. According to the organization: “The hoop may seem like just a silly child’s toy, but it is an incredibly powerful “joy magnet” for transcending language barriers, introducing joy where hope has been lost, creating pockets of light in darkness, and releasing freedom for bodies and souls.” Hoola hoops can and have changed lives.

    Hooping improves coordination.

    Hooping may go above and beyond just one hoop. When the body is required to spin multiple hoops at once on different places on the body, focus and coordination are vital. Over time and with lots of practice, a hoola hoop workout pro can move with multiple hoops. Going from one to two or more hoops pushes the body to fine-tune gross motor abilities and improves coordination.

    Hooping helps hit the recommended weekly fitness guidelines.

    Every person needs fitness. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults need “at least 150 minutes (or 2 hours and 30 minutes) each week of moderate intensity aerobic exercise” and strengthening exercises on two days per week. A half hour each day of hooping provides the minimum daily requirement of aerobic exercise needed for a healthy lifestyle.

    Begin 2017 by adopting a hoola hoop workout routine for a healthier lifestyle. Not only is hooping fun, but hoola hoop workouts are also the “it” fitness obsession for many of Hollywood’s A-list stars. Find a happier, healthier new you and…jump in the hoop!

    hula workout

    The movements of hula are native only to Hawaii. Once only performed by men to honor the gods, hula is now divided into two types of dance: the ancient art--Hula Kahiko--and the more modern interpretation of hula known as Hula Auana

    Modern hula is the form most tourists have come to recognize, with its floral printed or grass skirts, leis and female dancers. However, Hula Kahiko is the ancient and religious-based art that has been passed down through generations. It was this ancient art of hula—the historic hula—that was suppressed as the Hawaiian culture was bent to modern times.

    hula workout

    Today, ancient and modern hula traditions are celebrated and honored across the Hawaiian Islands. Both Hula Kahiko and Hula Auana are performed on the islands and hula continues as a venerated tradition of Hawaiian culture. The beauty of the modern Hula Auana is so revered by those who have watched the dance that it has been adopted beyond Hawaiian culture and even integrated into fitness routines.

    hula workout

    Hula’s movements are graceful, flowing and elegant and reminiscent of the tides of the ocean that surround the islands. The beauty of the dance and the intricacies of the movements also provide dancers with a workout that matches many dance fitness routines. Movements of the pelvis and hips are integral to hula, and these movements help chisel the core.

    Hula fitness may incorporate a hula hoop or the dance may serve as its own form of fitness. Channel the traditions of Hawaii with these fantastic Hula-inspired fitness routines:

    Hula Workouts with Hoops

    Hula was never danced with a hoop, but keeping the hula hoop in rotation requires mastering hip motions similar to dancing the hula.  Hooping tones and strengthens the body without the pronounced rigor of a typical fitness routine. Staying fit with a hoop doesn’t feel like work, but the body still reaps the benefits.

    There are numerous fitness routines that incorporate the hula hoop. Before branching into a full-blown workout routine with the hoop, the basics of hooping must be mastered. Learning to keep the hoop in motion is simple, but can be a bit tricky for some individuals.

    1.    Basic Hooping for Fitness

    Beginners should always learn with a larger or heavier hoop. While a weighted hoop is easier for controlling the rotation, keep weight size to a minimum so the body doesn’t become overexerted. Typically, heavier weights are used by individuals who want more resistance in a hoop workout.

    Hooping novices should learn to hoop around the waistline, where the hoop is controlled the easiest. Hip and waist movements keep the hoop in motion, and beginning workouts should focus on keeping the hoop in motion at longer intervals.

    hula workout

    2.    Hoop Dance Fitness

    Once the basics are understood, move on to more challenging hoop workouts. Discover ways to incorporate modern dance with the hoop for a rigorous cardio boost. Christabel Zamor with World Dance New York teaches one of the best modern dance hoop fitness routines. Zamor’s instructional videos can be downloaded via multiple channels.

    Looking for free hooping inspiration? Check out Deanne Love’s Hoop Dance Workout tutorial that will help burn more than 200 calories per half hour of hooping. Love is masterful with the hoop and offers video instruction to teach numerous hoop movements...all of which work the body.

