Have you wondered what the benefits of hula hooping might be and where to start?
Well we have put together a list of all the hula hooping benefits out there, how to start, and the best safety tips to keep you hooping for longer. You may just be surprised at what you can achieve from what most of us remember as a childhood hobby!
In this article, we will cover:
- What is Hula Hooping?
- What is Weighted Hula Hooping?
- Benefits of Hula Hooping
- How To Get Started With Hula Hooping
- Safety Tips for Hula Hooping
- How to Find the Right Hula Hoop
Just before we begin, if you love the fun side of exercise and are a part of the fitness industry, why not up your game and take an exercise to music course here at OriGym? Or, if you’re looking to get started in the sector or progress in another area, check out our course prospectus and download here.
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What is Hula Hooping?
Hula hooping is simple, you grab yourself a plastic hoop, and you circle your hips in order to keep the hoop spinning around your body, just above your hips.
The aim of hula hooping is to keep the hoop up for as long as possible without letting it fall to the floor. You’ll probably remember hula hooping from your childhood, but there are so many health benefits of hula hooping that you may just want to take it up again.
The measurement of an adult hula hoop is typically around 40 inches in diameter and they are perfect for having some fun while getting fit. Many avid hula hoopers use the hoop on their waist, arms and even neck!
But among all of the fun, there are some great benefits of hula hoop exercise that you can get on board with to get fit.
What is Weighted Hula Hooping?
A weighted hula hoop is a hoop that weighs more than 1kg. This piece of equipment has many benefits that may wow you, and surprisingly, weighted hoops are easier to keep up and carry on spinning, meaning that they are actually better for beginners.
However, don’t be fooled, as this doesn't mean that the workout becomes any easier! Hula hooping requires plenty of energy, it's just that a lighter hula hoop requires much more effort than a weighted hoop, so you may find yourself tiring out slightly faster.
Due to the weighted hula hoop’s resistance, you’ll find that you should be able to keep the motion going for longer, increasing your endurance. This in turn might see you gaining more benefits of hula hooping by using a weighted hoop.
However, if you are a beginner, avoid picking a super heavy hoop as your first one. The benefits of weighted hula hooping are great, but if you pick one that’s too heavy right away without building up your endurance, it can throw your balance off and affect how you perform.
Now that you know a bit more about hula hoops, let's get stuck into answering ‘what are the benefits of hula hooping?.
Benefits of Hula Hooping
#1 It Works Your Core
One of the most popular and well-known exercise benefits of hula hooping is that it seriously works your core.
When you’re hula hooping, you’re keeping the hoop up by using your abdominal muscles, swinging your hips so that it doesn’t fall down. Moreover, your core must be engaged when you’re hooping, ultimately helping to build strong core muscles with consistent practice.
The more specific benefit of using a weighted hula hoop is that it targets your abs and obliques as the resistance that it adds makes them work harder. This scientific study looked at the benefits of hula hooping with a weighted hoop and found that not only can it increase the abdominal muscle mass, but also reduce fat percentage on the abdominals.
Check out our next benefit of hula hooping for fitness to see how else strengthening your core can impact your fitness, and, you can head over to our article on how to engage your core here for an in depth guide.
#2 It Improves Your Balance
Another great hula hooping health benefit is that it can improve your balance. This is because hula hooping strengthens your core muscles as we mentioned, which is essential for good posture and balance.
The benefits of hula hooping for balance are enhanced by the fact that in order to keep the hoop up, you need to concentrate on your balance and maintain good posture.
There are many ways you can incorporate exercises into your hula hooping to further improve your balance. You can try swaying from side to side to get used to the feeling, and then raising your foot off the ground, while hula hooping at the same time. Pushing yourself and varying movements is the only way to improve!
Not only will this target your balance, but you’ll also be working on your coordination! If you need help with improving your balance, read our reviews of the best wooden balance boards here.
#3 It’s Inexpensive
One of the benefits of hula hooping for fitness is that it can be a super cheap way to strengthen your core and get fit.
Weighted hula hoops can be found online starting at around £10, and you can grab them in very accessible places online, anywhere from Amazon to Argos. Another unique benefit of a weighted hula hoop is that you can find ones with weighted balls attached, which are great for beginners as it helps the hoop to stay up for even longer.
If you want the benefits of a hula hoop workout in a gym environment, check if there are hula hoop classes in your area.
These are a great way to burn more calories and have tons of fun while you hoop. There are also online classes such as these from HulaFit, perfect for rainy days or when you want to squeeze in a session on a busy day.
