A Hula-Hoop® is a plastic toy hoop that is twirled around the waist or hips. Hula-Hoop® fitness refers to using the hoop as part of a cardiovascular workout. It is estimated that a person can burn 300 to 600 calories during a one-hour Hula Hoop® fitness session. Keeping the hoop in motion is also a good core exercise, helping to tone the abdominal muscles, hips, and lower-back.
To workout with a hoop, a person must first be able to keep the hoop moving around his or her waist. Typically, a person will first position the hoop against the back just above waist-level. He or she will then move the hips from side to side and shifts the weight from foot to foot in order to keep the hoop in motion. A back and forth movement often makes this easier than a circular movement. It is important that the person keeps moving so that the hoop doesn’t fall.
Toy hoops have been around for thousands of years and most likely were originally made from vines, grasses, or wood. Children in ancient Egypt crafted hoops from grapevines to spin, roll, or toss. Ancient Greeks used the hoop as a form of exercise. Hoops continued to be popular and were a common toy for children in the United Kingdom during the 15th century.
Hoops surged in popularity in 1958 when the toy company Wham-O trademarked the hoop and began selling plastic Hula-Hoops®. It was named for the similarities between the hip motions used in hula dancing and the movement needed to spin the toy hoop. In the first six months, Wham-O sold 20 million hoops for $1.98 US Dollars (USD) each. Hula-Hoops® are still sold for a few dollars at many toy stores. They should generally have a circumference of approximately 40 inches (about 1 m) for adults and 28 inches (about 71 cm) for children.
Weighted hoops, frequently used for Hula Hoop® fitness, generally are available at sporting goods stores and are both larger and heavier than a regular Hula-Hoop®. A weighted hoop is often easier to keep in motion during a Hula-Hoop® fitness session because it does not rotate as quickly. A lighter hoop requires more energy and burns more calories than a heavier hoop but it can be difficult to use for an extended period of time.
Hula-Hoop® fitness classes are available at many gyms. There are also DVDs that offer an introduction to the Hula-Hoop®. For some people, Hula-Hoop® fitness can provide a fun form of aerobic exercise and a good workout to tone the core of the body.