    3.    Hoop Acrobatics

    Hooping for fitness goes beyond the basics of hip movements and dance. The hoop can be rotated anywhere on the body, and each crazy motion offers its own unique benefit. Challenge the body to rotate two hoops at once. Don’t focus only on the waistline, however. Try rotating around the hips and the waist at the same time. For more resistance and a heavy workout, use weighted hoops. The body should feel the burn!

    Drop the Hoops…Focus on the Hula!

    Learning to hula takes time and patience, as the movements involve coordination of the hands and arms and the movements of the hips and waist.

    4.       Find a Local Hula Studio or Instructor

    Beyond the islands, the love and appreciation of the Hula has thrived. There are hula instructors across the country, and, in many areas, there also are Hula societies who are dedicated to serve as the hula hub for their areas. Individuals located in the Midwest who are looking for instructors or resources can visit the Association Group Members list via the Hula Association of the Midwest. The Kumu Hula Association of Northern California also serves as a resource for those interested in Hula.

    hula workout

    5.       Learn virtually!

    For individuals who want to learn to Hula but lack a local instruction, online resources remain the best source of instruction. Find videos and numerous resources about the Hula on HulaDanceHQ.com. The site includes videos for Hula instructions for kids, videos focused on learning the dance steps and guidance on mastering the hand and arm movements.

    Those looking to step up the benefits of the dance by integrating the movements into a fitness routine may gravitate towards the Island Girl Workout. The instructional video is taught by instructor Kili Kilihune and focuses on the abs and the “buns.”

    Capturing the beauty and history of Hawaii, the Hula is an art form that combines alluring footwork, graceful arm and hand gestures and rhythmic hip movements for a dance that is purely paradise. Use hoops for a unique hula fitness routine or learn the art of the dance to appreciate and reap the blissful body benefits.

    New year, new fitness goals! Now that January is here, it’s time to reconsider your fitness routine. It’s time to commit to a hula hoop!

    Why is everyone so excited about hula hooping? You may not believe this (or maybe you do because you’re already an avid hooper) but hula hooping is a workout that’s actually fun! With so many added cardio benefits (burning more calories per minute than other forms of exercise), we know adding a hula hooping challenge to your new year’s resolution is just what you need to freshen up your 2017 workouts.

    This year, begin a fitness journey that brings results. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your favorite hoop and get ready to challenge the body to complete a year-long month-to-month hooping challenge.

    JANUARY:

    The Beginning: Waist Rotations

    Are you a hooping newbie? If you’ve never grabbed a hoop in your life—even as a child—now is the time to learn. Hooping is easy, but it takes time and practice. The first moves you need to learn are the simple waist rotations. The goal is simple: keep the hoop in motion.

    Practice moving the hips around to feel the movement of the body, then introduce the hoop. Find a comfortable rotation and work on keeping the hoop in motion around the waist and hips. The bigger or heavier the hoop, the easier it will be to keep the hoop in motion.

    The Pro-Hooper: More Hoops!

    Savvier hoopers start the year with a tougher challenge. (You will need extra hoops!) This month, double up on the hoops. No, not two hoops on the mid-section. Try a hoop around the waist and one on the leg or arm. The goal is to rotate both hoops at the same time. Keep the leg out or leave the foot on the floor, but both hoops must rotate. Challenge the body to hold the rotations for as long as possible, and increase the time duration with each hooping session.

    FEBRUARY

    Beginners Level Up

    This month, beginners should double the hooping fun with two hoops instead of one. Try rotating both hoops around the midsection at the same time. Opt for heavier hoops if you need more control. Both hoops must remain in motion. With each hooping session, try to keep rotations lasting longer and longer. The more you work at it, the better the body will become at hooping!

    Hoop Enthusiasts…Hoop with a Partner

    Double up on the hoopers this month. Grab a friend, a family member or just another like-minded hooping enthusiast and invite them into the hoop! Partner hooping typically involves “interlacing arms” and is less about body rotation and more about orchestrated, precise choreography. To learn step-by-step instructions for simple partner hoop twists, check out Steve Bags’ video tutorial.

