The perfect home-based exercise
During the first lockdown I rather enjoyed the enforced laziness. I am a gym member, but I don’t really love it. After a while though, I noticed that while I didn’t miss weights and running on the treadmill, I did miss the classes, and the rush of endorphins that followed. Then one day while idly flicking through YouTube videos I came across a ‘hula fitness’ workout. It looked fun. I grabbed one of my daughter’s neon hula hoops and had a go. Much harder than it looked but I enjoyed it. The next afternoon I had another go and my teenage daughter joined in. We laughed a lot (which was a bonus as anyone who has a teenage daughter will acknowledge) and afterwards we investigated hula fitness a bit more.
Hula hooping is inexpensive, and you can do it practically anywhere, which was kind of the point back in lockdown. All you need to get started is a hoop and room to move.
Standard hula hoops are cheap as chips but after a few sessions we invested in weighted ones. Even they didn’t break the bank. Ours cost about £15 each but even the more expensive ones were only £40. It is important to find the right-sized hoop. Larger hoops are a little easier as a beginner because you spin more slowly. If using a weighted hoop, begin with a lighter one (around 0.5-1kg) and increase the weight as you get more proficient. Correct form is more important than weight, and I did have a little accident where I pulled a muscle in my back for a few days because, in my enthusiasm, the first hoop I bought was too heavy.
There are a few online tutorials that talk you through how to hula hoop with proper form. To my delight I found our gym offered a beginner’s online hula fitness class, so we signed up for that.
With hula hooping, you teach your body how to move the right way with the hoop while working your cardiovascular system. Shorter workouts are better at the start. We started with two ten-minute sessions a day and worked up from there.
Basic form and posture
Feet should be a little more than shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly in front of the other. Your back should be straight, and your core engaged to protect your back. Hold each side of the hoop around your waist, resting against your back.
With the hoop against your back, start spinning the hoop in whichever direction you find easiest. As the hoop starts to spin, move your waist in a circular motion to keep the hoop moving. Push your hips slightly forward as the hoop moves across your stomach and push back when the hoop moves across your back. Keep the core muscles engaged and tummy tight.
If the hoop drops just pick it up and get going again.
If you have a back injury or chronic back pain, check with your doctor or physical therapist before trying hula hooping to make sure it’s safe for you.
By Tracey Anderson