Hula hoops aren't just for children! Improved mobility, greater endurance and even weight loss are just a few of the many benefits of hula hooping. This fun yet challenging activity can spice up your workout and replace those boring cardio sessions.
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Working out with a hula hoop burns 3 to 7 calories per minute, depending on your sex, weight, body composition, workout intensity and type of hoop. Women can expect to burn about 165 calories in 30 minutes of hula hooping.
Get Active With Hula Hooping
One of the biggest challenges of exercise is finding an activity you enjoy. If you're tired of endless cardio workouts, it might be time to try something new. A good option is hula hooping, which offers a full-body workout. It's fun, convenient and much safer than weight training and other activities.
Hula hooping has been around for thousands of years. Today, gym chains worldwide incorporate this activity into yoga, Pilates and fitness classes. Gym-goers typically use larger hoops weighing anywhere between 1 and 4 pounds, which helps increase the calorie burn.
Read more: Does Hula Hooping Slim Your Waist?
Whether you want to lose a few pounds or build core strength, hula hooping will do the trick. When done regularly, it can tone your abs, arms, legs and glutes while relieving stress.
Although there is little research on the benefits of hula hooping, this activity may help you get leaner and improve your balance due to its dynamic nature and rhythmic movements. From a health perspective, it's just as beneficial as salsa dancing and other types of aerobic exercise, notes the Mayo Clinic.
However, this doesn't mean that any hoop will do. Ideally, choose a larger model measuring about 36 to 44 inches in diameter if you're a newbie, advises the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. While it's true that heavier hoops are easier to use, a lighter model will force your core muscles to work harder to keep the hoop from falling.
Hula Hooping: Calories Burned
This form of exercise is a viable alternative to dancing and other cardio workouts. The number of calories burned depends on your weight, fitness level and workout intensity, among other factors. According to the Mayo Clinic, hula hooping for 30 minutes a day can help women burn about 165 calories. If you're a man, you'll torch approximately 200 calories in as little as half an hour.
The heavier you are, the higher your energy expenditure. A 185-pound person, for instance, will burn 244 calories during a 30-minute moderate-intensity dance session, which is similar to hula hooping. An individual weighing 155 pounds, on the other hand, will torch about 205 calories, reports Harvard Medical School.
Try to increase the intensity of your workout to burn more calories. Experiment with different movements, such as side-to-side hooping and front-to-back hooping, to keep your body guessing and hit your muscles from all angles.
Another option is to swap free weights for a hula hoop. For example, you can do arm circles, lunges or Russian twists with this piece of equipment to improve your balance and muscle tone.
Health Benefits of Hula Hooping
As mentioned earlier, the benefits of hula hooping go beyond weight loss. According to a small study published in the September 2019 edition of Obesity Facts, this form of exercise is more effective than walking for reducing abdominal fat mass and LDL (the "bad") cholesterol levels. Furthermore, it may help increase trunk muscle mass, leading to a stronger core and improved physical performance.
The study points out that hula hooping burns anywhere between 3 and 7 calories per minute, depending on the hooping style, type of hoop and metabolic factors, such as your weight and body composition.
It engages most muscles in the trunk and lower body, especially the lower abdominals, hip abductors and back extensors. Compared to walking, it may provide better results in less time.
Overweight subjects who used a hula hoop for just 13 minutes per day for six weeks experienced greater reductions in abdominal fat and waist circumference than those who walked. The fat in your abdominal area is particularly harmful.
Also known as visceral fat, it wraps around your internal organs and produces chemicals that affect overall health. This type of adipose tissue has been linked to heart disease, elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar and other cardiometabolic disorders.
Hula hooping is by no means a shortcut to weight loss or better health, but it may improve your overall fitness and conditioning. Combine it with a balanced diet and incorporate it into your exercise plan to fully reap the benefits. By keeping your workouts varied, you'll find it easier to reach your training goals and prevent weight loss plateaus.
- Mayo Clinic: "Do Weighted Hula Hoops Provide a Good Workout, or Are They Just a Gimmick?"
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts: "Hula Hooping – Playing for Exercise"
- Harvard Medical School: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- Obesity Facts: "Effects of Weighted Hula-Hooping Compared to Walking on Abdominal Fat, Trunk Muscularity, and Metabolic Parameters in Overweight Subjects: A Randomized Controlled Study"
- Mayo Clinic: "Core Exercises: Why You Should Strengthen Your Core Muscles"
- Harvard Medical School: "Abdominal Obesity and Your Health"