By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder
Hula Hoop Your Way To Good Health
You have probably been sheltering in place for nearly two months now. And if prior to this period you had an activity routine which involved hiking, working out in a gym or with a personal trainer at home, cycling or wrestling, perhaps you now have to make some changes and find an activity you can do at home while you shelter in place.
I have incorporated jump rope in my daily activities because it is convenient to do and incredibly easy to break a sweat. But now I am adding hula hoop to break up my jump rope routine. And it appears I am not alone. Apparently former first lady, Michelle Obama, is a fan of hula hooping.
Former president Barack Obama reportedly said that his wife is one of the best hula hoopers he knows. It is common knowledge she has some of the best looking arms and that's an area I am starting to focus on. So I cannot think of a better workout to try at home as we shelter in place.
Hula hooping is low-impact (so it’s easy on the knees and other joints), fun and only requires one easily storable piece of equipment - a hula hoop! You can hula hoop alone or start some friendly hula hooping competition with your kids, partner or spouse. (For more of a challenge, considered getting a weighted hula hoop).
You can take your hula hoop to the backyard or an open park (while practicing social distancing) to get some hooping in with some sun.
(Working out while getting some sun is a great way to improve mood and get vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin” that may help fight off respiratory infections).
If you are worried about looking “silly” while hula hooping in public, don’t be! Hula hooping is actually great for the body for many reasons.
Hula hooping may decrease abdominal fat.
Excess abdominal fat (also called visceral fat) is not healthy. Belly fat grows deep inside the stomach and may wrap around your vital organs. It may increase your risk of developing diabetes and fatty liver disease.
A recent study involving 55 overweight people who were instructed to both walk and then later hula hoop with a weighted hoop, suggested that hula hooping decreased abdominal fat percentage more than walking did.
(Walking is still a great form of exercise. But if belly fat is something you struggle with, consider adding hula hooping to your workout routine. You might also want to consider these six foods for fighting belly fat).
Hula hooping may have some emotional benefits.
Your emotional health is just as important as your physical health. The reality is that you really can’t have one without the other, because they are so intertwined. So it’s great if you can find a workout that will uplift your mood, especially during such challenging times as we battle COVID-19.
A virtual hula hooping class in Chicago has helped many of the participants cope in these stressful times.
Hula hooping may be great for boomers.
Many of the participants in the class mentioned above were
mostly 60 years of age and older, according to this report.
"Hooping helps you with coordination, balance, all those things that you need, stamina," said the founder of the class.
The class has also helped boomers who have struggled with major health issues in the past. One woman who suffered a stroke and major back pain said that once she started hula hooping her pain dramatically decreased.
Hula hooping is a full body workout.
If you are going to workout, why not be efficient by doing a workout that targets many different parts of the body?
Hula hooping targets the core (abs, back and hips) and even works small and large muscles in the legs and arms. Remember to hold your core in tight for support and control.
Hula hooping may aid in cardiovascular health.
Along with running, cycling and swimming, hula hooping is a great form of cardio (aerobic) exercise.
“When you do cardiovascular exercise regularly, it decreases your blood pressure and your resting heart rate. This means your heart doesn’t have to work as hard all of the time. This is good for your entire body,” reports the Cleveland Clinic.
Doing regular cardio may also lower your risk of developing dementia.
Fuel for hula hooping.
As with any physical exercise, it is necessary to stay hydrated and fuel your body properly both before and after you hula hoop. Doing this will help you perform well and recover as best as possible afterwards.
So get those hips moving and enjoy your healthy life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.