Fitness

Hooping Through Your Body Image Issues

mirror by Mandi Smith

Hooping is an effective total body workout that burns over four hundred calories an hour. That’s approximately the same amount of calories as cardio kickboxing and bootcamp style classes. So it’s no surprise that there are a lot of amazing stories out there about how hooping has helped people lose weight. This is not one of them. This is a story, my story, of how hooping has helped me love my body more, regardless of how much I weigh. For most of my life I have had body image issues. In my particular case, I had 288 pounds worth. Just to clarify, my weight didn’t necessitate my issues. There are those who only weigh 88 pounds and struggle with body image. Then there are people who weigh 288 and look fabulous and know it. They have absolutely no problem strutting their stuff. I just wasn’t one of them.

Do Magnetic Fitness Hula Hoops Really Work?

magneticmassagehulahoop by Caitlin Freeman

Have you ever seen a magnetic fitness hula hoop? Y’know, they come in a box that weighs about five pounds? It’s the one with the picture of a smiling woman rocking her six-pack abs with a giant, bumpy plastic hoop on the front. I’ve seen products like it ever since picking up my first hoop in 2011. I’ve peered curiously at the ads and marveled at their promises to burn “100 calories in 10 minutes”. Whenever I imagined trying one, however, I’d think about how much it would hurt when I inevitably dropped it on my toe, or whacked myself in the nose. I must admit that I’ve continued to feel the pull of magnetic fitness hoops though. I’ve ended up returning to that box on the shelf repeatedly. And questions have continued to loom in the back of my mind – “Do those magnets really make that much of a difference?” “What’s up with the supposed massage effect?” “Do they even work?” With a degree in Exercise Science and a need to leave no question unanswered, I decided it was time to finally solve this mystery for all of us.

I want to begin with what really sets these apart from standard adult-sized dance hoops and other types of fitness hoops: the magnets. These special hoops operate on the idea of biomagnetism, which claims that exposure to a static magnetic field can increase the rate of cellular respiration. So magnets make you break down more fuel, use more calories, and speed up weight loss, right? Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case. Unable to find any conclusive proof that magnets actually assist in weight loss online, I decided to venture deep into the world of academic research.

The idea of biomagnetism and weight loss has not been widely researched. In fact, I found just one recent experiment that directly addressed this issue. The researchers found that long-term exposure to a static magnetic field could lead to a decrease in body weight in mice, which was attributed to a suppressed food intake. So perhaps these magnetic hoops can increase weight loss through a mechanism of simply eating less. This is where an important distinction must be made though. In the research, the mice were exposed to a magnetic field all day long. Due to the weight of these hoops, using them for an extended amount of time, like more than ten minutes a day, is not recommended. Taking that into consideration, I do not think we can say that using these hoops provides enough adequate exposure to magnets to warrant the effects of appetite suppression.

Even if the magnets are ineffective, however, burning “100 calories in 10 minutes” sounds pretty tempting. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), however, a choreographed hoop fitness class with a standard adult-sized dance hoop can burn about 7 calories a minute. This is obviously below the advertised 10 calories per minute claimed by using the magnetic hoop. For said claim to be true, using these magnetic hoops would have to qualify as vigorous physical activity. That would mean most people should only be able to speak in short bursts while using the hoop, with heart rates somewhere between 70 and 85 percent of their maximal. While this may be true for some, for most of us they would be working at a lower level of intensity, meaning the calorie-torching benefits would be lessened, so it doesn’t really add up.

Not only do the benefits not seem to be there, there may be some drawbacks to using a magnetic fitness hula hoop as well. While they call attention to the massaging effect, many people report discomfort and bruising from the weight and design of these hoops, beyond what occurs from standard hoop bruising. For novice hoopers or people trying it out for the first time, this can potentially be very discouraging, maybe even reducing their likelihood to continue. Believe it or not, being repeatedly covered in painful bruises might chase some people away rather than bring them into the community. Our community of hoopers is a very encouraging one, and we think hooping should be a positive experience for everyone who takes the first steps to try it out.

Another drawback would be the amount of time that you can actually use these hoops. Most fitness hoops that weigh a few pounds or more come with a warning not to use them for more than ten minutes a day. While they might seem great for whittling the waist, the amount of time spent in actual exercise is rather minimal, not to mention laborious. Using an adult-sized dance hoop that weighs less than 2 pounds, however, allows you not only to exercise longer, but to be able to do much more than waist hooping. It’s also a hell of a lot more fun, too.

