The hooping bug has hit Long Island, New York and the hoopers there are thrilled to talk about its health benefits. Jami Goleski of Hip Mama Hula Hoops credits her hoop practice for her bounce back to shape after pregnancy. Goleski told Long Island Newsday, “Finding hooping was the best thing that has happened to me since I became a mother. Hooping is what a person wants to make of it . . . It’s not structured like an aerobics class or any other fitness class that follows a structured routine with the sole purpose being strengthening muscles and losing weight.“ In Greenport, New York, Rachel Reich, owner of Five Branches Wellness is happy to have a hooping class at her fitness center. Reich gives credence to the total body and mind benefits hooping offers, “You use the hoop on the body as well as off, so it’s really a full-body workout, strengthening deep core muscles as well as arms and legs. Hooping increases flexibility and balance, and has a positive effect on mood and self-esteem.” And Reich personally vouches for the fitness advantages of hooping, “After a few classes, I was already doing several techniques. I’ve noticed an increase in overall flexibility and sense of pride in being able to master new techniques.“
[Hooping.org columnist Shannon Herrington belongs. Do you?]
Humans have formed communities and tribes for centuries. These communities gave early human beings a place to belong, shelter, family and support. Back in 1954, Maslow figured out that belonging to a social group was essential for our proper well being. We all need to belong. In fact Professor Tompf discovered while researching street gangs that “people who join gangs seek to mean something to other people”. It seems we’ll even betray ourselves simply to be a part of. Belonging to a group is such an alluring idea that some people change their entire identities to be accepted.
My high school was riddled with cliques. Most people there kept to their own groups, though some yearned to be a part of the “cool kids” a la “Mean Girls.” Most of us here are all grown up now and the wounds from high school are healing. For some of us, however, those same feelings can continue to haunt us from time to time. Have you ever felt like an outsider in the hooping community? Whenever I am in a situation where there are people who appear to be “the cool kids” it still sometimes pushes my buttons.
According to Maslow, belonging is just as important to us as love and family. With the hooping community being large and diverse and pretty inclusive, it is not surprising some have hoped to find a sense of belonging here. And yet, even though we’ve connected to other hoopers through Hooping.org’s forums and other social networks, our local hooping communities, hoop retreats and more, does it still sometimes feel a little lonely?
Last month, I found myself intrigued by a status update from an online hooping acquaintance. It read, “I generally tell people that my Hoopiversary is May 1, 2010. And, it is. But, that date does not include the 9 months prior to that date. The 9 months it took me to learn how to keep a hoop up. The 9 months it took me not to feel foolish, or embarrassed by my body. The 9 months to not only fall in love with the hula hoop, but also fall in love with my body.” I thought to myself, “Nine months?! Would I have stuck with it if hooping had fought me so hard? Now there’s somebody with perseverance. And monumental strength. There’s somebody that wanted to be a hooper. There’s somebody that wanted it bad.” What turned it around for her? What moment brought her success and allowed her to declare that particular day her Hoopiversary? I sensed an incredible story behind her statement, so I went looking for the dish in our Hooper of the Week interview with Sarah Mah of Salt Lake City, Utah.
[While Hooping.org columnist Rayna McInturf finishes the tabulations for the 30/30 Challenge (winners announced tomorrow), she’s also had a few other things on her mind like her move this week and her family.]
The Hooping Movement is relatively young as movements go, and I believe that we are just starting to get a glimpse of hooping’s many positive effects. One that I am particularly interested in and excited by is the effect that hooping has on self-esteem. As a new mother, I’ve joined the ranks of hooping moms who are creating the next generation of hoopers. I’m disturbed though that according to U.S. research fourth grade is the peak level year for a girls’ self-esteem. Ruth Conniff writes in her article Saving Girls’ Self Esteem that nine-year-olds feel great about themselves, but by fifth grade it is a whole different story. What suddenly happens when they turn ten? Anita Gurian of the New York University Child Study Center writes that just before junior high school, a young girls’ self-esteem plummets. “Starting in the pre-teen years, there is a shift in focus; the body becomes an all consuming passion and barometer of worth.” When this happens, their self-esteem becomes too connected to their physical appearance. Hit by a barrage of images telling them what they should look like, many girls just feel that they cannot possibly measure up, while others who are considered ‘gifted’ begin to hide their intellectual talents upon receiving the message that ‘smarts aren’t sexy’.” While there are a number of things that parents can do to help build healthy self-esteem in their girls and young women, how can hooping help?