Hula hooping has steadily regained its once lost popularity in America. However, it returned in a slightly different way - as a good workout for the whole body. Using heavier and bigger hoops (35 to 42 inches in diameter and 2 to 5 pounds), you can get both aerobic and toning exercise in a fun, creative way. The effect of the workout is intensified by the massaging action of the hoop.
Getting the Right Hoop
To get the right hoop for your exercise needs you may need to spend about $20 or more, either by purchasing a hoop over the Internet or in a specialized sport's store. Most hula hoops that are sold at popular retail outlets are too light and small for a serious workout. To choose the right size, put the hoop in front of you on its side. It should reach between your navel and your chest. But if you have a big waist, the hoop should be bigger. The bigger and heavier the hoop, the slower it will rotate and the easier it will be to keep it going around your waist. However, a big, heavy hoop can be difficult to use to perform arm and leg exercises.
Waist and Hips Toning
Basic exercise, rotating the hoop around your waist, is the easiest to do. Put one foot in front of another. Put yourself in the center of the hoop. Gently push the hoop around your waist and start shifting your weight from one foot to another. Don't try to rotate your hips - it will make exercise more difficult. Try rotating the hoop in both directions and choose the one that is more comfortable for you.
This exercise will strengthen your core muscles, the ones between your chest and your hips. Strengthening of the core gives you a smaller waist and a flatter stomach. Fitness experts agree that hula hooping provides more abdominal strength benefits than crunches, because the movement involves more muscles and is more natural for the body.
This exercise also will work your butt and hips. To intensify the effect on hips and butt try to let the hoop go low on your hips and than back up.
Arms and Legs
After you master the basic exercise, you can add exercises for your arms and legs. Rotating the hoop around your arm will strengthen your shoulders. If you want to work on your biceps and triceps, rotate the hoop around your forearm. You can experiment with angles and the position of your arms and legs to get different muscles involved.
Back and Neck
Rotating the hoop around your neck will tone your neck and back muscles, especially the ones that you rarely use. It will help your balance and increase the flexibility of your spine at the same time. This exercise is more complicated than the others and might take some time to master.