So, the promises of magnetic hoops and the realities seem to be at opposite poles. The magnets do not seem to rev up the body’s metabolism as promised, and the claims of calories burned are higher than what currently available research shows. However, moving your body a little is better than not moving your body at all. I respect magnetic hula hoops because they are an avenue to bring people into our happy hooping family, even if they are covered in bruises. And, ultimately, we’re delighted to see you in arrive in our circle, no matter what your hoop looks like.

What do you think? Have you ever used a magnetic hoop? If so, let us know about your experience in the comments below!

———————————————–

caitlinfreeman You can tell Caitlin Freeman is a hooper just by looking at her car. There are rolls of duct tape in the trunk, a satchel full of her favorite hoops in the back seat, and some stray connectors rolling around on the floor somewhere. She picked up the hoop in 2011, and she has yet to put it down. Hooping provided her with an outlet to explore her personality and to fall in love with movement. A full-time fitness instructor, Caitlin lives in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. She’s on Facebook.

Hula Hooping Through Your Pregnancy

pregnancy7 by Lilea Duran

I started my first pregnancy as so many new moms do, nervous, reading baby books and taking prenatal yoga classes, but I wanted something more! I wanted to move! Dance! Feel like myself again! Though I first picked up a hula hoop when I was 23-years-old, it wasn’t until my first pregnancy two full years later that my hooping journey really began. After talking with my midwife and doctor about it, I started hooping and found a whole new way of exercising through pregnancy, connecting with my growing baby, and staying in touch with myself through my life’s biggest change Ever. Fast forward four years later and hooping has not only helped me now through two pregnancies, but I know keeping hooping in my life has helped me be the best parent I can be to my two children.

When it comes to hooping through pregnancy, I’ve discovered over the years that there are some misconceptions out there that really need to be addressed. That’s why I got in touch with several inspiring hooping mamas in our community and asked them to share their journey and advice on hooping through pregnancy. Here is what they had to say:

Salina Hudak’s Amazing Hooping Transformation

SalinaHoops Salina Hudak, aka Salina Hoops, has been hooping for two years and during that time has made an inspirational transformation. She says, “I tried hooping and gave up because I couldn’t even hoop around my waist. Then I gave it another go. Since then my confidence and self esteem just bloomed. I started losing weight too. Alot of it. I lost a total of 70 lbs in 5 months!” Her hoop love runs deep and someday she would like to open a studio where she can inspire others through hoop dance, the way it has inspired her. We love it!! Salina is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, and her soundtrack is “Man on Fire” by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, which can be easily purchased and downloaded for your own collection on iTunes.

Our 30/30 Hoopy New Year Challenge

3030advert by Philo Hagen

Don’t you just love that clean slate feeling of a new year rolling around again? Whatever happened in 2014 is now a thing of the past and we’ve got our eyes on 2015 and it’s looking really good! Woot woot! And whatever your new year resolutions might be, Hooping.org is here to help you kick your 2015 off just right with the perfect challenge to take care of practically all of them. If you want to be happier, feel sexier and have more fun in the new year, we’ve got just the challenge for you. If you want to lose the holiday weight that found you at all of those holiday parties, we’ve got the challenge for you too. If you want to be more mindful and centered in 2014, to be more present and radiant in the new year, we’ve got the perfect challenge for you. It’s time for our annual 30/30 Hoopy New Year Hooping Challenge that will help you spin up whatever resolutions and revolution you want to see come your way.

Those who have been with us awhile are familiar with how our 30/30 challenges works, but for those that are new, here’s what you need to know. The basic premise is this: 1) Make a public commitment in the comments below to hoop for at least 30 minutes a day for 30 consecutive days during the month of January. 2) When you are finished with your hoop session each day, post a comment about your daily hooping experience, however brief or detailed, on the “Day 1″ and then “Day 2″ and then “Day 3″ posts for each corresponding day of the challenge on Hooping.org’s Facebook Page. Why? So we can all have accountability to one another. So we can all really support each other along the way.

