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Why I Hoop (Hula, That Is)

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Normally, I’m not athletically-inclined. I took marching band to get out of gym. For me, to like something that resembles a sport is nothing short of a Christmas Miracle. Hooping is my sport and I'm not joking when I say I love it. Maybe it’s more an art form than a sport. Not that I'm graceful at it, but it's expressive and joyful. As hippy or cheesy as that sounds, it's true. I chug along on my elliptical, do strength training and lots of other things. And that’s all good. But hooping brings me joy; it makes me laugh. Belly laugh. While exercising. That’s new territory for me.

YouTube sucked me in. I saw a hooper doing things we never dreamed of doing with our hula hoops in the 70's. All I could think was, "That looks like fun and is there any way in the world I can do it?" I did enough research to learn that I had to have an adult-sized hoop. The little kiddie ones from the toy store wouldn't cut it. So, I ordered a moderately heavy hoop and started waist hooping. For TWO years. Try as I might, I could never do any tricks. I didn't know that my hoop was too heavy for that stuff. I didn't know anybody who hooped, and had no idea who to ask.

Finally, I broke down and ordered a lighter, dance hoop. I didn't think I'd actually be able to use it, but decided to try anyway. Then, I found the Hula Hoop All Stars SparkTeam with links to websites, tutorials and hoopers--lots of hoopers. Turns out, there's a whole subculture of "flow artists"-- hoopers, poi spinners, jugglers, fire artists. Who knew? I found a tutorial that explained a basic lift and promised my SparkBuddies I'd post a vlog when I learned how to do it. I learned. I posted. And everything went hoop crazy.

I couldn’t get enough of it; still can’t. I’d find myself hooping in the backyard for over an hour, sweat dripping off my hair, stopping only because I had to do laundry or cook dinner. It’s crazy. And the workout is no joke. When you’re really doing this stuff, it’s a full-body, cardio/toning workout. And your core—oh, how you work your core! When you first start, it feels like you’ve been doing crunches for days.
Now I’m in a hoop class, so I actually have someone to teach me cool stuff! There’s always another trick to learn, a new hoop to try. Better yet, hooping is something I share with my daughter. And boy, how I love to spread the hoop love. When friends come to the house, they try the hoops. Cookout in the backyard? Break out the hoops. And you know what? It always leads to smiles and laughter. And that, my friends, is why I hoop.

Check out MOSTMOM1's SparkPage for more hooping inspiration (and awesome video blogs!)

Have you tried hula hoooping?

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I hadn't hooped since I was a kid. Last summer, they had a hula-hoop contest and I won for the adults! I still haven't taken it up, but I love your blogs and vlogs and you are going to get me hooping yet! Report
I used to hoop before my surgeries and the weight gain, I ordered 2 large heavy hoops back then, I finally got to go pick them up 2 weeks ago. I have to learn all over but oh my gosh it is sooo much fun and now I'm buying a smaller lighter one too so I can relearn all my tricks. I have to go slow at this but its fun and exercise so WOOT! :D At 43 who knew I'd be getting back into my crazy circus freak ways. hahaha Report
I just got my first hoop. It is kind of heavy. I am shocked I can keep it up. I need to start to devote time to it to see if I love it as much as you do. Congrats and thanks for sharing... Report
Oh my gosh! Thank you so much for this! When I was a kid I used to hula hoop all the time, I'd walk everywhere hula hooping, I used to take pride in myself for how good I was. I am gonna get me a hoop! That's what I am asking for for Mother's Day!!! I hate exercise but I think I could get into hula hooping!!! Thank you so very much!! Report
You know you got me; at 70! Tried it; love it! Now I'm making hoops for all my grandkids! Report
I couldn't hoop as a kid but watching one of your videos encouraged me to give it a shot and I LOVE it! I'm not in the least bit graceful like the videos I watch but it makes me smile and am trying new things all the time. Not able to to a lot but just walking and hooping tickles me. It is never to late to try. I'm 47 and couldn't do this as a child but look at me now. *smile*

Thanks for spreading the love. Report
Great blog article, Shelli! Wondering why I have suddenly lost the ability to hoop. I think my hoop is too big.. 44". I've recently dropped an inch in my waist and an inch in my hips. I used to be able to do 2 songs or maybe 3 before it dropped and now I can't keep it up more than 6 or 7 spins around me before I lose it. WTF? Report
I think that is awesome! Something healthy and fun...It doesn't get better than that..Makes me want to try hooping again... Report
I do want to try this, as I kid, I was not successful but you have encouraged me Report
I used to hula hoop as a child and was pretty good at it. My hoop was white, with ble and red stripes and it made a noise (like metal beads were inside of it) as I hoola hooped. Please let me know where I can buy a decent hula hoop from...those cheap little kiddie ones never work for me. Please email me: Report
I recently got a travel hula hoop and love it. Some evenings, I hula hoop during my favorite shows on TV. I could go for hours it seems like. Report
I love hoops i can hoop with walmart hoops but i prefer the adult heavier ones ot is so fun keep it up!
I love hoops i can hoop with walmart hoops but i prefer the adult heavier ones ot is so fun keep it up!
I used to hula hoop when I was a child and I had a counter on my hula hoop. I remember doing all kind of tricks with mine. I recently tried to hula hoop and couldn't keep the hoop around my waist. I don't know what happened. It's amazing that you are doing so well with hula hooping! Keep up the good work! Report
It is totally evident how much you love it and it is infectious! You always have a smile on your face and your sense of humor is wonderful! You inspire me!! So where do you buy your hoops??? I watched someone walk out of Walmart with a hoop yesterdayand really thought about picking one up...see you are contagious! Report
I was in band too and I loved getting out of PE because of it.

And oh how you make me want to pick up hooping! Report
So Great. I wish I could Hoop. Report
Wow! Looks like SO much fun!!! And yes, you DO rock!!!! Love your blog. Report
You totally rock!!! Report
Shelli is the light of sunshine here on Spark. I'm waiting for her to be asked to become a Sparkpeople employee and hopefully she will conduct hula hoop workout videos and then I will definitely buy a hoop. Great inspiring article but I wouldn't expect anything else from the author. O.K., I'm a fan! Report
I tried it and never could do anything with it. You are amazing. Exercising and having fun at the same time is the best of two worlds. Your videos are out of sight. Thet are so much fun and enjoyable to watch. I watch them over and over at times. I like them so much. WAY TO GO. God Bless You and Have a Wonderful Week. Report
So cool and fun!! Report
I have always wanted to hula hoop. I don't know why I can't do it, even as a kid I couldn't keep the hoop going. It goes around once or twice and then heads for the ground. Report
This is the coolest thing I've heard about in awhile! I want to try it! Report
I used to win medals for hula-hooping every year at the "beach Olympics" our town did. Once I learned how to "bump" the hoop, I never dropped it. This makes me want to try it again! Report
I need to try this again---you've inspired me! You make it look like so much fun! I used to be the hula hoop champion of my neighborhood, but that was a looonngg time ago. I'll have to check out the tutorials again. Any favorites? Report
I just might have to try this at home. In private. LOL Report
Glad you found something that helps you exercise as well as have a lot of fun doing it. I have not tried this since I was a kid many years ago. Report
Your blogs are the most fun to read. Thanks for sharing! Report
Amazing, I think I will try it. Yeah! Report