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Hula Hoop to Trim Inches From Your Waist and Arms

Lisa Johnson is a fitness blogger at LisaJohnsonFitness.com. She has been teaching Pilates since 1998 and owns Modern Pilates in Brookline, MA. She can frequently be found on Twitter @LisaJohnson.

I love hooping! Yes, the hula hoop, that simple, round, plastic circle, has come a long way from whizzing around your waistline. It’s now a fitness tool to be reckoned with, sculpting abs, of course, but also toning arms and legs.

A good hooping session will burn over seven calories a minute, the same as a boot camp class and, in my opinion, a whole lot more fun!

Don’t think of the hula hoop as a toy for kids. Now hoops come in different sizes and weights and can be used for different training regimens. Heavier hoops are good for a quick workout to tone the abs. The lighter hoops are more fun and are meant to be used for a series of movements both on the body (whizzing around your legs or torso) and off the body (in your hands or on your arms).

Hooping is so much fun you don’t even notice the minutes flying by or the sweat soaking into your t-shirt. It’s great cardio that you can do indoors or out, although outside is more fun because you’ll have more space to move.

Beginner hoops are bigger and have a slower rotation so they’re easier to use as you learn. As you get better, you’ll want to switch to smaller hoops so you can do more tricks.

Learning new moves is easy: type in the name of your town and hooping, or your town and “Hoop Troop” to find a local instructor. You can also search YouTube for great instructional videos to get started. I am a personal fan of SaFire, a Canadian hooper, and you can buy fitness DVDs at HoopGirl.com and Hoopnotica.com.

I’ve been hooping for over two years now. When I first started I was really focused on learning new tricks. It took me an entire summer to learn how to drop a hoop from my waist down to my knees and back up to my waist without losing any momentum. I was so excited when I finally mastered it! I also really like how the hoop changed my body; my arms became more taut and streamlined, my waist became more supple, and I lost an inch off each thigh.

Hooping is great for confidence, too. People will definitely stop and watch as you practice, so you better be okay with messing up in public. But don’t worry, everyone will be in awe at even the simplest trick. Hooping is also very social! You’ll likely be asked about hooping and I bring extra hoops with me so people can try it themselves. You might wind up with a little party going on!

Hoops cost as little as $30 and go up from there. You can get flashy LED hoops for around $100 (like I did for Christmas). I hope you’ll give it a whirl; it’s a great form of exercise.

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January 5th, 2012

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