Each day of the challenge a new challenge photo post will go up on Hooping.org’s Facebook Page and the first one is already up and waiting for your New Years Day hooping so spread the word! The more hoopers we have doing this together, the more fun it’s going to be for all of us. And seeing as January has 31 days in it, you can totally begin on January 2nd as well and still hoop up your 30 minutes of hooping for 30 days in January. BUT for those of us who start on New Years Day itself, we will all have a wild-card free pass day at our disposal, to use at our own discretion, should we need it at some point during the month. Just check in on that daily post and say that you used or are using your Wild Card day.

And to motivate all of us even more we’ve got a little prize incentive for you too. We’ve got a pretty cool little collection of hooping related stickers for our winner and an iTunes gift card. So go for it! Of course everyone who is spinning up this challenge is already a winner in the new year just for participating. To be eligible for the little prize drawing, however, you must:

1) Post your commitment to our New Year 30/30 Hooping Challenge in the comments below.
2) Hoop for a minimum of 30 minutes each day of the challenge. You can break it into several smaller sessions during your day if you need to, just as long as they add up to at least 30 minutes a day.
3) Share about your daily 30/30 hooping experience on Hooping.org’s Facebook Page on the photo post corresponding to that day. At the end of the month all who completed the challenge will be entered into a random drawing.

So let’s spin up the joy and fun and fitness and radiance for 2014. It’s a new year and it’s time to let go and bring an even better you into it, so have fun hooping your way into the new year and reaping all of the benefits along the way. And please help spread the word so that we can spread the joy and fun and fitness of hooping and community even further too. Good luck everyone and here’s to all of us having a super healthy, happy and hoopy new year!

———————————————————–

Philo Hagen Philo Hagen is the Co-founder and Managing Editor of Hooping.org. He’s been spinning things up online and off since April 2003. Co-Founder of the Bay Area Hoopers and LA Hoopers hoop groups, Philo has performed internationally and has won Hoopie Awards for Male Hooper of the Year and Video of the Year. He lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Hula Hoop Core Workout with Deanne Love

DeanneLove Are you ready to burn some calories and break a sweat looking fabulous while you do it? Deanne Love of Hooplovers is here with a Hoop Boot Camp Workout that’s great for any hooping skill level, so give it a spin. Our 2014 Hoopie Award winning Instructor of the Year focuses on Core Muscle Training here and says this was created, “So we can have a super hooper workout in between our dance and trick play.” Deanne lives in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

5 Great Reasons to Keep Hooping All Winter

 Danie Evans celebrates winter hooping in the snow.

Danie Evans celebrates winter by hooping in the snow.

by Jenn Dixon

It can be a challenge to keep our hooping practice spinning during the winter months, and it is easy to make excuses not to hoop when the weather isn’t cooperating. The longer you go without hooping though, the harder it can be to get back into it. We had a rough winter here last year in the northeastern United States. It was bitter cold. There was a lot of snow. It wasn’t exactly ideal hooping weather, but with a little motivation and the right perspective I was able to keep right on hooping. In fact, there are five great reasons that kept me motivated last year and they’re keeping me motivated this year too. Need some motivation yourself? Here are my reasons to keep hooping it up all winter long, even if you have to do so indoors.

1. Hooping Feels Good All Year: Last year I hooped a lot inside. I pushed back the kitchen table and moved some other things around so I could turn around in my apartment at least a little bit. Sure, I still managed to knock the magnets off the refrigerator, but most of the room came out of my hooping practice unscathed. And y’know what? Winter hooping in my kitchen gives me a boost both mentally and physically. Winter can be a dark time with long nights of lethargy, but with the help of your hoop you won’t have to suffer through this time of hibernation. Many people can feel the effects of depression during the winter too due to a lack of sunlight and movement. I am one of them. Exercise can help you ward off the blues. So remember that during the winter months you’re not just hooping for fun, you’re hooping for your mental health. If you start feeling down, go grab your hoop and play inside. The endorphins from exercise will lift your spirits, keep down your stress levels and help you relax. Remember, a little hooping can spin a little summer back into even the most wintery day.

2. Hooping Indoors Challenges and Rewards Us: Winter also offers us a time to really learn and stretch ourselves as hoopers. It isn’t a time to stop doing what we love and no matter what your space is you will find over time that hooping indoors can quite often challenge us to learn to hoop precisely. We need to make our moves tight and clean to avoid hitting furniture, pets or family, and over time that need for control pays off. Last year when winter ended and I began hooping outdoors again, I really became aware of just how much indoor winter hooping had taught me. Plus we can drill, drill, drill certain moves at home too that may have given us trouble all summer long. I am currently working on perfecting my isolations and isopops and both are great to practice indoors.

