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.