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I’m out of breath after a few minutes, but it’s hard to tell if it’s because of the cardio or my uncontrollable giggling.
There’s something undeniably fun about hula hooping. Conquer a series of swirls without the hoop tumbling to the floor, and you’ll instantly feel eight years old again – care-free and disproportionately proud of your achievement.
Hula hooping doesn’t really feel like exercise, but apparently, it is. In fact, hooping has become the latest TikTok fitness trend, with millions opting for weighted hoops that are designed to add resistance and strengthen your core.
I’m trying a 1kg hoop from Core Balance, costing £24.99 and advertised as “perfect for beginners and advanced users alike”. I’m definitely the former, but my first swing is a surprise success. Director Josh Piercy tells me the hoops have “easily been our most popular product during the pandemic”.
So, is hula hooping actually good for you? Do you need a weighted hoop? And how can you get started if you haven’t given it a whirl since the playground?
Hula hooping is great exercise
Hooping is a low impact cardio exercise, making it perfect for those who struggle with high impact exercises like running.
“There are many benefits that can be gained from spinning the humble hoop: improved strength, balance, coordination and flexibility, as well as a number of mental health benefits including relieving stress, anxiety and increasing self-esteem,” says Carla Rose, who’s director and lead instructor at HulaFit and holds two Guinness World Records in hooping. “The hula hoop is a powerful tool for boosting your mind as well as your body.”
Hooping can target and train your abdominal muscles, she adds, increasing core strength and stability and helping to slim your waist. “It can also help to tone and strengthen the legs and the glutes, as you need to recruit these muscles in order to keep that front-back or side-side motion going.”
Rose has also developed a seated HulaFit programme that works your arms and core with exercises completed from a chair (more on that later).