    MARCH

    Perfect the Leg Hoop!

    The waist rotation has been mastered; now learn to twirl the hoop around the legs. To make the hoop easier to maneuver, many trainers recommends practicing in shorts because, as she states to viewers, “Hoops love bare skin!” The legs must be able to wiggle to move the hoop, which makes this is a move that can take years to master!

    APRIL

    Hip Hooping

    Hip hooping works the core, the hips and the buttocks. For beginners, the trick is mastering the rotation of the hoop around the hips.

    To hoop on the hips, step into the hoop and hold the hoop around the waist. Expert hoopers Kamala and Hannah recommend in their how-to video to imagine that the hips are attached to the hoop by a string. They suggest that new hoopers practice hip movements while holding the hoop. When you feel comfortable with hip rotations, incorporate the hoop. Unlike the waist, which is a natural groove in the body, the hips are a bit rounder and trickier for hooping. However, the revolution of the hips keeps the hoop in motion.
    Hoopers who have mastered the hip movements should focus their routine on endurance. Consistently keep the hoop in motion for longer durations. Hip hooping offers great toning benefits for the body…so stick with it! And move those hips. Channel Elvis, if you must!

    MAY

    Heads-Up for Head Hooping!

    There are many online videos that can teach head hooping. For hoopers, head hooping is usually done near the forehead. However, like most techniques in hooping, there isn’t one right way of hooping on the head. The key is rotation. Play around with the hoop and find an area of the head that feels the most comfortable. Then focus on rotating the hoop around the head and keeping the hoop in motion. Don’t exert the neck…you don’t want to pull a muscle.

    Hoopers who know this move should focus on incorporating the head hoop in other ways. Try head hooping while rotating hoops around the waist and hips. Or, if you’re brave, channel the talents of Moises Olmedo and head hoop while riding a bike!

    JUNE

    Go for a Hoop Swim!

    This month, take the hoop to the pool! Underwater hooping is challenging and lots of fun. The resistance of the water also increases the physical benefits. Dive underwater and swim through the hoop. Work the body around the hoop and focus on keeping the hoop underwater at all times. The trick is that the hoop is naturally buoyant (unless you’re swimming with a weighted hoop). For inspiration, check out Kayla Frost’s underwater hooping magnificence.

    JULY

    Jumping for Joy in July!

    Combine hooping and jumping rope into one workout. Grab a hoop and use it as a jump rope.  Hold onto one end of the hoop and step through. With hands still on the hoop, keep the other end of the hoop behind your feet. Flip the hoop over the body…and JUMP! Weighted hoops will add extra resistance for a more challenging workout. If you really want to challenge your skills, try jump-throughs.

    AUGUST

    An Arm and a Leg.

    Hoops can spin anywhere on the body. This month, try spinning the hoop around the arm or around one leg. Practice maneuvering the hoop so that it stays in motion without flailing the limbs in an erratic motion. Hoop movements should be smooth and, when mastered, should appear almost effortless. Once the maneuvers are perfected, grab two hoops and rotate on both the arm and the leg at the same time! Be careful not to fall!

    SEPTEMBER

    Two for the (HOOP) show!

    This month, hoopers must rotate one hoop on the hip and one on the waist at the same time. Prepare to work the body. Rotating two hoops at once takes practice, skill and patience. The body must be in constant motion to keep the hoops in motion. Remember to make sure the pelvis is in line with the rest of the body…otherwise your hoops might fall! After mastering both hoops, boost the endurance by hooping for longer intervals.

    OCTOBER

    Weigh it Down.

    This is the month to try a weighted hula hoop, because this month’s challenge amps up a basic hoop workout by adding weights. Incorporating weights into your hoop routines aids in toning the core and also strengthens other muscles. Weighted hoops are easier to maneuver in many aspects, but the resistance will leave you feeling the burn of a workout. When adding weighted hoops to any routine, be sure to add weight gradually. Like any weight training, build up reps and be careful not to shock or injure the body by pushing too much too soon!

