Health Benefits of Hula Hooping

What is it that is so special about the hula hoop? It gets us to exercise!

Studies show that a program of regular, vigorous exercise is one of the most effective ways to increase your sense of well-being and reduce anxiety. The truth is that exercise is a key part of our mental health, not just our physical health and yet it's one of the most neglected needs in modern life.

Original image by Heath Cajandig
Original image by Heath Cajandig

Yes, it is! Hooping is a full body, low-impact aerobic exercise. “Low impact” means that it puts little to no stress on the joints and “aerobic” denotes an exercise that improves the transport of oxygen in the blood. It's heart healthy! The American Council on Exercise tells us that regular waist hooping can burn over 400 calories per hour, and that’s not including all the aerobic dance aspects involved in the modern movement.

Hoop dancing works over 30 core muscles and has a number of health benefits. It improves flexibility, balance, motor skills, hand-eye coordination and endurance, and a weighted hoop can even provide enough resistance for a strengthening regimen.

Here is a list of the general physical and psychological benefits from regular, vigorous hoop dance:

Physical

By Eduardo García Cruz on Flickr
By Eduardo García Cruz on Flickr
  • Reduced skeletal muscle tension
  • Stronger abdominal muscles
  • More rapid metabolism of excess adrenaline, the underlying cause in panic attacks
  • Enhanced oxygenation of the blood and brain which increases alertness and concentration
  • Stimulation of the production of endorphins: endorphins increase your sense of “well-being”
  • Improved circulation
  • Improved digestion and utilization of food
  • Decreased cholesterol levels
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Weight loss

Psychological

Original Image by Derrick Tyson on Flickr
Original Image by Derrick Tyson on Flickr
  • A discharge of pent up frustration
  • Increased subjective feelings of well-being
  • Reduced dependence on alcohol and drugs
  • Reduced insomnia
  • Improved concentration and memory
  • Reduced depression
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Greater sense of control over anxiety
Ari W. on a Redwood.
Ari W. on a Redwood.

Working out usually feels like a physical chore, instead of a physical activity.

This is why hoops are so important as a fitness alternative. There’s no pressure. Just spin the hoop and dance. An endless number of tricks and combinations to practice ensures that you will never get bored by repetition. This makes it easy to stay inspired and dedicated day after day.
Fitting in 45- 60 minutes of hoop dance (including warm up) 3 -5 times a week is enough to see and feel all of these improvements!

Sources:
The American Council on Exercise

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne

Ch. 5, Physical Exercise

Featured image credit:

Eilidh Hoop
facebook.com/eilidhhoop

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1 Comment

  1. Benefits of hula hooping | steellayes on March 7, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    […] attack, hypertension, and much more can set in if you don’t take care of your cardio health. Hula hooping helps you get your blood moving, and lets your muscles warm up, alongside the calorie burning power […]