Two weeks on the Hula-Hoop

As promised, I am here with an update on my hula-hooping experiences.  I am going it alone as of right now since Karen (my unofficial hula-hoop partner) over at Waisting Time  is recovering from surgery and is out of commission until further notice.  Get well soon, Karen!

As some of you know, I received and christened an exercise hoop here on my blog on January 7th.  Except for two, I’ve been using it twenty minutes a day for the last 12 days and I thought I’d give an update on how it’s going.

First, the good:

1.  I absolutely love the idea of being able to pick it up and just start doing it; I don’t have to change clothes, go anywhere or have any other special equipment.  Just pick it up and get moving.

2.  Since it’s low impact, I don’t get all sweaty afterwards so I can hoop whenever the mood strikes me – whether it’s all at once or in short bursts throughout the day.

3.  It doesn’t feel like exercise.  It’s actually easy to forget that I’m doing it if I’m watching TV; who wouldn’t like that?

4.  It doesn’t interfere with my heart rate monitor’s chest strap so I know exactly how many calories I’m burning.

Some other things I’ve noticed:

1.  The better I get, the fewer calories I burn unless I get creative.  At first, I wasn’t used to working those muscles and it took more of an effort to keep the hoop moving.  Within a few days however, I was able to hoop without much effort which of course, reduced the number of calories burned.

2.  I’ve had to choose my location carefully.  Using my hoop requires  more room than I thought.  In order to get the most benefit out of the exercise I need to move around while using it: turning in a circle, side-steps, moving forward and backward, etc.  This requires  an 8’x8’ space or better.  If you don’t have that much space you can certainly still do it, but you’ll be limited as to what kind of movements you’ll be able to accomplish.

3.  It takes practice.  Just because I could make mine spin around my middle right away doesn’t mean that everything was all easy-peasy.  I don’t want to get bored so I’ve been concentrating on moving the hoop up and down my torso without it dropping to the ground.  If you get frustrated easily, be prepared unless you’re a natural. 

A few other thoughts on calorie burn:  I am currently weighing in at 132 and am 5’2”.  when I first began I was burning 76-78 calories per 15 minute session.  Now, I am burning around 76 calories over a 20 minute session.  Obviously, the heavier you weigh the more calories you will burn – really, the more uncoordinated you are the more calories you’ll burn;  moving around more (bending over, moving your hips more, etc.) will give you a better workout.

Now, having said all that, I can increase my heart rate by getting creative.  Like with any other exercise it’s good to keep challenging your body.  I’m doing things like maintaining a slight squat while hooping – good for the legs and rear-end.  Also, I’ve started holding onto 2 pound weights in each hand while hooping – good for the arms.  If that isn’t enough, I also spend half my time hooping clockwise, then the other half counter-clockwise.  That gives it a completely different feel altogether and challenges the mind as well because I’m going against my natural desire to move a certain way.

I’ll report back in another couple of weeks when I’ve been at this a full month.  At that time I’ll compare my measurements from when I started and let you know if I’m noticing any physical changes….right now it’s just too soon to tell, really. 

Overall, I don’t regret getting my hoop for a second.  I use the same mantra that I had when I was 235 pounds: every bit counts.  If I can burn calories while having fun, regardless of how few or how many – it’s worth it.

Thanks for reading today.  Wiggle those hips.

38 thoughts on “Two weeks on the Hula-Hoop

  1. roxie

    I think it’s just awesome that you’ve found hula-hooping to add to your arsenal. Any kind of exercise is good – mixing it up by finding something new is better. I think boredom is the killer of most lifestyle plans. Keeping it interesting is half the battle!

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      Boredom is definitely the killer for me. I can take routine for just so long before I want to scream! lol
      This is why the library is to beneficial for those like me who do not go to a gym. I check out as many exercise dvds as I can and that helps a lot.

      Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      It can be a challenge, Karen. My husband still cannot do it and he doesn’t have the patience for it. Still, I’ve read that anyone can do it with practice. Have you ever tried it using a weighted hoop? Those are made special so that you can keep it going; that’s the kind I have.

      Reply
  2. Vickie

    maybe you said and I missed it

    are you noticing a TONE/core strength difference? is there a difference in the waist band of your pants for example?

    And have you watched yourself hoop in the mirror to see what is happening with your posture?

    I have written about the need to progress in exercise a lot. People just starting out often do not understand this. Just as you said – as we get smaller and develop better skills – we have to up the intensity.

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      Hi, Vickie
      You know, it’s just too soon for me to say. It’s been just shy of 2 weeks and I’m going to give it another 2 before I make my decision on that. I have not watched myself because I’m pretty limited to where I can hoop (currently in my family room) and there’s no mirror in there. However as far as my posture goes, I raise my arms up and stretch my torso when I hoop and it’s as though I am more aware of my posture when I do that….like I’m elongating myself, if that makes sense. I’ll be sure to let you know, though.