    NOVEMBER

    Fancy Footwork

    The end of the year means learning to combine movements and hoop rotations. The “Jump, Jump Kick” maneuver is a cool hoop technique that has you literally jumping through a hoop and ends with jumping rope with the hoop all in one seemingly effortless swoop of the hoop. This move requires practice and coordination…and more practice! To see the move and learn it step-by-step, check out Mandi the Clown’s tutorial on Hooping.org.

    DECEMBER

    Dance and Hoop!

    The work and lessons of the past 11 months culminates in the final grand challenge. .Take all the moves you’ve learned and dance…with the hoop in rotation. Play a favorite song that makes you move, jump in the hoop and dance while rotating the hoop around the waist…then around the hips. Get crazy and confident and add more hoops! Spin your hoops with the beat and enjoy your body, the hoop and the joy of the holiday season!

    Yay, you did it! Pat yourself on the back for taking on this insane hula hooping challenge. Which month did you think was the most challenging?

    Celebrities love the hula hoop! From First Lady Michelle Obama to Beyonce and even Zoey Deschanel, the hula hoop reigns supreme as an ab-tastic fitness regimen for the A-list crowd.

    Hula hooping burns about seven calories a minute, amps up the heart for a great cardio workout and helps trim down the waist. The benefits are numerous, which is why many trainers have encouraged celebrities to jump in the hoop.

    Losing inches is a major body perk of the waist-rotating workout, however swirling those hips around a hoop also helps nudge down the numbers on the scale.

    Kelly Osbourne, who serves as one of the judges on the show Project Runway Junior, credits hooping for helping her lose 70 pounds. In an interview with Self Magazine, Osbourne proclaimed her love of the hula hoop.

    “I have a Hoopnotica hula hoop. I use it every day, and it's made my back and arms stronger, and my waist has gone down 2 inches!” Osbourne said in her interview. “On Saturday nights my friends and I put on ridiculous outfits and hula-hoop and dance when everyone else is at 'da club.' We call it #HipHopAnonymous. Adam Lambert is in it. We live in the same building, and random people show up. The next morning you're like, 'Oh, my God, I'm so sore,' but you had the best night ever."

    Workouts with the hoop introduce hooping ingénues to a new world of physical fitness.  While the hoop is easy to use and the workout provides ideal results, new hoopers should keep a few things in mind when using the hoop for weight loss.

    Learn how to use the hoop as fitness equipment.

    Invest in a great hooping fitness DVD to learn how to use the hoop as a fitness tool. Basic hooping that you learned as a child provides benefits, but an instructional DVD will show how to integrate levels of fitness into the hoop. Of course, having a virtual instructor also helps, too!

    Open up the space.

    Hooping should be done in an open area for optimal room to maneuver. Remember, a hoop workout goes beyond simple waist rotations. Plenty of space will be needed to move with the hoop. When bad weather hits, make sure to have space inside to dedicate to the workout.

    Write a fitness plan.

    Many resolve to lose weight or maintain a better fitness plan, but few actually stick to the resolution until the end. Setting a big goal means setting a bunch of smaller goals. Write out a plan of fitness, and stick to it. Schedule workouts each week, but make the schedule attainable. Mark workouts on the calendar as you would any commitment. If a workout is missed, reschedule. Don’t give up on the goal!

    Hoop for both fun and fitness!

    Losing weight and physical fitness should not feel like a punishment. Remember, the hoop is also a toy in the eyes of many kids. The hoop was invented for fun! So motivate yourself to hoop by setting a positive upbeat mood during workouts. Like Osbourne, create your own workout #squadgoals. Be sure to include a fantastic soundtrack to get everyone moving. Grab The Pixies, some Rage Against the Machine, some Florence & the Machine…or even some Yeezy! Whatever music knocks your socks off, just play it loud!

    via GIPHY

    Hooping has become a favored fitness routine for many celebrities, and the results are enviable. Whether hoopers want to nip in the waistline, tone the abs or just feel the burn, the hoop provides a knock-out workout. As New Year’s approaches, set fitness goals to feel good and look good…and get ready to jump in the hoop!

