New workouts pop up every day, and wouldn’t it be nice to try before you buy? In our “Last Night’s Workout” series we sweat, stretch and shimmy our way through the latest exercise crazes and report back to you so you can find the best one for your skill level and fitness goals.
The workout: Hula hooping isn’t just a playground pastime anymore. This kind involves a much heavier hoop than the one you swung around your hips as a kid—which is what makes it a great high-energy, cardio workout. Hoopnotica Master Trainer Jacqui Becker describes it as a full-body, holistic workout program, since it hits everything from your arms to your core, while burning fat all over. Plus, it’s actually fun and so low impact that anyone at any age can do it. “It appeals to people who don’t like to work out,” she adds, since it can actually feel more like play than work.But the biggest benefit of hula hooping lies in its accessibility. “A lot of people just want a bum-kicking workout that’s accessible,” Becker says, which we totally agree with. And hooping is indeed both. You can basically hoop wherever you have space for it. You can even bring your hoop along to work and sneak out to the park during your lunch break. You can do it in your house (if you don’t live in a closet-sized NYC apartment), and you can even fit in your workout with little ones running around—just get them to join in, too. Even if you’re pressed for time, it requires no setup, so you can squeeze it in no matter how tight your schedule.
The goal: According to research conducted by The American Council of Exercise (ACE) in 2011, “Exercisers can expect similar results from hooping as they’d get from boot-camp classes, step aerobics and cardio kickboxing.” Hoopnotica trainers say you can burn between 400-600 calories an hour, either in a Hoopnotica class or by simply following the DVDs at home. Traditional waist hooping burns calories and works the core, back, thighs and butt. “If you get lazy, the hoop falls,” Becker points out, so to keep it going, you’re automatically engaging multiple muscle groups. Plus, your body automatically works to protect your organs, so just the action of the hoop hitting your body engages your core muscles as they work to shield the important stuff inside.
The location: There are certified Hoopnotica instructors across the U.S. (click here to find one in your area), and in almost 30 other countries. You can find hoopers at your local YMCA, public park or yoga studio. But the best part of hooping is that you can also do it at home, on your own time. Visit Hoopnotica’s online shop to choose the right hoop and instructional DVD to get started.The price: Class prices vary. But if you’re interested in making the jump into hooping on your own, the TravelHoop Starter Kit, $55, is a great place to start. It comes with a hoop that can be disassembled for easy storage and transport, plus an introductory instructional DVD of waist hooping.Right now, Hoopnotica is offering a special discount to YouBeauty readers: From Jan. 22 through Feb. 22, enter the code YOUBEAUTY at checkout for 10% off anything on the site!