Hula Hoop and Jump-Rope Your Way Thin
Hula Hoop Workout
Benefits: "Great transverse (rotational) and frontal (side-to-side) plane movement, which are important for reducing injury. Develops static balance (a foundation for the more important dynamic balance), improves core/trunk conditioning and flexibility," says Fabio Comana, MA, MS, an exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. Plus, it requires "considerable abdominal or 'core' muscle activity, and promotes balance, adds H. James Phillips, PT, PhD, School of Graduate Medical Education, Seton Hall University. Good for pelvic flexibility. Only problem is that it's not much of a cardio challenge unless you do it for a sustained period, says Mieke Scripps, PT, DT, a physical therapist for the Miami City Ballet.How You Play
Get the right size hoop, says Ron Klint, the founder of Canyon Hoops (www.canyonhoops.com). "Most hoops sold at the big box stores like Target or Kmart are kids' hoops. Unless you are very small or have the energy of a 6-year-old, you should avoid buying a kids' hoop. Adults need adult-size hoops that are larger in diameter and heavier. The measurement from the floor to the top of the hoop should be between 36 and 42 inches, or more for larger men and extremely overweight individuals. Anything from as little as 1 pound up to 5 pounds is common for adult hoops."
You can get a lighter hoop to make your work a bit harder.
How to get started? First, give yourself plenty of room. "Step into the circle and place the hoop firmly against your back with your hands on both sides. With your knees slightly bent, put one foot a bit in front of the other in a relaxed, comfortable position. Give the hoop a fast spin around your waist (the hoop should rotate over your bellybutton). Using a rocking motion, mostly back and forth, catch the hoop and 'bump' it in the front of your body then the back. Do not try to turn with the hoop in a circular motion. Get in the rhythm," says Klint.
Having trouble keeping it going? "Try putting the opposite foot in front and rotating the hoop in the opposite direction. Most right-handed people rotate the hoop from right to left, and left-handed people clockwise, left to right. Try it both ways and you will immediately see which is best for you," says Klint. If you want to put more spice to your hoop workout, Klint recommends adding some music.
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