     

    YouTube attracts millions of viewers daily with a seemingly infinite catalogue of videos. While the online video hub creates the perfect online diversion, the site also acts as an amazing visual reference for viewers who seek guidance and instruction on any given topic. YouTube offers both avid and amateur hoopers inspiration for new hooping routines, amazing demonstrations of hoop acrobatics and even how-to videos to introduce kids (and adults!) to the fun of the hoop.

    Hula hooping is much more than just rotating the hoop around the waist. Hooping includes acts of agility, challenging dance moves and feats of flexibility. Check out the best of YouTube’s hooping videos to discover new opportunities to get in the hoop:

    Best Kid’s Hooping Dance Video:

    Kids love hula hooping for the fun and silliness that hooping movements create. Challenge kids to go beyond the typical hoop routine by pulling up the best and most joyfully entertaining hooping video for kids on YouTube. Boasting almost nine-million views, the adorably sweet and happy animated character Bada Namu teaches kids new hooping dance routine in the video “Hoola Hoola Hooping.” Younger kids will love the character and the upbeat music, and even parents won’t be able to resist the temptation to dance along…because Bada has some crazy cool hoop moves! Dance, sing and hoop with Bada Namu!

    Most Amazing Solo Hoop Dance Video

    Rachel Lust masters the hoops in her video “Groove.” The video features Lust contorting her body with effortless ease as she positions the hoop. She amazingly rotates the hoop from her calves up her body while always keeping the hoop in motion. Her masterful movements reveal hoop skills that are worthy of study for those who want to take their routine to the next level. Set to Oiko’s techno-beat “Groove,” Lust’s moves are choreographed perfection.

    Most Hypnotic Hooping Video

    Turn out the lights and glow with the hoop. LED lights in hoops display a hypnotic effect as they spin in the dark. Perfect for music festivals like Ultra or Burning Man, LED hoops give dancers that techno touch as they spin and move. Hooper Lisa Lottie spins six LED hoops in her video and the result is an acrobatic hooping masterpiece that leaves viewers in a hypno-trance.

    Best Hooping How-To Video for Beginners

    Most adults learned to hula hoop as kids. The basics of the hoop seem simple…slip the hoop around the waist, wiggle the hips and keep the hoop in motion. However, the world of the hula hoop opens up to more complicated dance routines and challenging hoop moves. Never even picked up a hoop? Learn the very basics of hooping (start with the waist) with Deanne Love’s video “How to Hula Hoop for Total Beginners.” Once the basics have been mastered, learn from Love to use the hoop for a great workout with her video “Beginner Hoop Dance Workout.”

    The Hula-Hooping Cat Video

    A YouTube video compilation list is never complete without the inclusion of a cute cat video. And cats love hooping too, just in their own crazy way. The cat in this video goes insane inside a rainbow-hued hoop and even manages to keep the hoop in rotation.

    Use YouTube’s bottomless supply of videos to find new ways to explore the world of hooping. Learn new tricks, discover dance routines or master the basics. Wherever the video search leads, viewers will always uncover new and crazy ways to stay in the hoop.

    Avid hoopers who suffer from back injuries often wonder if the motions involved in hooping can add insult to injury and further damage or even reinjure susceptible problem areas. Activities using the hoop—and especially more intense hooping—cause the body to rotate the hips and the hips are connected to the spine. By rotating the hips and twisting the spine, individuals with a sore back or a back injury can exacerbate the issue.

    In an article for the The Arizona Republic,  J. Lucy Body, RN and CRN, stated that “hula hooping isn't appropriate for many individuals with pre-existing back problems, such as a herniated disc, low back pain or spinal fractures.” Individuals with back injury should step away from the hoop until they receive the ‘all clear’ from their own doctors.

    However, back soreness and/or stiffness might be different from an actual back injury, and the difference between injury and a simple ache makes a world of difference when using the hoop.

    For tight muscles in the back (not a back injury), the motion of hooping might help alleviate muscle tension caused from everyday strains like sleeping incorrectly or sitting for too long. According to an article on 3FC (or Three Fat Chicks on a Diet!), hooping actually helps improve spinal mobility as it “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.”