#4 It’s Adaptable
Another benefit of hula hooping is that it is super adaptable in that it doesn't just have to be a core exercise.
Not only can you hula hoop with your waist, but you can even use your arms to tone your triceps, biceps, and shoulders. Hula hooping is a great adaptable exercise, and it can target your whole body by performing various exercises.
You can even use hula hoops for exercises on the legs. This is great for anybody who wants or needs assistance when performing particular exercises, such as squats.
So, if working on your glutes is something you’re aiming for, you can grip the hula hoop at the top with your arms out in front of you and squat, pushing the hoop away. The possibilities are endless with a hula hoop, so be sure to try out different variations.
#5 It Improves Posture
Another benefit of using a weighted hula hoop is that it can improve your posture. By strengthening your core and the muscles in your back, hula hooping can assist in correcting any postural issues. This is particularly beneficial for anybody who has to sit down at work all day.
You’ll even see the benefits of hula hooping for 10 minutes a day, that's all it could take to begin improving your posture. If you’re working from home, you could even do a small session between meetings or when your back just needs a break.
Posture is massively important in day-to-day life, it can make you more confident, reduce fatigue, and create less tension in your back and shoulders. So not only is one of the benefits of hula hooping every day that it’s fun, but it can also improve your quality of life massively.
If you want to learn more about all the reasons why you should focus on improving your posture, head over to our article and read about the benefits of good posture now!
#6 It’s A Cardio Activity
A great benefit of using a weighted hula hoop, or even a regular hoop, is that it’s a cardio activity that’ll get your heart rate up and your blood pumping, making a great alternative to running miles on a treadmill.
As a low-impact cardio activity, one of the exercise benefits of hula hooping is that it puts minimal strain on your joints. Remember that low-impact doesn’t necessarily mean low-intensity, in fact a key benefit of hula hoop workouts is that they can make you sweat hard!
Cardio activities carry a whole host of benefits, including a stronger heart, stronger immune system, and improved mood. So hula hoop exercise benefits achieve much more than just strong abs.
We also have a useful article on cardio & aerobic exercise: benefits, risks and frequency here so you can learn a little more about why it is great to incorporate into your routine. Check out our next tip to see how the cardio health benefits of hula hooping can help you to achieve your goals.
#7 It Torches Calories
If you’re looking for the hula hoop benefits for weight loss, you’ll be pleased to know that you can be shedding pounds all thanks to a toy you may have sitting in your garage.
Hula hooping is a great exercise for burning some extra calories and sculpting your core muscles, and can burn anywhere from 350 to 400 calories per hour!
Along with burning calories, another benefit of weighted hula hooping is that it can help to reduce waist and hip size. This 2015 study found that women who hula hooped for 6 weeks lost an average of 3.4cm around their waist and 1.4cm around their hips, as well as a redistribution of body mass.
Another 2019 study found that hula hooping benefits included lowering body fat percentage significantly more than walking and that participants lost more inches around their waist when hula hooping. If you want to lose weight and get fit, this is one of the best benefits of hula hooping out there.
#8 It Improves Your Overall Health
A massive hula hooping health benefit is that it can decrease LDL cholesterol, known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol that clogs your arteries and increases your chances of a stroke.
Not only that, but as a cardio exercise, hula hooping can improve your heart health and lung health and lower your risk of diabetes. And it’s not just your physical health that hula hooping can improve.
Yes! There are even mental benefits of hula hooping
Another one of the benefits of hula hooping is that it can make you happier! Thanks to the practice of exercise releasing endorphins, you are likely to feel incredible after a workout. This can help to combat symptoms of anxiety and depression and creates a good routine to keep you busy.
If you’re taking part in exercise for mental benefits, read our article on the mental health benefits of running and maybe add a late night jog after hula hoop class!
#9 It’s Fun
As our final benefit of hula hooping every day, it is of course the fun nature of hula hooping!
Sometimes running or weight training can seem like a chore, but you can take part in hula hooping with others and even get kids sized hoops to have fun with the family.
Overall, the happiness induced from exercising adds to the fun, alongside the variations and fun games and activities you can do, equate to an exercise that feels like a hobby.
How To Get Started With Hula Hooping
In order to reap all of these wonderful benefits of hula hooping, first of all you have to get started! Here are some tips to help you out:
Pick your Hula Hoop
If you want all of the benefits of hula hooping, perhaps the most important thing to know is that you need to find the right hoop for you.
Larger hoops spin more slowly, so they’re better for beginners. However as a general rule of thumb, the hoop you choose should come between your waist and mid-chest when it’s resting on the ground.