3. Say So Long to Holiday and Winter Weight Gain:  We all know that fall and winter are the seasons of parties and holiday celebratory gatherings, and those can quite often include desserts and snacks, if not large holiday meals. Hooping during the winter is a fun and easy way to keep us from packing on those winter pounds too. It’s no big secret that hooping burns 210 calories in one half hour. Spin up some core hooping in front of an hour-long television program. Change directions during the commercials and you’ve burned 420 calories in your living room without even trying. That’s the equivalent of a deep fried Twinkie – so if you have that extra piece of pumpkin pie, don’t fret. You can hoop it off after dinner.

4. The Indoor Hooping Video Advantage: Hook up a computer or laptop to the TV, load up Hooping.org and watch some videos. You’re sure to find inspiration and you’ll be somewhere for a change that you can watch the video while you hoop. Do a search for video tutorials too for your skill level. There are plenty of great ones on here because our Video Team loves to feature the very best and rather than finding yourself outdoors in the sun trying to remember that move you saw earlier, take advantage of winter hooping season by having it right in front of you. I am personally a visual learner. Being able to watch someone demonstrate a move right in front me is better than trying to remember what the steps are later, so having access to the television is actually a boon for learning new tricks.

5. Shorter Sessions Still Work Wonders: During the summer we might be inclined to head to the park with our hoops and crank the tunes and hoop for hours.  When the weather gets chilly, we may find ourselves having to shorten our hooping sessions. This may work better for a lot of people during the colder weather. Our sessions may be shorter and that’s okay. Even just a few minutes of hooping can pay off in a big way. So rather than burrowing under a blanket and hibernating when the weather gets chilly, make a promise to yourself to make time to practice and commit to a schedule that works for you. Personally, I like to hoop daily and unwind in the evening with a hot cup of tea. Find a winter hooping routine that works for you.

So there you have it, my five motivational reasons to hoop all winter long. Here’s a bonus tip for you too. Another thing that helps me keep motivated is to always have a hoop where I can see it and easily grab it. The hoop in my living room acts as a reminder to actually pick it up and practice. Remember the old saying “Out of sight, out of mind?” Remember that when it comes to your winter hooping practice. I encourage everyone to beat the weather and the blues by keeping active and hooping this winter. It’s just as important to keep our skills sharp and fresh, as it is to take care of our bodies and minds while the weather is colder. Challenge yourself to hoop all winter long and you’ll reap the many benefits along the way.

—————————————————

Jenn Dixon Jenn Dixon needed something to get her off the couch. A friend suggested she try hooping, she checked it out, and she has been hooked ever since. Jenn has been hooping since October 2013 and she also works for her local county government, knits, and takes photos. You can read about her hooping adventures on her blog Hoopinions. Jenn lives in Akron, Pennsylvania, USA, with her husband and she’s also on Facebook.

9 Great Warm Up Exercises For Hoopers

hoopwarmup by Philo Hagen

When we first start hooping and we’re focusing on just keeping the hoop moving around our core, and we tend to only hoop for short periods of time, we don’t really need to warm up for hooping all that much. We can generally do some simple stretches and give it a spin. But the more we hoop, and the longer we do it and better we get at it, the more we begin to bring our whole body to the experience. Once we begin to bring more of our body to hooping, and spin it up for longer periods of time, it becomes increasingly important to warm up some first, especially this time of year when the world around us might be getting colder. Hooping may put a smile on our face, but it’s pretty hard to maintain that smile once you pull a muscle.

Picture all of the muscles in our bodies being like rubber bands. If you spend your day sitting in front of a computer in a desk chair that may or may not be ergonomically right for you, most of our rubber bands are spend the day being relatively, if not completely, unused. That lack of overall body movement combined with stress tends to make our bodies feel tight and constricted. So when we head home after a long day of physical inactivity and crank the tunes and grab our hoop, the cold Autumn air meets our cooler unstretched rubber band bodies and if we do too much too soon something may just snap. Ouch!

