If running’s not your thing and you can’t imagine going to the gym, you can still get a quality cardio workout in with a hula hoop. A 10-minute workout will get your heart pumping to challenge your cardiovascular system, and burn calories to help you reach and maintain a healthy body fat percentage.
Perform each hula hoop exercise back-to-back if possible, but if you need to stop the hoop and set yourself, do so. Beginners should start with a hoop that’s at least 40 inches, notes Health.com. Dr. Edward R. Laskowski of MayoClinic.com notes, however, that the lighter the hoop, the more energy you have to put forth to keep the hoop spinning. A heavier hoop will keep going more easily, which would allow you to hula hoop for a longer duration.
Classic Hoop and Walking
Begin with the classic side-to-side hula hoop activity. Start by standing inside the hoop and holding at waist level with both hands. Push the hoop to one side so that it starts to swing around your hips. Keep the hoop rotating by swaying your hips. The movement at the hips is more of a side-to-side movement. Imagine that you’re standing in between two friends and are bumping each with your hips. Complete for two minutes. At the two-minute mark, transition into walking. Take 10 steps forward while still rotating the hoop around your waist, and then take 10 steps backward. Continue for one minute, which will take you to the three-minute mark.
Front-and-Back and Wide-Foot Stance
Once you hit three minutes, stop walking and go right into the front-and-back hula exercise. Place one foot in front of the other so they’re in a staggered position. Allow your knees to bend just slightly. Rotate the hoop around your waist by moving your hips in a front-to-back manner. Do the front-and-back exercise for one minute. This will take you to the four-minute mark, where you’ll go right into hula hooping from the wide-foot stance. While the hoop is still rotating around your waist, set your feet so that they’re wider than your hips. Lift your arms up so that they’re straight and your hands are held together over your head. Hula hooping from this position will increase the demand on your abdominals and obliques. Keep going for a minute to take you to the five-minute mark.
Prayer Halo and Bump
You’re in the right position to go right into prayer halo. If you can, increase the force that you’re rotating your hips to get the hula hoop to travel up your torso while still rotating. Continue until the hoop goes up your arms to your hands. With your arms taught, move them side-to-side to have the hoop swing around your wrists. Do this for a minute, which will take you to six minutes. For the next minute, keep the hoop around your hands as you simultaneously perform body-weight squats. This will take you to minute seven, when you’ll move into the bump exercise. Rotate the hoop back down your arms and torso until it’s around your waist once again. Bring your feet together and bend your knees as you bend forward at the waist, keeping your back straight. While you stay bent over, bend and straighten your knees to keep the hoop spinning. You’ll do this for a minute, bringing you to a total of eight minutes.
Jump-Through and Classic Hoop
For the final two minutes, you’ll complete one-minute of jump-through and one minute of the exercise that you began the workout with, the classic hoop. For jump-through, stop rotating the hoop around your waist and step out of the hoop. Grab one end with both hands together, held right in front of your waist. Swing the hoop around and use it as a jump rope for a minute. Once that minute is up, complete one final minute of the classic hoop movement.
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.