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Health Benefits of Hula Hooping

by
author image Martin Hughes
Martin Hughes is a chiropractic physician, health writer and the co-owner of a website devoted to natural footgear. He writes about health, fitness, diet and lifestyle. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore.
Health Benefits of Hula Hooping
Hula hooping offers many health benefits. Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Overview

Hula hooping, or simply "hooping," is an enjoyable and cost-effective way to generate health benefits, and it is touted by First Lady Michelle Obama as an activity to promote children's health. However, hooping isn't just for kids. According to an article in "Time" magazine by Catherine Sharick, more and more adults are picking up the hoop for exercise and lasting health benefits.

Core Strengthening and Muscle Toning

The smooth, repetitive hip gyrations associated with hula hooping help strengthen your core muscles and tone your body. Hooping works about 30 muscles in and around your body's core, according to Diana Defries, founder of Hoopswhirled, a London, England-based hooping-related business. There's anecdotal evidence suggesting that hooping can strengthen your low-back stabilizing muscles and can help anyone with a history of back pain. Hooping trains not only your core but also your upper and lower extremities. It also helps you develop a sense of body awareness and a positive self-image. Hooping can help self-conscious children or children timid about athletic participation overcome their fears and gain health benefits.

Cardiovascular Endurance

Catherine Sharick, in "Time", said that in terms of calories burned, one hour of intense hooping is equivalent to an hour-long run on a treadmill. Hooping is a low-impact activity that can help you regulate your body weight and build cardiovascular endurance. According to BodyByDesignOnline.com, hooping-related exercise helps you build your aerobic capacity by making your body work hard for its oxygen. According to Ron Klint at Hooping.org, the weight of your hoop determines, to a degree, the level of aerobic workout you experience when you're hooping. The lighter the hoop, states Klint, the more energy you'll need to expend per rotation, which he believes would provide a better aerobic workout.

Improved Joint Health

The rhythmic, oscillatory nature of hooping helps mobilize your joints, especially your spinal joints. Chiropractors and other manual medicine practitioners tout the merits of regular joint mobilization as a method of achieving optimal joint health, and hooping is a simple and effective exercise to do just that. When you're hooping, you're introducing movement into your spine that helps move nutrients into your intervertebral discs. The increased body awareness and improved posture associated with hooping helps balance your muscle tone and reduce unnecessary wear and tear on your joints, helping you to avoid back problems.

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