For those who already have a yoga or stretching practice that they’re into, you can certainly bring that to your hooping experience. When it comes to hoop dance, however, dynamic warm-ups are really the smart way to go. When you jump around and loosen up your muscles and wake your body up first and get it active before you hoop, you’re letting it know to get ready for action. Doing so gets your body on game plan and will help you avoid injury. A dynamic warm up can also help us activate our central nervous system, priming those muscle bands for a session they’re really going to enjoy. Throw in improved blood circulation to really help you perform well, and by the time you pick up your hoop you’re really good to go.

Warming up before we hoop can also help us become better hoopers. How? When your muscles and joints are ready for maximum flexibility, you’ll be able to stretch them farther and with greater extension. You can transform those quick short vortexes into taller and higher moves than you would ordinarily be able to do. When we warm up first, we are creating a body with more agility and movement and in doing so we’re really adding some additional colors and textures and techniques to our art.

How much time will it take? Doing a proper warm up need only take five to ten minutes. So, are you ready for a dynamic warm up? Always keep in mind to only do what you can, what feels good for your own body, and adjust the exercises in the warm up so that you feel physically good about doing them and go from there.

1: 30 Seconds of jumping rope. Jumping rope for 30 seconds will really wake up our whole body. Don’t have a rope? Pretend you do and practice your invisible jump rope anyway.

2: 20 jumping jacks. Pull your shoulder blades back, extend your arms and really focus on the movement. You’re getting all of your limbs ready to hoop.

3: 5 body weight squats. This really gets your legs ready for action.

4: 5 lunges for each leg. Not familiar with how to do a lunge properly? Liz will tell you all about it.

5: 5 hip extensions. Tamera can teach you how to do a very low impact hip extension below. If you’re already very fit, you can try doing the same thing, but approaching it being from the ground on all fours on your hands and knees. Lift a leg back behind you and extend your hip. The principle is the same and the stretch will be in greater.

6: 5 hip rotations for each leg. If you’re doing hip extensions on the ground, roll over on to your side and rotate your hip as well. Bryan can tell you more about it above.

7: Leg Swings. Go for 5 standing forward leg swings and 5 standing side leg swings using each leg.

8: 5 arm swings. Hold your arms straight out to the side, and then swing and cross them in front of your chest. Repeat.

9: Shoulder rotations. Holding your arms straight out to the side again, this time move your arms in a circular motion, making bigger circles each time. This is great for your shoulders.

As you can see, even though we are warming up our whole body for hooping, we are putting extra emphasis on warming up our hips, butt, legs and core. Why? Because these are the muscles that tend to be the least active during the day – and these are the muscles we often use the most when we are hooping, even if the movements are sometimes subtle.

If this warm up is really easy for you, or as you get better at it over time, feel free to increase the numbers for an even better kick off. While warming up may not be as fun as hooping is itself, ultimately it will help us to enjoy our hooping even more, and help keep our bodies in the best shape for our hoop dance so we can remain injury free and spinning it up for years to come.

——————————————-

Philo Hagen Philo Hagen is the Co-founder and Managing Editor of Hooping.org. He’s been spinning things up online and off since April 2003. Co-Founder of the Bay Area Hoopers and LA Hoopers hoop groups, Philo has performed internationally and has won Hoopie Awards for Male Hooper of the Year and Video of the Year. He lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Sciatica: How Hooping and Yoga Solved Her Back Pain Problem

Natalie Kane

Natalie Kane

by Philo Hagen

Over the years we’ve heard a lot of stories about the transformational healing power of an innocent plastic circle, but when the person who has spun their way to a whole new level of health was living in chronic pain previously, it’s a story that simply has to be shared. Natalie Kane had been living with nerve and back pain for more than five years. During that time she was actively seeking help, talking with health professionals and following their directions and instructions. Nothing seemed to make any difference. What ended up giving her a world of healing, however, came from two sources she never would have expected. She found herself inside of a hoop and she started taking yoga at about the same time. She explained, “Over the five years I was in physical pain and seeking help, not a single doctor recommended either of the two practices that have healed my life.”