    A woman dances with her hoop in a studio. 

    So, can dance hoops cure back pain? It depends on the cause. Dedicated hoopers with back pain who absolutely cannot step away from their hoop addiction should follow a few helpful tips before hooping with back pain:

    Evaluate the pain.

    The spine is long, and it is important to figure out where the pain originates. Chronic back pain should be evaluated by a doctor before hooping. Back pain that is likely associated with sleeping positions might benefit from stretching or movement. However, never hoop if the pain increases or the body tightens. Always listen to the body and if pain does increase, call the doctor!

    Ease into a hooping routine.

    If the doctor has given the go-ahead for the hoop, take it slow. Hoop for short spurts and don’t aggressively work the body. Build up to a full-on hooping routine over a period of days or weeks. Also, if a back injury has led to physical therapy, inquire with the therapist if the hoop can be incorporated into therapy.

    Know that it’s ok to be timid.

    Returning to any exercise routine after an injury can be frightening. However, if a doctor has signed off on activity, understand that timidity is normal. The easiest way to conquer the fear is to just do it. Don’t let the fear hold you back, but be kind to your body.

    Back pain or any pain associated with an injury causes hesitation in physical activities. Individuals who love hooping naturally feel fear when re-entering their favorite pastime after an injury or when having tenderness or pain. However, if a doctor has approved the return to exercise and hooping, then hooping may continue without concern. Listen to the body and always stop if movements cause pain. Otherwise, have fun and stay in the hoop!

    Too often, the misconception that fitness equates with personal trainers, gym memberships, and expensive equipment keeps many on the couch and out of motion. How much you’re making (or saving for holiday shopping) should have little to do with the ability to exercise and maintain an active lifestyle. The body was made to move!

    Ditch the need for the perfect athleisure image and instead embrace frugal fitness. There are countless ways to stay in shape, tone the body and increase strength without maxing out the credit cards. Here’s our favorite exercise gear that’s sure to please your budget:

    Jump Ropes

    Remember how Rocky Balboa trained for a big fight? Yes, he ran up 72 stairs to the top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and punched frozen meat...but he also brought out the jump rope! Jump roping is great cardiovascular exercise, which is likely why it is forever linked to a campaign benefitting the American Heart Society. Not only does jumping rope get the heart pumping, but jump ropes also are relatively easy on the pocketbook. Snag one up for about $5 or buy a weighted rope for under $20 at a department or sporting good store.

    Weights

    When working out at home, small weights make routine exercises more challenging and help tone muscles. Small weights to tone arms retail for under $10 for five-pound weights. Leg weights for toning exercises or to use during brisk walks are under $20, but can get a bit pricier based on weight, brand and design. Regardless, purchasing small weights for home are a steal when compared to the price of a gym membership.

    Hula Hoops

    Hula hooping is fun and a great cardio workout for all members of the family. Grab a hoop to move the body and tone the core. Travel hula hoops from Hoopnotica cost under $20 and make a great gift for friends or relatives who want the benefits of fitness without joining a gym. Buy one for yourself, too, for a little workout fun!

    Fitness or Yoga Balls

    Fitness or yoga balls help improve balance and can be used in a number of ways during workouts. Use the ball to learn new positions in yoga or use it to help tone the abs during workouts. The Mayo Clinic offers a great visual resource online for individuals interested in toning the core with a fitness ball. For about $20, the ball provides a vast number of ways to engage in a fun and satisfying workout. Expectant moms can even use the ball while laboring.

    Pedometer

    FitBits may be all the rage, but they also are extremely pricey for those on a budget. Another way to track steps and make sure to hit the 10,000-step mark is to buy a simple pedometer. A basic pedometer ranges in price, but usually start at around $5. Find one that suits your lifestyle and budget and start tracking those steps!

    Physical fitness isn’t a luxury, it’s a responsibility. Everyone can afford fitness, and some of the best athletic gear for workouts can be purchased for a small price. Making a small investment in athletic and fitness gear reaps a huge return on wellness and physical health and your body will thank you.