Hula Hooping


Hula hooping is the twirling of a hoop shaped object around the body for fun or fitness.


Hula hooping is the activity of keeping a circular hoop spinning around one's body for fun or fitness. Most hula hooping is done with hollow plastic hoops, often in bright colors. The most common form of hula hooping involves spinning the hoop around the waist, although some expert hoopers spin hoops around their legs, arms, hands, and even necks.

Hula hooping is usually done by making a circular rocking motion with the hips. This is done while standing with the feet slightly apart for balance. Some hula hooping workouts involve standing with one leg extended out, or placing the body in different positions to work different muscle groups and improve balance.

Hula hooping is an exercise that can be fun for the whole family. It provides a good cardiovascular workout that increases heart rate and burns calories.

Hula hooping is an exercise that can be fun for the whole family. It provides a good cardiovascular workout that increases heart rate and burns calories.
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The physics of how hula hoops stay in motion are not well understood. Two scientific papers in academic physics journals have attempted to explain the dynamics of hula hooping using complex mathematical equations. For most people, however, it is not necessary to understand how exactly hooping works; instead, simply a few minutes of trial and error is enough to start most people hula hooping successfully.


Many people believe that hula hoops were invented in the 1950s but this is not true. Hula hooping actually dates back over 2,000 years. The ancient Greeks used hula hoops for exercise. Ancient Egyptian children would hula hoop using hoops made of dried vines. Ancient hula hoops were also made out of wood, metal, dried reeds, and grasses.

Hula hooping was popular in the 1800s in Britain, although at that time it was just called hooping. British soldiers who traveled to Hawaii saw the traditional hula dancers and it reminded them of the way children hooped back in Britain, so they began to refer to the activity as hula hooping. The name stuck, and now the activity is known as hula hooping throughout the world.

In the late 1940s, two toy sellers created the company called Wham-O. Their first product was slingshots, but their second product was the hula hoop. They manufactured colorful plastic hoops and marketed the hoops to children as a new toy. Wham-O trademarked the name Hula Hoop for their product.

Fitness hoops

Hula hooping has risen and fallen in popularity in the United States and throughout the world many times since the 1950s. In 1980, popularity peaked with a world championship hula hooping competition that attracted more than 2 million participants in more than 2,000 different cities all over the world. As of 2017, the popularity of hula hoops is again on the rise with the invention of weighted fitness hoops. Fitness hoops are designed for adults and are weighted to provide a more strenuous workout.

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Fitness hoops come in a variety of sizes and weights, generally between 2 and 5 lb. (1 and 2.5 kg). It is important not to use a hoop that is too heavy, as it can lead to strains and injuries. Although still only offered at a few gyms and fitness centers, the number of fitness hooping classes appears to be increasing. Many people are finding that hula hooping to fun dance music is a good way to burn calories and strengthen the abdominal muscles.


The main purpose of hula hooping is for fun and fitness. Hula hooping is an activity that can be enjoyed by people of nearly all ages and fitness levels, which makes it a great fitness activity for families. Hula hooping can be used to increase muscle tone and balance, and also can be used for general fitness and weight loss purposes.


There are very few serious risks associated with hula hooping. Anyone beginning a new fitness regime should consult a physician. Beginning rigorous physical activity after a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Hula hooping can lead to muscle strains and sprains, especially if done incorrectly or with a hoop that is too heavy. Hula hooping with the body at unnatural angles can lead to muscle strains. Using weighted hoops that are too heavy can lead to offbalanced hooping which can strain the muscles of the back.


Hula hooping provides a cardiovascular workout that increases heart rate and burns calories. Some hula hooping experts suggest that hula hooping can burn up to 600 calories per hour, but that is likely to be true only if an individual is using a heavily weighted hoop and hooping fairly quickly. For most individuals, hula hooping at moderate intensity burns about 300 to 400 calories per hour.

Hula hooping works a variety of muscle groups. The primary muscles worked while hooping are the muscles of the abdomen and lower back. Strengthening these muscles can lead to improved posture and balance and can reduce back pain. Depending on how the hula hooping is done, it can also be a good workout for the muscles in the arms, legs, and chest. Hula hooping video workouts provide different hula hooping exercises to work different muscle groups.

Regular physical activity such as hula hooping can help an individual lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, lower cholesterol, and improve overall health. Maintaining a healthy weight can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. Regular exercise into the senior years has been found in some studies to reduce the risk of dementia such as Alzheimer's disease and some cancers.


No preparation is required for most hula hooping. If a weighted fitness hoop is going to be used, it is advisable to stretch and warm up as one would before any fitness activity. The only equipment required for hula hooping is the hoop. Hula hooping can be done wearing shoes or barefoot. Wearing loose-fitting clothes or very bulky clothes may make keeping the hoop moving much more difficult. Padded clothing such as winter coats will cushion the hoop and may prevent successful hula hooping.



Certification and training

No special certification is required to hula hoop. Hula hooping is fun and easy. People of nearly all ages and fitness levels can pick up a hoop and get started right away without any special instruction.

There is no official organization that oversees hula hooping instructors. Although not an especially popular form of group exercise, some hula hooping fitness classes do exist. There is no training or certification necessary to teach a hooping class. However, Hoopnotica, a company founded in 2006, offers training and certification for instructors who wish to teach classes using Hoopnotica's brand of weighted hoops. It is not clear what type of training or oversight is required to obtain such a certification.



Brizee, Lori S., and Sue Schumann Warner. Healthy Choices, Healthy Children: A Guide to Raising Fit, Happy Kids. Brewster: Paraclete Press, 2011.

Eberle, Scott G. Classic Toys of the National Toy Hall of Fame: A Celebration of the Greatest Toys of All Time! Philadelphia: Running Press, 2009.

Parham, Phil, and Amy Parham. The Amazing Fitness Adventure for Your Kids. Eugene: Harvest House, 2011.


Hamill, Sean D. “Hooping Already Has its Own Jane Fonda.” The New York Times (March 22, 2010): 10.

Polak, Monique. “My Waist Has a Lot More Definition: Women Love the New Hula Hoop Craze.” Maclean's 123, no. 29/30 (August 2, 2010): 80.


Goodman, Brenda. “Hula Hoop Workouts Burn Calories.” WebMD. February 11, 2011. (accessed January 18, 2017).

Laskowski, Edward R. “Do Weighted Hula Hoops Provide a Good Workout, or are They Just a Gimmick?” Mayo Clinic. June 24, 2014. (accessed January 17, 2017).


American Council on Exercise, 4851 Paramount Dr., San Diego, CA, 92123, (858) 576-6500, (888) 825-3636, Fax: (858) 576-6564,, .

Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, 1750 E Northrop Blvd., Ste. 200, Chandler, AZ, 91403, (800) 446-2322,, .

Tish Davidson, AM

  This information is not a tool for self-diagnosis or a substitute for professional care.