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But how and where did it all start for me? I came across adults hooping in Europe in 2010 for the first time. There were girls with tiny hoops, looking so sexy, doing the coolest tricks on just about any part of their bodies. I was completely mesmerised and knew that I just had to learn how to hula hoop!
Now, hooping is one of my favourite activities. There are so many health benefits associated with hula hooping, but, this is not the only reason why I love it. Hula hooping allows me to move freely in a fun and easy way. And it gives me tons of satisfaction when I see how much joy a humble hula hoop brings into people’s lives.
Who would have thought, that by spinning a hula hoop around your hips you could lose weight, tone your body, strengthen your core muscles, shake off some unwanted stress and instantly lift and improve your mood. And these are but a few of the amazing health benefits of hula hooping.
Hula hooping is a timeless, low-impact way of exercising, causing no strain on the joints or spine. It increases the heart rate so therefore it’s a good aerobic activity, increasing blood - and oxygen flow and burning about 150 -200 calories during a 30 minute session. It also builds core strength and stability. Hooping improves coordination and increases body awareness by focusing the mind on those parts of the body that are moving. It also challenges the brain when we reverse the direction of the hooping or start to work on tricks. This brings balance and focus to the mind.
The emotional benefits of hooping are just as amazing. It’s a great antidepressant and stress reliever and will leave you happier and lighter after each session.
Hula hooping works 30 core muscles as well as the glutes, thighs, abs and lower back muscles. Strengthening the lower abdominals is very important as it helps to support a weak lower back, especially beneficial if you sit for long periods during the day.
Because there is a lot of focus on the core and abdomen, it comes as no surprise that it slims and tones the waist and tummy, burning away those unwanted little rolls of tummy fat. The spine also benefits greatly from hula hooping. The gentle movement that it introduces brings nutrients to the inter vertebral discs. It also strengthens the spine and helps with flexibility.
So, a little bit more about my workshops and the aim behind them. Although I facilitate all levels of hoopers, I sometimes do workshops specifically for beginners. My most recent workshop that took place at Ioanna’s Wellness & Movement Studio in Pretoria(www.ioanna.co.za) was one of these hula hooping workshops for beginners.
In these workshops, we start off slowly, spending some time to keep and move with the hoop up around the waist. This is really the most fundamental part of hula hooping and where you would stay if your only intent to use hula hooping as an exercise regime. But, for me, hula hooping is so much more than just keeping a hoop up around your waist. It’s also about self-expression and finding the confidence to move in your own special and unique way.
That being said, I always take it a bit further in my workshops by incorporating dance & movement, exploring a few easy transitions and finally one or two off-body moves. I often end my workshop with a short sequence using all the moves we’ve worked on throughout the morning.
I also offer specialised workshops which work well for Corporate Wellness Days, Family days, teambuilding or even year end functions. Some of them specifically aimed to relieve stress and others more aimed at the fun side of hooping and connecting with colleagues in a relaxed way. I have had great success at corporate wellness days because it brings lightness and fun into the often stressful workplace. I always think of the lady at the Murray & Roberts Wellness Day that told me afterwards how hula hooping has just saved her life.
For kids and teenagers, learning how to hula hoop at their next party, is a great idea that will add fun and excitement for everybody (mom's included) 😉
I've had really awesome experiences doing my hula workshops at parties for kids older than 10 years. They are so spontaneous and eager to learn and I am often amazed by how quickly they master tricks. These party hula hoop workshops work well for smaller groups and are about 40 minutes in duration.
If kids are still a bit too young to get the hang of hula hooping and to do tricks with the hula hoop, I play hula games with them such as musical hula hoops, thread the hoop and catch the dolphin. A hula hoop also makes a great party gift to take home so that they can continue playing and practicing their new tricks.
You may find more information and photos about my hula hooping products and services on my website.
The recommended minimum time per day is 10 minutes. If you think about it, it’s not a lot of time at all. I always recommend putting your favourite music on and just moving. You’ll see, once you get into the groove, you’ll easily manage hooping for 30 minutes or longer.
Once you’ve reached a meditative flow where you no longer think about your body so much, you can start to get creative with your movement. And after you’ve mastered a few tricks, there will be no stopping you. It’s all about moving freely, playing around and having fun!
Its best to wear natural fabrics instead of slippery synthetic garments which will make the hoop slip off your hips more easily. You want something to help the hoop stay up. Also, avoid wearing hoodies, belts or jewelry that can get caught while you’re spinning. And once you get the hoop up around your arms, you’ll see that bare skin works the best.
What hoop to buy? And where to get it? For this kind of hooping, you need a hoop that is slightly weighted and taped with insulation or gaffer tape so that the hoop sticks to your body. It’s better if you order from a source that makes hoops specially for adults, rather than purchasing mass produced ones from Game or Sportsmans Warehouse.
It’s also easier to start off with a bigger hoop because the smaller the hoop, the faster it moves and initially you are going to need the slowness of a bigger hoop to get going. Your start-up size is a hoop that reaches from the floor to your belly button when you hold the hoop in front of you. The more skilled you become, the smaller your hoop will become too. I can put you in touch with a supplier that makes beautiful hula hoops. They come in 2 different sizes that are taped with high quality gaffer tape and come with a clip to fold smaller so you can even take your hoop on holiday with you. If you are interested in buying a hoop contact me
If you would like to learn how to hula hoop, take your hooping to the next level or if you have a party or event coming up where you would like to add some fun and movement, please contact me. I would love to hear from you! Alternatively, you can like my Facebook page Enchanted by Christa to be notified of upcoming events
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope this article has tickled your interest and will encourage you to give hooping a go. Trust me on this one, it will make you HAPPY 😉
If you would like to see more of my hula hooping services and product offers, please do so.
Until next time, Christa xx