Hoopnotica’s Rebecca V. lays out some of the benefits of hula hooping that are guaranteed to have you wanting to give hooping a try for at least 8 minutes a day.
Hooping is a complete core workout. (Cue the killer abs.)
Hooping regularly can help to whittle your waist and strengthen your stomach muscles while blasting fat in these (often problematic) areas. (Studies that show that hooping burns visceral fat– the fat that is the hardest to get off the older you get, and also the most detrimental to heart health.) That’s what we’d like to call a win-win-win situation!
…It’s also a full body workout.
Recent studies have suggested that hula hooping works as many as 30 of your body’s muscles.
Hooping will make you feel the (calorie) burn.
Hooping has been proven to burn over 400 calories per hour by the American Council on Exercise, although the calorie-burn from hooping may be as high as 600 calories per hour when other parts of your body, such as your arms and legs, are engaged. To break this down even more, consider that, according to a 2009 AARP Bulletin, hooping it up for eight minutes gives you a good cardiovascular workout and will burn a whopping 50 calories, or a satisfying 6.25 calories per minute! And the ACE reported, according to a study they conducted, that hooping burns approximately 7 calories per minute! Burn, calories, burn!
Hooping is good for your heart.
Hooping is an intense workout for your muscles..including one of the most important muscles of all: the heart! Anyone who picks up a hoop will notice their heart rate go up in minutes! So hooping for just twenty minutes a day can count towards your moderate-vigorous intensity physical activity recommended for improving and maintaining your health.
It improves your spine’s strength and flexibility.
The movements require a significant range of motion for your spine while increased practice can train your spine to a greater range of motions than you are used to, increasing your flexibility and even preventing back injuries. According to 3FatChicks, one of several online sources on the subject (and an awesome diet and health blog), “While performing hula hooping, you make very rhythmic rocking movements forward and backward, shifting your weight along the way. This kind of movement releases the tension of the muscles surrounding the sacrum (the lower part of the back) and realigns the sacrum with the rest of the spine. As a result, blood flow to the spine improves and total flexibility of the spine is increased.”
It improves hand-eye co-ordination and motor skills.
Like other sports, hooping requires hand-eye co-ordination and challenges your brain as well as your muscles. Hooping in both your natural direction and your reverse directions (recommended) is an excellent opportunity for your brain to engage both your dominant and non-dominant sides while guaranteeing your body’s balance.
The “H” Factor. Happiness.
At the risk of sounding sappy, aside from these amazing physical fitness benefits, most of us fall in love with hooping because of how it makes us feel: Happy. Besides the wonderful burst of endorphins you’re likely to enjoy after a good bout of hooping, this activity can have other, more subtle positive effects on your psyche. After hooping we often feel like younger, stronger, more toned, more confident versions of ourselves…in other words, we feel like better–if not our best Selves.
The bottom line is that Hooping, just like running, as a solitary or a shared activity, can be anything you need it to be, big or small: a tool you use to center yourself before or after a long day or a healthy activity you in which you take part with family and friends; an 8 minute-a-day activity (with a big fitness payoff); a satisfying career; or–a way of life.
According to some recent studies that have been done on the matter, they say because all of your reproductive organs are in the lower abs/hip/groin area, when you hula hoop it increases blood flow to these organs and helps to nourish them so that they work properly.
If you can keep the hoop going continuously for more than 10 minutes, you’re working aerobically, which may help you lose weight, increase your stamina, strengthen your immune system, improve your mood, reduce cognitive decline as you age and help you to live longer.
According to MayoClinic.com, 30 minutes of aerobic activity can boost HDL, the “good” cholesterol, while lowering levels of LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, reducing plaque build-up in your arteries, which may help prevent heart disease
Improves Coordination and Balance
Your core includes your abdominals, lower back, pelvis and hip muscles. Sit-ups may target your abdominals, but miss many other core muscles. Hula hooping strengthens your entire core, which helps to stabilize your body, protect your lower back from injury, support your spine and improve your posture. Your spine is simply a series of bones stacked on each other with sponge-like cushion in between each vertebrae. Wrapped around the spine is cartilage, ligaments and then muscle. If the muscles surrounding your spine are strong, you have a powerful foundation for movement and absorbing the impact of movement.
Hula Hooping combines cardio activity with strength training and, according to SpinningHoop.com, can burn between 200 and 400 calories in 30 minutes, depending on your weight, current fitness level and intensity. Weighted hula hoops may help you to burn even more calories.
Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent many diseases, especially type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack and stroke.
Hula hooping can be fun and add variety to your exercise routine. The American Council on Exercise suggests that varying your exercise routine prevents boredom and may help you avoid reaching a plateau in both training and results. Modifying your exercise routine periodically can keep you motivated, physically challenged and mentally stimulated.
Hula-Hooping works the abdominal muscles, thighs, and buttocks, and helps to loosen the often-tight hip flexor muscles. As a combined exercise, this is extremely beneficial for the body because it can prevent injury to muscles in the back as well as improve posture. It can be difficult to work the oblique abdominal muscles along the side of the body, but the Hula-Hoop helps to target these muscles as well. It also improves overall coordination.