It’s no secret we’re big fans of nostalgia. Whether it means wearing anklets again or watching every ‘90s movie on Netflix, there’s nothing like reliving simpler times. Our latest throwback obsession? Hula hooping…as exercise. Yep, that colorful little ring you spent hours with as a kid is actually a really trendy workout right now. Read on for why you should add it to your fitness rotation, plus a few of our favorite hoops to shop.
3 Health Benefits of Hula Hooping
1. It Improves Your Aerobic Health
Like swimming, running or Zumba, hula hooping is a form of aerobic exercise with tons of health benefits. Also known as cardiovascular exercise (cardio, for short), aerobic exercise works your heart and lungs while improving the flow of oxygen throughout your body. Unsurprisingly, cardio does the body a world of good, from lowering your risk of heart disease and diabetes to improving cholesterol levels and even brain function. How much aerobic exercise should you be getting? The Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity.
2. It’s Scientifically Proven to Tone Your Waist and Hips
No offense to sit-ups and crunches, but they’re far from the only effective ways to tone your core. A strong core is crucial to keeping a hula hoop moving. But beyond the waist-defining potential, hula hooping can also help to reduce abdominal fat. A 2019 study by researchers in Helsinki, Finland, compared the potential benefits of using a weighted hula hoop versus walking for overweight individuals. The 53 subjects in the study either performed an average of 12.8 minutes of hula hooping per day or walked 9,986 steps per day. After a trial period, researchers found that the subjects in the hula hooping group lost a significant amount of abdominal fat and also trimmed inches from their waist, compared with the walking group.
3. It Burns Calories
It seems pretty obvious, but still worth pointing out the specifics. According to the Mayo Clinic, on average, women can burn about 165 calories in 30 minutes of hula hooping, and men can burn about 200 calories in 30 minutes of hula hooping. Though that’s not an enormous amount of calories, we’re willing to bet you’ll find it more fun than running on that boring treadmill for a while.
Ready to Hula Hoop? Here’s How to Get Started
In general, adult size hula hoops range between 37 to 41 inches. If you’re a beginner, try a hoop that reaches somewhere between your waist and mid-chest when base of the hoop is on the ground by your feet. If you’re exploring weight options (more on those below), consider starting out with a hoop that weighs no more than two pounds (though you can find models that go up to five pounds). As you get the hang of it, add weight as you see fit. The heavier the weight, the harder the workout.
Shop Hula Hoops (and Other Accessories)
If you’re looking for the most bang for your buck, look no further than this 2-pound hoop that comes bundled with a jump rope and a resistance band, so you can tone your entire body with minimal equipment.
OK, so this is a little different than the hoops we’re used to, but it’s another fabulous option. Basically, it’s adjustable to fit snugly around your waist and is attached to a three-pound sandbag that glides around the track as you move your hips. And it’s great for beginners: Because it’s fitted around your body, there’s no way it’s going to fall if you get out of rhythm.
Ideal for frequent travelers or those who don’t have a ton of space at home, Dynamis’s weighted hula hoops (in 2.4- and 3.6-pound options) come as eight separate sections that are equipped with a heavy-duty but simple to use assembly button. Once you’re done hooping disassembly is a breeze.
This hoop is pretty bare bones, but sometimes that’s all you need. Each of the colors is its own segment, meaning this hoop is easy to put together (and take apart for storage) and it’s adjustable for size. While it’s not weighted, the folks at Liberty Imports recommend pouring a little bit of sand inside to turn it into a weighted model.
Want to take your hooping to the next level? Try a set of Bala’s weighted bangles. Weighing in at one pound each, you can attach them to your wrists or ankles for even more of a challenge.
You might not need a fitness tracking watch to get a good workout, but it’s so cool to track your body’s stats while your heart is pumping. We’re huge fans of this Garmin model, which tracks your stats, can connect to your Spotify account and has more than 25 preloaded sports app (just in case you get tired of hula hooping).
After a long sweat session, it’s super important (and really relaxing) to take your cool-down seriously. Enter the Theragun Pro, it’s a deep tissue massager designed to relieve muscle tension, soreness and pain, and accelerate muscle activation and repair. Basically, it’s every athlete’s dream—professional or recreational.
PureWow may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from PureWow’s editorial and sales departments.