Benefits of flowing with a Hula-Hoop

Using a Hula-Hoop is a near total-body workout that engages your entire core, said fitness contributor Dana Santas, a breathing, mobility and mind-body coach in pro sports. It’s an aerobic, calorie-burning activity that also improves balance and flexibility.

Santas uses it as part of her interval training and warm-up routines.

“I’m more of a proponent for hula hooping than crunches,” Santas said. Crunches only move your body in one direction — forward and backward — while hooping is a 360-degree movement.

“Hula hooping around your waist is going to be working your obliques big time and working your lower lats in your back, which is great because you’re making them stronger and more mobile at the same time,” Santas said.

If you’re waist hooping as an exercise, Santas recommends alternating between clockwise and counterclockwise rotations around your body. That engages all the muscles around your core. It’s also a neurological workout — challenging your brain to move in your nondominant direction.

Just like writing with your left or right hand, most people have a dominant direction for hooping.

Heavy exercise

Weighted hula hooping was found to decreased waist circumference, according to a small 2015 study published in The Journal of the National Strength and Conditioning Association. In the six-week trial, the participants lost an average of 1.3 inches (3.3 centimeters) from their waistline and 0.5 inch (1.27 centimeters) from their hips.

“We have seen miraculous weight loss stories, women who have lost 90 pounds and trimmed their waistline from the simple act of hooping 30 minutes a day,” said Hoopologie founder Rider.

Presnell said she’s in the best health of her life — physically and mentally — since she started hooping regularly. Hooping provides her with a mind-body connection.

“Hooping was a way for me to get out of my head,” said Presnell, who calls hooping a movement meditation.

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