Every year a new fitness craze fills the dance studios, community centres and sports halls of the nation. You may have tried Bokwa, Poundfit, Prancercise, Clubbercise, Burlesquercise, but did you know that hula hooping has made the transition from children’s toy, to circus act, to a super fun hobby and a full body work out. You can find hoop fitness classes, hulaerobics, hoopdance and tricks classes for adults all over the world. You can get an all over workout and learn a new skill, one which can leave you sweating, laughing, possibly bruised, and looking forward to more.
What does hula hooping do for you?
I spoke to hula hoop enthusiasts Vannessa Wade, CEO of Connect the Dots PR, Charlotte Moore, freelance copyrighter and PR specialist, and John Parnell, registrar, entertainer, hula hoop instructor at The Hoop Guy and hula hooping grandad to see why they started hula hooping and what it does for them.
“I laugh the entire time! It hopes me relax and lose control in a good way. An increase in energy is a plus!” - Vannessa Wade
“It’s really good fun while working your core and I don’t say that about doing crunches!” -Charlotte Moore
“It’s just a great relaxing feeling in your own personal space, protected by your circle” -John Parnell.
Hula hooping is an effective form of whole body exercise
It raises the heart rate, gets you sweating, and is low impact so suitable for most people. The weight of the hoops provide resistance and tone up and strengthen muscles – and we don’t just hoop on our waists. We hoop on hands, arms, knees, thighs, chest, shoulders, necks, elbows, and even noses!
Using a combination of hooping on different parts of the body, and moves that are performed off body by manipulating the hoop in your hands, you can work many different muscle groups in a low impact, fun session to music.
What gives hula hooping extra value for a work out session, is that as you are learning a new skill and using both sides of your body, you are giving you brain an effective work out too. Hula hooping also improves balance, posture, co-ordination, flexibility, and spatial awareness. A suprising side effect of hooping is the self-confidence it gives you, and the increase in self-esteem.
As a hula hoop instructor, it is no surprise to me that more and more adults are opening their eyes to hula hooping as a means to keep fit. It is something that you can do alone, in a class, with a group of friends, with your children, and you do not need to pay monthly fees, pay for a weekly class, buy expensive footwear or a lot of equipment. A one off investment of round £20 will get you an adult sized hula hoop, and that is all you need to get started. Anyone can do it, with the right sized hula hoop. If you are not sure what size hoop you need, take a look at this guide to choosing a hula hoop.
You don’t need any hula hoop or dance background, and it doesn’t matter if you couldn’t do it when you were a kid. Really! You even can enjoy hula hooping watching TV.
I bought my own pro hoop after a month of classes and happily hoop my way through an episode of House of Cards once a week! -Charlotte Moore
“I was 52 when I started, and I had never been able to hoop before in my life, not even as a kid!”-John Parnell
One of the parks in town offered a class so I grabbed my cousins and went! Like me, they joined in laughing, playing, enjoying and of course showing off. - Vannessa Wade
Why has the hula hoop gained so much popularity recently?
Celebrities such as Michelle Obama and Grace Jones have been pictured hula hooping, and it has also been a regular feature on the TV talent shows. In the UK during the Olympics, the BBC featured a hula hoop challenge every morning. Athletes were interviewed while hula hooping, and the BBC featured videos sent in by the public of themselves hula hooping. And with the power of social media, hula hooping videos such as this one from Rachael Lust have gone viral and inspired new hula hoopers to pick a up a hoop all over the world.
Once you start hooping and realise how much fun it is, it’s hard to put down! It is a license to play, just like you did as a child. As Vannessa said:
“When I see a hula hoop I want to get involved. I want to actually play and that's something we stop doing as adults.”
As a professional hula hooper John Parnell has seen first hand what has made hula hooping so popular for adults in recent years. He has been hula hooping for 10 years, and was one of the pioneers of modern hula hooping or hoopdance in the UK and has taught thousands of people how to hula hoop.
“For me, the best part of hooping is seeing that smile when you show someone how to do it, they get it, and you see that confidence shine through.” - John Parnell
A form of exercise that makes you feel happy in yourself, confident, sweaty, strong and learning new things every time you do it is a powerful combination, and it’s no wonder that more and more adults are getting hooked! If you are thinking of giving it a go, then just do it! You won’t regret it. You can get in touch if you need any help in finding a class in your area via my website, Facebook or Twitter.
Rachel Conlisk manufactures adult hula hoops and teaches weekly hula hoop classes in the West Midlands, you can buy a hula hoop online and find details of all the hula hoop classes in Birmingham and the West Midlands on her website www.spinsonicentertainment.com. Like Spinsonic Entertainment on Facebook for hoop class news, videos and free tutorials. @spinsonichoops on Twitter and Instagram.