Hula hooping has been known since ancient times. Lately it has gradually become popular again, this time as a fun and effective workout combining both aerobic and weight training routines. During an hour of hula hooping, you can burn from 400 to 500 calories, the same amount you will burn if you spend an hour on a treadmill. However, for most people hula hooping is much more enjoyable activity than running on a treadmill.
To perform basic hula hooping, you need to put one foot in front of the other. Put your hoop against your back at the waist level and give it a push to start rotating. Begin rocking back and forth shifting your weight from one foot to the other. That technique is more effective than trying to rotate your hips. Give yourself some time to master the movement. Remember, anybody can do hula hooping regardless of their weight, sense of balance and overall fitness level.
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.
Core muscles (abdominal and back) are the muscles responsible, in part, for the right alignment of the spine. These muscles need to be able to work for a long period of time, as opposed to the fast movers like the ones we use for short movements such as standing up. If core muscles are not strong enough, they will eventually get tired and stiffen. Obviously, that will affect your spine flexibility. Since hula hooping increases core muscle strength, it also increases spine flexibility.
Hula hooping provides gentle massage of the abdomen and back. Massage increases blood flow to muscles, which helps with oxygen supply and waste elimination which in turn makes core muscles stronger. It also can slightly realign the spine, which improves spinal flexibility and can help with the lower back pain as well.
Hula hooping is a very meditative experience. The rhythm, the rocking and the rotation of the hoop causes relaxation and initiates deep breathing. Deep breathing provides your body with even more oxygen. With ample supply of oxygen, your core muscles and spinal discs tend to heal themselves as needed which helps keep your spine flexible.
Hula hooping has additional benefits. It helps you to lose weight, tone and strengthen your core muscles, strengthen your joints and improve your balance. Keep in mind that in order to get all benefits of hula hooping, it is important to have the right hoop. The hoops which are sold in regular stores are too light and small. Your hoop should reach between your waist and your chest while it is standing in front of you and its weight can be from 2 to 5 pounds. The heavier the hoop, the slower it rotates and the easier it is to control.