Add This Unusual Sport to Your Daily Routine

If you grew up in the 1950s and '60s, you likely took part in this toy craze...

In 1958, the Wham-O toy company did something unusual... It featured one of its toys – the Hula-Hoop – on American Bandstand. American Bandstand was a popular music and dance program for kids and teenagers at the time. It didn't take long for the Hula-Hoop's popularity to take off. Whether you had one at home or used one during gym class at school, if you're a Boomer, you've probably hula hooped.

But people were using hula hoops long before that... starting around 500 B.C., according to a vase in the Louvre, in Paris. It depicts Ganymede – a Trojan hero who was abducted by the gods to serve as Zeus' cup bearer – rolling a hoop made out of vines.

Today, hula hooping is having a resurgence. According to the Hula Hoops Market Research Report, in 2022, the hula hoops market reached a value of over $345 million. One reason why is the health benefits...

Studies show that hooping for 30 minutes will give you a workout on par with 30-minute boot-camp, kickboxing, or cardio dance classes. A 2019 Finnish study found – when compared with walking about 10,000 steps a day – hooping an average of about 13 minutes per day will:

  • Decrease abdominal fat percentage
  • Increase trunk muscle mass
  • Lower LDL cholesterol as much as other resistance training exercises

Hooping also improves your heart, lungs, and circulation. It's a fun way to lower stress. And it will also improve your brain and immune system functions. Hooping is a low-impact activity, so it's easy on your joints. This makes it a great activity for folks of all ages.

You probably remember the striped, plastic hula hoops of your childhood, but today there are different types depending on your needs. For example, there are weighted hoops specifically for exercise. A standard-size hoop is typically 39 inches in diameter. You can also get a non-weighted hoop in that same size. Hoops can range in diameter from 29 inches (for kids) to 42 inches.

And there is another smaller hoop that has pieces you can attach and detach according to the circumference of your waist. It looks sort of like a colorful centipede with knobs and buckles all around it. And it has a weighted ball attached to a track that runs around the hoop.

Then there are also smaller-sized hoops that you can use on your arms or legs. As far as the weight of your hoop goes, start small and work your way up.

Learning to hoop isn't as difficult as you might think, but you may not get it on your first try. Give yourself a little time to get the hang of it... especially if you're using a weighted hoop for the first time.

First, you'll want to step into your hoop and pull it up to your waist. You can rest the hoop at the top of your tailbone, touching your lower back. Then, grip the hoop with both hands, twist to one side, and toss the hoop in the opposite direction. Move your hips in a circular motion to keep the hoop spinning around your waist.

Give hula hooping a shot this week. The hoops aren't hard to find... just head to your local Walmart or Target and try one out. Or you can have one delivered to you from Amazon (these are the ones my researcher has: weighted hoop style 1, weighted hoop style 2, arm hoops).

What unusual sports do you take part in? Let us know at [email protected].

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Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,

Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
August 1, 2023