Did you hula hoop as a kid? I remember trying (and failing) to keep the hoop up and spinning around my hips. So when the opportunity to take a Hoopnotica class (a fitness class that primarily consists of hoop dancing and other related exercise moves) came up, I was a little nervous that I'd have the same experience. I recruited some of my colleagues to join me and quickly learned that this is not your kid's hooping…
The class was awesome and I actually kept the hoop up for a long period of time (these hoops are heavier and larger than what you typically think of as a hula hoop). I quickly learned that hooping, as it's called, is a great way to work your core. Some of the moves also incorporate other parts of your body like your arms and triceps, giving you a full body workout.
The American Council on Exercise agrees as well. They recently published a study that concluded hooping is an excellent form of exercise. In fact, in the research, hooping was comparable to most other group fitness classes in terms of heart rate and calorie burn. Another huge bonus: it's so fun! The activity you enjoy doing (so it doesn't feel like exercise) is the one you'll stick with. I think I just might add hooping to my list of non-exercise exercise options.
If you're interested in trying a class, you can search for one in your area here, or consider buying a travel hoop with an instructional DVD here so you can perfect your technique at home.
Do you hoop?