How to begin your workout - I spend 10 minutes at the beginning of my workout stretching out and practicing balancing tricks using the hoop. Then I kick it into full gear for about 40 minutes until about 10 minutes before the end of my 1-hour workout, when I stretch out again and practice a few more balancing tricks, always using the hoop. It is much easier to stretch out near the end of your workout since your muscles are warmed up and you have more flexibility. Start with a short workout and build up to a longer Hooping workout. Always check with a doctor before beginning any new exercise program if you have been inactive.
Benefits of Hooping - Between trying to keep the hoop going, watching other people hoop and listening to upbeat music, you forget you are getting a GREAT workout! "Hooping" will get your heart pounding if you keep it going for even 10 minutes! It's an excellent aerobic workout especially when you keep your arms moving at the same time. Besides getting the blood pumping, it strengthens the stomach, back, hips, shoulder, arm and leg muscles. Agility, balance and coordination are also improved from Hooping.
Where to find a hoop - You can't enjoy this hobby without a quality hoop! I wasn't happy with what I found in retail stores or online, so I did some research and learned how easy and inexpensive it is to make my own hoop. Since then I've been making many hoops, not only for myself, but also for my students. I sell them for $12/each. I teach classes in "Making your own Hula Hoop". Receive invites to all of my classes by registering for my free "Hooping" enewsletters at www.liveandthrive.com.
Hooping with others - Hooping by yourself is OK but hooping with others is a LOT more fun! It's fun to watch others try to keep their hoops going. That alone can be great entertainment! I love having "hoop wars". You do that by hooping close to another person without touching them. The first one to drop their hoop is the loser.
Finding a class - Go to liveandthrive.com and sign up for my Free Hula Hoop eNewsletter and receive invites to my upcoming classes. You'll also receive invites to the "Build your own Hula Hoop" classes.
What to wear - Avoid wearing loose clothing or accessories i.e. sweatshirts, jackets, belts, scarves, etc. Especially around your waist and hip area there should be no hoop distractions or obstacles, otherwise, it will make it difficult to keep the hoop going. Also wear lightweight clothing since it won't take long before your blood is pumping and you are heating up!
Kinds of music to use - For a warm up and cool down portion of my workout, I like something slower, peaceful and more soothing, so it reminds me to move slower and relax. When I get into the "meat" of my workout, I like a strong dance beat, especially Latin dance music!
Who can hoop - All ages and abilities can learn to hoop OR even have fun with a hoop! My two and four year old grandsons love going through the tunnel as I hold it up for them. Adults who are carrying a lot of weight around the waistlines will still benefit, even if they can't "hoop". Students who come to my class, who couldn't keep their hoop going, have inspired me. Instead of going home depressed, they put their hoop on the ground and step in and out of the hoop, creating their own simple workout to fit their own abilities. Younger children should use a smaller, lightweight hoop than adults. Females seem to hoop better than males because of the hip movement, which comes more naturally to women but it's a great workout for men or women. Hoop inside your home or outside. Hoop anywhere you can create an open space and you aren't running into each other.
Does it get boring after a while - Not for me! I keep it exciting and interesting by using a variety of tricks, stretches, balancing acts and moves during my 1-hour class. You will be amazed by all the moves you can do from using a hoop!
Is it hard to learn how to hoop? Once you learn the basic technique of hooping, it's just like anything else in life, the more you practice, the better you get.
Do you have to be skinny to keep it going around your waist? I'm far from skinny, especially around my waist and I have no problem keeping a hoop going for an hour without stopping. It just takes practice and it will build up your stomach muscles. I am a mother and a grandmother, so if I can do it, so can you!!