Her story of dealing with pain and physical discomfort, however, goes back to when she was eleven-years-old. “I discovered I had scoliosis, a curved spine,” Natalie told me. “Fortunately, the degree of my curve was minor enough that it didn’t greatly hinder my life, so I continued to play sports and do the stupid, dangerous things 6th graders do.” Perhaps these so called antics played a role in making things worse for her, perhaps not, but physical pain wouldn’t begin to play a major role in her life until she got older. “I’d always had lower back pain, which was exacerbated by staying in one position for too long, but it was just something I was used to,” she said. “In my late teens I noticed a tingly numbness in one or both of my legs arise every couple of months though. I could never seem to find a common factor between the flare-ups, but it was painful, annoying, and scary enough that I went to see a doctor. He said it sounded like sciatica.”

Sciatica, which is essentially a compression of a main nerve in your leg, can indeed be painful and uncomfortable to live with. While most doctors say that a relatively minor degree of scoliosis can’t cause sciatica as well, Natalie was told that since she’d stopped growing physically there was basically nothing she could do but live with it, and try not to ask too much of her back. And then, one day, like so many hoopers before her, Natalie found herself at a music festival, a music festival where someone handed her a large adult-sized hoola hoop.

Natalie Starts Hooping in 2009

Natalie Starts Hooping in 2009

“I remember it distinctly. It was 2009 and one of my best friends had bought a big fabric-wrapped hoop at the All Good Music Festival,” she told us. “We had a blast trying to do lifts with it and chatting with hoopers we met all weekend.” It was there that she also saw fire performers up close and personal for the first time. “It all seemed so exotic and enticing. I watched the fire hoopers do their thing so gracefully, powerfully, and I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to do that one day.'” She purchased a hoop of her own and started learning how to hoop. Meanwhile, one of her best friends was recovering from cancer and yoga had helped restore her overall harmony and balance. Natalie had been to a few classes in recent years, but just as she was starting to hoop, she also started to develop a consistent, fluid yoga practice too.

Within weeks she already saw the results. “The first long-term improvement came after only about a month. I was more aware of slouching when sitting in a position for a long time and would quickly correct it. I was so much more aware of my body. I also gradually noticed over the next 6 to 9 months that I had a lot less pain when I laid down at night. I realized that the right side of my back, the side more weakened by the scoliosis curve, felt stronger and less fatigued when sitting or standing for long periods too.” Hooping was doing wonders for strengthening her core, and the effects on her health and her life were obvious. “I started thinking that if I focused on hooping in the opposite direction as well, to help keep things balanced, my back would reflect that balance as well.” After she started hooping in both directions, she saw even greater effects. The curve of Natalie’s spine was reduced from 15 degrees to 9.

The sciatica she’d been dealing with since her late teens had come in fits and would usually effect one leg, but occasionally both would start to tingle and go numb. What did it feel like? “It felt like that funny bone sensation, only it would go all the way from my hip to my heel. It would hurt and it would last anywhere from 1-3 days, subside, then come back again,” she stated. Doctors had a lot of ideas for her that didn’t work too. “My only savior has been movement. When I started hooping actively and in both directions, using the hoop as a form of therapy, as well as just for fun and dance, the bouts of sciatica became fewer and farther between. I didn’t have an episode for 6 months in 2013 and I can’t remember if I’ve even had one at all this year.”

1800293_717569581632021_5181774966373488755_n What advice does she have for anyone else who may be dealing with this condition? “I believe that keeping my nervous system alert and alive and well through various and challenging forms of movement has made all the difference. The stretching, combined with the balance and core strengthening from the gyrations of hooping and hoop dance, have finally helped my body to reach its new norm. I’ll always have a slight curvature to my spine, but it’s no longer a hindrance or a mystery. Hooping and yoga have helped me to get in touch with my body and realize the importance of its connection to my mind and spirituality. Don’t let doctors define the limits of your body and its healing potential. Push out of your comfort zone and take up practices that help cultivate a better way of listening to your body; be gentle and it will tell you what’s OK and what’s enough.”

Not only has her hooping and yoga practice solved her sciatica problem, and even reduced the curve of her spine, there’s also something incredible to be said for a treatment regiment that is completely natural. How does she feel about the remaining curve of her spine? “Letting go and diving into what you love will help you fall in love with your perceived ‘flaws’ and accept your new norm. It’s probably a lot healthier, more beautiful and more balanced that you ever thought it could be too. Whatever your circle comes to mean to you, may it always spin you relief and happiness, all with a dizzying smile.”

