How Many Calories Can I Burn Hula Hooping?

mailbox Hey –
I’ve been thinking lately about the various claims out there about how many calories hooping burns – one sees anywhere between 300 and 800 (!?) per hour. The upper echelon of the scale just seems way out-there to me — and what in the world are they basing it on? Any chance your detective skills and readers can get to the bottom of this for us all?
Love, Lara
Dear Lara,
How many calories an individual burns hula hooping will always be relative, but the scientific claim we stand behind is 100 calories in 10 minutes. Some using simple math have thus concluded 60 minutes equals 600 calories. This may be true in theory, and you can burn 600 calories doing many high impact aerobic exercises, but in reality it’s unlikely. The initial energy burning spike begins to decrease after ten minutes. Whether you’re sweating in an intensive hoop aerobics class or dreamily hoop dancing to Imogen Heap on a sunny day also plays a factor, as does your body weight and the weight of your hoop. That’s why giving a range – 300 to 600 calories – is accurate and useful.

7 thoughts on “How Many Calories Can I Burn Hula Hooping?

  1. I often will wear a heart rate monitor during hoop play and average about 455 calories in 60 minutes. This is with music on shuffle, 5-8 minutes of warming up, rocking out, taking time to hydrate, skip tracks, occasionally futz with the video camera … all intertwined.

  2. I know that Christabel (HoopGirl) actually sought out hard evidence to see how many calories are burned while hooping. If I recall correctly, I think she said the participants averaged burning 600 calories per hour. I don’t remember the exact conditions, but you could contact her to find out!

  3. Hi there! Just wanted to chime in. One of my students wore a Sense Wear calorie tracker during one of my classes. Actually, she had to wear it 24/7 for her trainer to track how her whole lifestyle and workout regimen was going. When she went in to have a computer print out analysis of what burned the most calories in her whole program, they were shocked to discover that at the time of my class every week, she burned over 600 calories, way more than her trainers even got her to burn during her gym workout. For years I have shied away from calories claims, but now since I have an actual recording of it, I use this figure when people ask.
    All the best,

    1. Until someone does some definitive research, I can’t say for certain. There are those who believe that smaller faster lighter repetition is better and does more for calorie burning, that the weight of the hoop doesn’t matter, while others believe the opposite. While hooping burns as many calories as a boot camp workout – the variables are unknown. There is the factor though that you most likely won’t be hooping as long with a heavy weighted hoop as you would with an adult size dance hoop – which is already heavier than anything you’d buy in a toy store, but doesn’t come with that “not to be used for more than ten minutes daily” warning. Whatever the variables are, no one can dispute that more exercise is clearly a given.

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