We all know that strong core muscles are a key part of having a great looking body. It’s important to remember that the core is also the source of stability in countless daily activities, and a strong core is necessary to prevent injuries and avoid lower back pain. This makes core fitness an essential part of any exercise regimen.
Hula hooping is becoming a popular way to improve core strength and increase stamina. It engages all of the core muscles, including abdominal, lower back, pelvic and upper leg muscles. And it’s so much fun that you can easily enjoy hooping for hours (literally!), once you master the basic technique.
- you will need a hoop. Do NOT go to Walmart or Toys R Us to buy one – the hoops that they sell are small and light-weight, and completely inadequate for adults. You can purchase a properly constructed adult-size hoop at many online stores, or you can easily make one yourself, for about $10 (see instructions below)
- you should wear smooth, form-fitting clothing (yoga-wear works well)
- you will want some space – ideally you should have about 5 feet on each side of you, so that your hoop won’t hit anything
- you can’t go wrong with good, high-energy music. Black Eyed Peas “I’ve got a Feeling” is one of my personal favorites for hooping to
- Stand in the center of the room, and start hooping. If you haven’t done it recently, it’s apt to be awkward to start, but don’t give up!
Once you’ve mastered the basic move (around the waist), you may want to challenge yourself and learn additional moves. For this purpose, there are DVDs available, as well as an amazing assortment of videos online. Here’s one you can take a look at.
Instructions for making your own hoop:
Go to a local home-improvement big-box store like Home Depot, and buy:
- approximately 12 feet of 3/4 inch 100-160psi irrigation tubing (if you are particularly tall, or have a large mid-section, you may want as much as 15 feet – your first tube should probably reach from the floor to somewhere between your sternum and your clavicle) (If you buy a longer length of irrigation tubing, and don’t have a hack-saw at home, you might ask them to cut it for you at the store)
- a connector for that tubing, and
- some tape (electrical tape works well – get two rolls in contrasting colors; hockey tape is also good, and provides a little more friction when hooping)
Use the connector to connect the two ends of your tubing, and make a circle. Tape over the join (duct tape is really good here, but the tape you’ve purchased for decoration is also fine). Now decorate your hoop with the tape you’ve bought. “Candy Cane” is an easy pattern, in which you tape diagonally around the hoop, alternating between the two colors.