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By Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH

hulaAt a recent wedding I attended, the bride arrived to the ceremony with 50 hula hoops in her limo. What’s all the “hoopla about,” we collectively thought? It was her idea for after-wedding entertainment, symbolizing the wedding rings, a circle of friends and good, healthy fun. Cute!

Not wanting to miss a trend, I Googled all about hula hoops and found that a recent study had been commissioned by the American Council on Exercise. The researchers found that a 30-minute hoop workout burned 210 calories, on average—comparable to the exertion of boot camp workouts, step aerobics and cardio kickboxing. They also recommend hooping for cardio-vascular exercise because it sustains heart rhythm and strengthens the heart muscle. Hooping also helps build up your core strength, increases balance and overall flexibility. Your arms and legs get a good workout, too.

Some gyms offer classes in hooping, or you can practice at home with DVD’s or go online for instruction: http://www.wikihow.com/Hula-Hoop

Hula hoops come in different adult sizes (37 to 45 inches) and weights (1 to 4 pounds). Bigger, heavier hoops are best for beginners. They are called weighted hula hoops. Bigger ones also allow for slower rotations, which might enable you to hoop longer and thus burn more calories. Average calorie burn for 30 minutes of active hooping is 210 calories as opposed to 60-100 calories burned per mile when walking, depending on weight.

I hauled out, and dusted off, out my old hula hoop from the 60’s and started using it. In no time at all, I had the almost-forgotten technique back and I’m loving it. I have so much energy after a hooping session and I Love that I can work it inside or outdoors depending on the weather. My hula hoop and I have become fast friends, once again.

The extra bonus for hooping is that it provides many laughs, much enjoyment and has endless possibilities for routines, tricks and world class sports. Everyone* can participate and make hooping a family adventure.

It’s certainly something to consider adding to a workout routine. I’m sure the happy bride and groom are hooping their way to marital bliss as I write this.

* If you have back pain, be sure to consult your doctor to make sure this is an appropriate activity for you.

– Kac Young , a former television director and producer, has earned a Ph.D. in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author of 10 books. Heart Easy is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. Traditional recipes are turned into heart healthy meals that anyone can make. The health results are outstanding.