If you want the benefits of using a weighted hula hoop, make sure you choose a lighter one if it’s your first, going in too heavy means you run the risk of getting injured.
Find A Tutorial
If you want the health benefits of hula hooping, check out a tutorial to see how to get started. While the way in which hula hoop works may sound self explanatory, it’s good to brush up on your technique to help prevent injury and maximise the benefits of hula hooping.
Take Your Hula Hoop for a Test Run
There are many benefits of a hula hoop workout, but before you begin, be sure to test out the hoop to see if it’s the right size and weight for you.
If you’ve ordered your hula hoop online, make sure you check their returns policy in case it turns out that it isn’t the right size or weight for you.
Safety Tips for Hula Hooping
As with any exercise, to really reap the benefits of hula hooping, you need to be staying as safe as possible. So, follow these tips to keep safe and help to prevent injuries:
Wear Slim-Fitting Clothes and Comfortable Shoes
When you want the benefits of hula hooping, wearing slim-fitting athletic clothes and comfortable shoes will reduce the risk of your clothes getting tangled in your hoop and make it easier for you to exercise.
Comfortable shoes also help with your posture and comfort when you’re hula hooping, but shoes are optional and are subjective to your preferences.
When beginning exercising with hula hoops, be cautious.
If you’re recovering from an injury or have a chronic condition, be extra careful. While being low impact is amongst the benefits of hula hooping, you still need to look after your joints and muscles so start with a light, large hoop and progress the same way you would when progressing in weight lifting.
Maintain Your Posture
This tip is essential when you want to see the aforementioned postural benefits of a hula hoop workout.
Plant your feet firmly, just wider than shoulder-width apart, and engage your core muscles even before you start hooping. When you start to spin the hoop, swing it clockwise if you’re left-handed, or counter-clockwise if you’re right-handed. Note that this isn’t a hard and fast rule – do whatever feels best for you!
If it is your core you’re working on, read our articles below for some handy tips and guides!
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How to Find the Right Hula Hoop
When you’re choosing the right hoop, there are a few different factors that you have to consider to gain the most benefits from hula hooping practice, so here are some factors to consider.
Do you want the benefits of using a weighted hula hoop, or are you happy with a light one? Remember that weighted hoops can be easier to keep up, but make sure to not overload yourself if you’re a beginner.
So to make your decision between the two, lighter hoops can make you work harder and burn those calories, but weighted hoops can tone and strengthen your abs and core more.
This depends mostly on your height. Hoops should come up to around your navel, but if you’re a beginner, you can opt for a bigger size as they can be easier to keep up. You can get all the benefits of hula hooping no matter what size of hoop that you use, as long as it’s comfortable for you.
Will you be taking your hula hoop to the gym or to outdoor classes?
If so, maybe you want a hula hoop that you can take apart for easier transportation. Some hula hoops can even be broken down into 6 pieces so that you can enjoy all the benefits of hula hooping from almost anywhere!
Can hula hooping slim your waist and tone your stomach?
It can! One study confirmed that one of the health benefits of hula hooping is a reduction in waist size, along with increased abdominal muscles and the reduction of bad cholesterol.
Hula hooping can also increase abdominal and trunk strength, as well as strengthening and toning the glutes and legs. If your goal is to tone your trunk, take your pick from our article on the best ab rollers to strengthen your core here!
This is because you’re keeping the hoop up with your hips and abs, and a major benefit of weighted hula hooping is the strength and tone that it brings to your abs and stomach.
This is certainly among the most useful benefits if you want to start hula hooping for weight loss purposes.
How many times a week should I hula hoop?
For the most part this is completely based on the time you have and dedication you practice. However there are recommendations provided by bodies that promote regular exercise.
The NHS guidance for example recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week, so when you want to see the benefits of hula hooping, try and aim for this target.
Splitting the workload up doesn't make this target sound too scary. For instance, you might do two hula hooping classes a week for 45 minutes each, and then half an hour at home for 4 days, which takes you up to 210 minutes of physical activity per week!
By making sure you get enough physical activity, you’ll be able to see the hula hooping exercise benefits more and sooner than you think.
Before You Go!
Whether you’re hoping to feel the benefits of hula hooping daily from consistent exercise, or just looking to ease in by taking weekly classes, you should now know how to hoop safely and enjoyably.
Be sure to keep these tips handy for when you’re starting hula hooping or when you need a refresher on how hula hooping can benefit your health. Just before you leave us, if you’re considering a career in the fitness industry and think you could be the leader of your next hula hoop class, check out our level 2 gym instructor course here.
Or, you can browse through all of the courses we have on offer in our downloadable prospectus here.