Admit it: you’ve had at least one day where you wake up, take a look at the dreary morning outside and think “eh, I’m just going to skip the gym today”. You turn off your alarm and curl up underneath the covers, preparing for another couple hours of sleep. It’s so easy to disregard your exercise routine, thinking that skipping a day or two every once in a while won’t make a difference. Unfortunately, as with any efficient routine, it needs to be consistent. Luckily for you, consistent exercise doesn’t have to mean waking up and going to the gym every morning. There are plenty of people who have turned to alternative exercise; the very people who have realized that losing weight doesn’t mean slaving away at the gym for hours every day.
If you’re one of these people, maybe it’s time that you re-visit your childhood. I bet you didn’t know that there are a handful of hula hoop weight loss routines out there for teens and adults just like you. If you can’t bear to stare at a treadmill screen while wanna-be body builders grunt all around you, how does twirling around in a field full of flowers sound to you? I’m going to assume it sounds like a much better alternative.
How to Hula Hoop
Hula hooping for exercise, really? It may seem too good to be true, but hula hooping really can help you lose weight. And it definitely costs less than a monthly gym pass. The trick is first learning how to hoop correctly. While some of us may be naturals, it may take longer for others to pick up on the movements necessary to keep the hoop moving at a constant speed.
- When initially starting, hold the hoop right above your hips parallel to the ground. You can spin it whichever way makes you more comfortable, but make sure you give it some good momentum or it will fall within the first few seconds.
- Keep your thighs and legs stable. When learning how to hoop without adding in any complicated tricks, your legs are not going to move at all. Bending your knees slightly and stepping forward with one foot will help you move your hips more easily.
- While the hoop may be moving in a circular motion around you, you’re only going to be moving side to side. The motion of the hoop is going to depend on your hips and your abdominal muscles, so concentrate on the way you’re moving your midsection.
- Stand up straight and keep your spine erect. If you slouch, you’ll have less control over the movement of the hoop.
- Keep your motions simple. You’ll be surprised how easy the hoop moves around you when you’re only making slight movements with your hips. The more intense your movements are, the harder it will be to keep the hoop up. Slight, consistent movements are key.
- If you feel like the hoop is beginning to drop, make sure you’re standing up straight and push your hip into the hoop as it swings around your body. You may have to push into the hoop with more force than you use the rest of the time to keep it up.
- Don’t give up! The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Once your body gets used to the motions needed to keep the hoop up and spinning at a consistent rate, the less you’ll need to think about the motions when hooping.
Losing the Weight
Once you’ve perfected the art of hooping, how can you stick with it to shed some inches off of your midsection and drop those pounds?
- The type of hoop makes a difference. Hoops made for children are smaller and lighter than the ones you’ll need to use for exercise. Look for larger, weighted hoops. Some of the hoops specifically designed for exercise have a comfortable foam coating on the outside, as opposed to the cheap plastic ones that may hurt your midsection after a while! You can get a weighted hoop with or without water inside. The ones with water tend to slow down your pace until you get used to them.
- Heavier isn’t always better. While you need a bit of weight in order to work out your abdominal muscles, anything over 3 pounds can feel significantly heavier after spinning it around your midsection for a while. Start with a hoop that weighs between 1-3 pounds, and then work up to heavier if you feel up to the challenge.
- Hoop for at least 10 minutes a day. It has been estimated that 10 minutes of hooping burns approximately 100 calories, but the exact amount of calories depends on the weight of the hoop, your body weight, and the amount of movement.
- If you’re getting bored with the monotonous movement of hooping, switch things up a bit! There’s a lot more to hula hooping than standing in one place and moving your hips. Learning how to spin the hoop around your wrists, neck, and shoulders can work out different muscles in your body. There’s also no need to stand in one place! Once you’ve perfected the movement, you can dance around with your hoop and practice moving around while keeping the hoop spinning at a consistent rate. You can even try spinning around while your hoop is spinning around, the possibilities are only limited to your imagination!
… And Keeping it Off
There’s no easy, foolproof way to lose weight and keep it off. You’ll need to work hard, you’ll need to follow a consistent routine, and you’ll need to know how to take care of your body so that it can be the healthiest it possibly can be. This means combining an exercise routine with a healthy diet, adequate sleep and strong mental focus. While hula hooping can be a fun way to shed a few pounds, it’s important to follow a consistent routine in order to see results. If you’re looking for more ways to lose weight, Udemy has a great course that will get your heart pumping!