——————————————-

Philo Hagen Philo Hagen is the Co-founder and Managing Editor of Hooping.org. He’s been spinning things up online and off since April 2003. Co-Founder of the Bay Area Hoopers and LA Hoopers hoop groups, Philo has performed internationally and has won Hoopie Awards for Male Hooper of the Year and Video of the Year. He lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Let’s Talk About Hooping and Pooping

Let's Talk About Hooping and Pooping by Jess Wagstrom

I’m going to start out by informing you that I am not a scientist. Nor am I a doctor. Of anything. I’d really love to go to school long enough to get a PhD in some random field (like pie baking or something) so that I can run around shouting, “IT’S OKAY, I’M A DOCTOR!!!” But that hasn’t happened yet. So everything I’m about to spout off in the following paragraphs is mostly conjecture based on my own personal experience and a little research. Okay, disclaimer over, let’s get down to business!

When we pick up our hoops for the first time, it’s potentially the start of an addiction. We spin and spin and spin those suckers around our bodies, and we notice something interesting as we go. We’re getting happier. And not just, like, look-on-the-bright-side, stop-and-smell-the-roses happier. I’m talking friends-think-you’re-crazy, want-to-know-what-you’ve-been-smoking happier. Insane levels of happy, is what I’m saying. Everything in our lives seems suddenly perfect, the path is laid out ahead of us, there are no mistakes, we’re all blossoming flowers, reflections of the divine spirit inside of us, etc., etc.

So what is it about hooping that causes this? Sure, you’re boosting endorphins and other happy chemicals in the brain, but this can be said about any form of exercise. I can tell you that I’ve played sports, done yoga, taken up running, tried body weight exercises and nothing has made me as blissfully happy and serene about my life the way that hooping has. What gives?

I suspect it might have something to do with the physical effects of the hoop interacting with a more lower region of our bodies. Here’s my theory: It starts with improved digestion. It’s pretty obvious when you think about it. A happy digestive tract is a happy you. It’s why everyone’s going all crazy over juice cleanses that flush out your system and give your pooper a rest. If you’re not having regular, healthy bowel movements, you are, quite literally, full of s*!t.

Where do most of us start with our hoops? Around the waist, of course. Around and around and around, with big, heavy hoops. We’re getting nice, consistent compressions around our bellies, giving our guts a gentle squeeze, improving circulation to that area and loosening up any old waste that’s blocked up in there. So you take your first spin, you have a blast, and maybe go home and clear out some of last week’s meals that were still toodling around in your system. And you begin to notice your mood improving…

Many nutritionists believe that proper digestive health is key to overall health. If you think about it, it makes sense: Digestion is the process through which we absorb nutrients and get rid of waste that our bodies don’t need. If we’re backed up, we’re holding all that waste in, where it affects the rest of our system. Have you ever taken a dump so glorious that you stood up and immediately felt better? As if all of your problems (and at least three pounds) came out in that one little stool? I know I have.

With the gentle massage of the hoop circling our waistlines, we’re giving our intestines a little extra assistance in breaking up the food we’ve eaten over the course of the day. In my personal experience, this process is helped along even more when using a larger hoop with more heft to it too.

Clearing out the waste improves our health, and improved health improves our mood! Add that to all of the happy synapses firing in your brain from learning something new, and the happy-boosting chemicals that occur naturally from being more active, and you’ve got a recipe for explosive joy! What can I say? It’s certainly beats being constipated, or, and I apologize in advance, a case of explosive diarrhea.

As I said previously, this is just my theory based on my own personal experience, some independent research with friends, and a little research into the human body. It’s not backed up by any legitimate testing, but I personally haven’t been backed up ever since I started having a regular hooping practice. I’ve noticed how much faster and easier food goes through me after a good hoop workshop too. I don’t think it’s a crappy theory, do you? What are your thoughts on the subject?

—————————————————

jesswagstrom Contributor Jess Wagstrom has been spinning things up in the hooping world since 2008. In fact, she has traveled to both coasts of the United States in the name of the hoop, and can be found spending her days making hoops and Hoopie Award nominated tutorials for the hoopily inclined everywhere. In fact, she’s peddling her hoop wares on Etsy. She has other hobbies, too, like knitting and eating. She lives in Dallas, Texas, USA, and she’s on Facebook.