Hula Hooping for Fitness Is a Thing (and Why You Should Try It)


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You may know how to pull a hoop like a pro, but did you know that you can put those skills to work as part of the latest social media fitness craze? This week, pop-sensation Lizzo went viral on Tik Tok for duet-reacting to a video of one of her fans dancing to her single “About Damn Time” while using with a hula hoop. It was but one example of a larger trend on the social media platform, highlighting a resurgence of the 1950s toy — which is increasingly being used for fitness.

A subreddit for hula hooping boasts 16,000 members, and hula hooping exercise videos on YouTube routinely rack up hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of views. According to a study carried out by the American Council on Exercise, hula hooping burns an average of 210 calories during a 30-minute workout, comparable to the exertion of boot camp-style classes, step aerobics and cardio kickboxing. Perhaps that’s why it’s caught the attention of celebrities from Catherine Zeta-Jones to Jennifer Hudson (or maybe their Pelotons are just broken).

Hula hooping even has the endorsement of health experts. Samantha Noderer of the Massachusetts Public Health Blog writes“Hooping is a great way to tone up thighs, abs, glutes and arms without ever feeling like you’re working out.” The Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center division of the Department of Health and Human Services recommends hula hooping as a physical activity for children, and Dr. Edward R. Laskowski notes, “You can use a weighted hula hoop as part of an overall fitness program to add variety to your workouts or simply as a fun way to get more active.”

How to get started hula hooping for fitness

Here are a few routines from YouTube to help you get started incorporating hooping into your cardio workouts. Note that many routines use a weighted hula hoopwhich is different from the kind most commonly sold in a toy store.

  • Hula Hoop Warm-Up / Cool Down: Add some hooping to the beginning and ending of your existing workout with this warmup routine, which uses the hoop to assist in stretching but does not involve active hooping.
  • PINC Active Fitness Hula Hoop workout by Rachael Attard: This 15-minute beginner’s routine includes some hoop-assisted stretches and sustained hooping while in a variety of stances stressing different muscle groups.
  • Hula Hoop Dance Workout: A 30-minute full-body workout session, intended for intermediate to advanced hula-hoopers.

Grab your exercise clothes and hit play on one of the many Spotify hula hooping playlistsand you’re all set to go.


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