What's Your Workout: Hula Hoop

Things I never did as a child:

  • Ride a bike
  • Eat processed fruit snacks (i.e. Fruit Roll Ups) and what my mother called “sugar cereals” (i.e. Cocoa Krispies and Cookie Crisp)
  • Play with a hula hoop

Most of these things probably wouldn’t make too much of a difference when it comes to me being a well-adjusted adult (which I am! Stop judging me!). But recently when I checked out a hula hoop workout class at Mint gym in D.C., I realized just what a big piece of childhood I was missing.

First of all, hula hooping is hard, especially as an adult. I mean, I’m 32 years old. I have hips and boobs and all sorts of weird fears about looking stupid, and now I have to try and twirl a plastic hoop around my waist AND in front of other people? No thanks!

But as I chatted with instructor Regina Armenta and the other ladies in this class, everyone assured me that they, too, were uncoordinated and not exactly professional hoopers.

Class starts with a warm up. We stretch and move with our hoop. So far, so good. Then we begin the twirling portion of our class. I used a special, heavier hoop that makes it easier to get momentum. Before you know it, I’m twirling! Honestly, I’ve only done this once before in my life and it was a few weeks ago at another What’s Your Workout shoot. Yeah yeah, pathetic… I know.

From there, we work on all sorts of moves with our hoop, taking it over head, under our legs and jumping through it. Apparently, hooping doesn’t always mean twirling. It’s actually an art form.

So the workout is a good deal of core. I mean, it’s pretty exhausting keeping the hoop spinning around your waist. Do this every day and you can probably whittle down your middle (I’m so clever). It’s a little bit of upper body, too, when you’re working to keep the hoop overhead.

But it comes down to this. Hula hooping is fun. As Regina said in our interview, it’s one of the few workouts that make you smile. And there was plenty of that in our class, especially when you heard the clang of me dropping my hoop every few minutes.

OK. So now I can check hula hooping off my “woe is my childhood” list. What’s next? Hmm... I think I’ll go with ... Cocoa Krispies.

Lauren Dunn is the News4 medical producer.

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