      Reply
      1. Vickie

        You are right that raising your arms above your head will help greatly with your posture. From yoga I know that when the arms go up, often the shoulders follow. So, in yoga, we raise the arms and then take the shoulders back and down to adjust. I also know from working with my lower back in physical therapy that we pull our core ‘up’ and push our bottom/backside slightly down to support our lower back. this is for walking – the walking movement actually comes from the core and not the legs. I add that thought here as I think it would apply to hula stance too.

        Reply
  3. Karen

    I loved reading this!! Had a smile on my face the whole time. You are rocking that thing and I hope I can come close to your energetic hooping when my time comes. So, here’s the weird thing, I had not thought about this as a calorie burn. Really! I was just thinking about it as a waist-whittler. Looking forward to seeing if you measurements support my optimism:)

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      We just need to get you better so you can give me some pointers that I might be missing ;)
      It definitely burns calories! I just checked out a hula hooping dvd from the library, believe it or not. It’s called ‘Hoopnotica’ and it’s a workout. When I give my next 2 wk update I’ll let you know what I think of it – I’ve got it for 3 weeks. Keep fingers crossed for a little waist whittle. I think my hopes are set too high, but you never know!

      Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      I’m becoming quite the ‘hoopster’, Michele! I will give my final call on it in a couple of weeks though. I really wish I were just doing this and nothing else; that way if there is a change in measurement I’d know specifically where it came from. But since I’m also using free weights and working on my core it will be harder to tell. Still, I will know something within a month’s timeframe, I figure.

      Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      It is fun, Joy! And it doesn’t feel like exercise at all. Let me know if you get on the ‘hoop-wagon’ cause I’d love to have another hooping buddy!

      Reply
  4. Susan@Home Workouts

    Hey Ellen, hula hooping seems like an interesting way to stay active. However, I am concerned that, because you aren’t really working up a sweat and it doesn’t feel like exercise, it probably isn’t. Something like that is ok for off training days, but shouldn’t be relied upon for serious fat burning.

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      Oh, I couldn’t agree more. In another comment I mentioned that I’m also strengthening my core as well as doing cardio and free weights so it would be hard to tell whether this actually does anything or not; however I checked out a dvd from the library that is specifically for hula hooping exercises. I’m eager to see if that has any effect on my heart rate. We’ll see!

      Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      I never thought I’d be attempting this as an exercise experiment, Rick. We’ll see how it goes. If nothing else, at least it’s fun, right? Thanks for reading today and for your comment :)

      Reply
  5. Shannon

    Hula Hoop sounds so fun! That’s an awesome workout idea! I know the Wii fit has a hula hoop workout that my friends do but it’s not like an actual hula hoop! Great job!

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      It is fun but can get a little monotonous so I always have the tv on when I do it! I’ve done the one on the wii fit and I think I actually burn more calories doing that – it’s harder!

      Reply
  6. Roz

    How fun! Our Wii fit has a hula hoop exercise and we love it. We must look silly wiggling away with nothing on us, but we definately work up a sweat. Have a great day, keep hooping!!!!!

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      Mimi, it’s funny that you mention that because I thought that too (I have a long history with back problems and usually throw my back out every couple of years – to the point where I’m on the floor and cannot move) but it really doesn’t affect my lower back at all. However, I threw the ball for my dog today – never had a problem. Then I threw it UNDER handed, and now I’m laying here answering your comment with an ice pack on my back. You just never know what will set it off.

      Reply
  7. Tim

    The more I read about your hula hooping, the more I wanna have a go!

    Have you learnt any of those tricks yet from the video I posted?? ;-)

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      Not any that I intend to share, Tim!
      Now, if YOU decide to hoop, you must take video like I did. Those are the ‘rules’. I didn’t make them up; it’s just something that every new hooper knows. ;)

      Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      My husband thinks I need to get a small poodle and juggle it around above my head while I’m hula hooping. Now, THAT would be something to vlog about!

      Reply
  8. Sheri

    Brings back great memories of a kid when I use to hool-a-hoop. Hard to imagine such active kids can become so overweight and unhealthy….thanks for taking me back!

    Reply
  9. Hanlie

    I think I might just give this a try, provided of course I can find a big enough hoop! It sounds like fun.

    I did have a hoop in my teens, but I was never much good. Time to give it a whirl, I think.

    My biggest wish is for a full-size trampoline…. My husband’s not biting though…

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      They really are a lot of fun and I think the biggest size is 42 inches in diameter which is the one that I have. Now, and trampoline would be great fun and that really gets me winded!

      Reply
  10. Pingback: My month-long hula-hooping experiment | Fat Girl Wearing Thin

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