The abdominal, low back, pelvic and upper leg muscles make up the “core” muscles. They provide strength necessary for the agility and speed required for most sports.
"Hooping" as a fitness activity dates back to ancient cultures. The hula hoop first became popular in the 1950s. It is now part of a resurgent movement that includes informal groups and organized classes of adults and children.
The current iteration of the hula hoop consists of approximately 11 feet of ¾-inch PVC tubing sometimes filled with sand or water for added weight.
Participants gradually increase the amount of time while adding additional elements like light weights and running.
Stephanie Bennett is a certified hoop teacher at Centered Movement Hoops in Rhode Island. Participants in her classes are primarily women between the ages 7-75 years old, with the average being 34.
“Hula hooping is an alternative exercise that is not intimidating. The hoop merely provides a prop for an energetic workout,” said Bennett.
Bennett believes that a mind-body connection develops while hula hooping and this results in a meditative component to the workout.
Tami Renfro of Colchester is a registered nurse who gets together with a group of men and women after work to hoop. The group consists of nurses and other health workers who find it to be a good way to relieve stress. One member of their group lost 68 pounds since combining hula hooping with a diet.
“I have personally had fewer issues with low back pain and the laughter at our sessions is energizing,” said Renfro.
Rarely are terms like “refreshing,” “energizing” and “relaxing” used in association with a vigorous workout. Hula hooping is definitely something to explore.