The hula hoop isn’t just for kids anymore. Now adults are reliving part of their childhood by twirling a hula hoop.
They are not only having fun but getting health benefits by hooping, performing tricks and rolling their hips with the hula hoop. Hula hooping has been shown to improve flexibility and it works the abdominal muscles. It also works the muscles in the legs and arms for people who can spin a hoop around them.
Baltimore hooping instructor Noelle Powers says that some mental flexibility is used as well. She encourages exercisers in her hour-long classes to switch the direction of the hoop, which challenges the brain more than the muscles. This exercise can also bring on a meditative trance, according to Powers.
Her classes usually involve stretching with the hoop and performing different tricks and routines such as waling while hooping, or moving the hoop up the body from the waist.
She says that hooping isn’t that hard and hoops that are custom made and often sold by instructors are larger and heavier than the usual toy-store kind. They are more in proportion to the size of an average adult, so they revolve more slowly and don’t take as much to keep rotating. Powers says it’s even doable with a potbelly “and it doesn’t feel like exercise, it feels silly and childlike.”