Judy wrote to us asking for help in possibly ordering a new hoop size or how to best work with her exercise hula hoop she already purchased. Judy is 75 and had never hooped before purchasing her 42” weighted exercise hoop from Canyon Hoops. She learned to hoop by watching our Hoop Fitness DVD and was super excited to learn that she could hoop at 75 for the first time! She mentioned that she experienced soreness above her right hip after hooping and as a result had taken time off from hooping. She wrote in to ask whether she should get a different hoop size or what she could do differently.
Judy also mentioned that she would like to lose about ten pounds and was interested in additional exercises she could do with her hoop to help with overall fitness and balance.
Judy and I spent some time on the phone talking through her goals and what was happening. I wanted to find out how long Judy was spending hooping during each workout and whether she was a regular exerciser before starting hooping or whether she was just beginning an exercise program. Judy mentioned that the majority of her exercise comes from walking around Costco with her husband and that she had not been in a regular exercise program before starting hooping.
When she learned that she could hoop, she started practicing every day and had worked up to about 150 rotations with the hoop. It was at this point she had experienced soreness on her right side. We determined that she favored side to side pushing with the hoop in a hip width stance, as opposed to front back pushing with one foot in front of the other. Both are fine but I wanted to get an idea of how she naturally hooped to understand where she was experiencing soreness.
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- If you are beginning an exercise program like Judy was, we do not recommend waist hooping every day if you experience soreness. Just as you would ease into a running program if you hadn’t run before, hooping requires a similar “easing into”. Hooping is deceptively “fun” because it’s low impact, stimulates feel good brain chemicals and thus we don’t FEEL like we are working as hard as we might in activities like weight lifting, running, interval training, etc.
- Aim for every other day to practice with short duration sessions – 5 to 10 minutes of waist hooping. As you become accustomed to waist hooping, you can increase time, intensity, and more dance type movements if you are interested.
- Some individuals may be more prone to bruising and soreness, especially as they age. Adding a waist trimmer is a good idea with a weighted exercise hula hoop. Don’t let the name fool you. We recommend a waist trimmer to provide padding around your waist to help prevent soreness and bruising as you learn waist hooping. If you are interested in reading what you can expect from a waist trimmer in terms of weight loss, check out our blog article. There are some benefits that extend beyond water weight loss!
- Stay hydrated if you do wear the waist trimmer under your clothing while waist hooping . Temporary water loss is NOT fat loss and we want to make sure you stay hydrated.
- Check out our Hoop Fitness DVD for additional exercises that work legs arms, and core.
- I also recommended to Judy that she practice in both currents (the direction the hoop spins) to help prevent muscle imbalances and increase coordination by engaging the brain muscle connection.
- Balance is such an important issue that we are doing a separate blog article all about balance complete with videos next week!
Should She Get a Different Hoop Size?
I recommended that Judy ease back on her hooping practice to every two days to start for short sessions of 100-150 rotations – Judy was counting rotations rather than minutes. If you count minutes, try 5 minutes to start. I encouraged her to try the waist trimmer over her clothing (I want to make sure dehydration is not an issue for her) to see if that helps with the soreness.
If those strategies don’t work with her current hoop, I suggested moving to the Control Flex Dance Hula Hoop that provides more weight than a lightweight poly pro, but less weight than the Fitness Hoop. She could also move to a smaller 38” diameter exercise hula hoop. The neat thing about hula hooping is that several different hoops CAN work for the same person depending on their goals and hooping abilities.
What About the Ten Pounds?
Without knowing what Judy is currently eating, medications, etc., it’s not only difficult to make a detailed recommendation, but would be irresponsible to do so. However, here are a few suggestions for anyone looking to drop a few pounds.
- Take a look at total activity for your day. On my street alone we have runners passing our house about every minute (it’s that frequent), which is amazing. However, in the game of weight loss, look beyond the time you spend working out and take a look at the rest of your day. How active are you the remainder of your day? And are you undoing the benefits of your workout? You can easily unknowingly sabotage yourself. A 30 minute hoop session burns approximately 210 calories. You can undo that in about 2 minutes consuming a “healthy carrot walnut muffin” from Au Bon Pain which packs a whalloping 540 calories, with almost half of those calories coming from fat. Exercise WILL NEVER compensate for poor eating habits.In Judy’s case, adding in additional walking to her day would be a great idea. She also mentioned tai chi, which would be a great compliment to help with balance.
- Look for unnecessary hidden sources of calories that aren’t providing health benefits. A good place to look are oils. Salad oils provide a high concentration of calories that provide very little benefit and potentially more harm, especially for those with heart disease . It’s easy to add a couple tablespoons onto a salad or a couple of tablespoons in while cooking soups or sautéing which easily add a couple hundred unnecessary calories. Save the calories and skip the oil. Saute with water instead of oil, and make a lighter, nutrient rich salad dressing like the one below:
- If you eat out frequently, that can be a big problem. Restaurant meals are typically loaded with too much of well, let’s just be honest, everything. If this is a frequent occurrence during your typical week, make it a goal to replace one or two of those meals out with something simple prepared at home. And be wary of labels like “low fat” or “low carb”. Low in one thing typically means higher in another.
- Go Green. Get into the habit of eating something green every day. If you do that, you’re likely to replace something unhealthier with a salad that’s loaded with nutrients to help your body heal. Make a big salad the main dish of one of your meals each day!
- Consistency, consistency, consistency. How many of us make a plan and don’t stick with the plan? It could be that your plan needs some tweaking, and that would be valid. But it could also be that you simply aren’t being consistent enough with your plan. Aim for 80 percent compliance. You can even create a simple chart and cross off each meal that hits your goal. At the end of the week see how you are doing with your consistency.
About the Author:
Leigh Little is a certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist and Precision Nutrition Certified. She is a regular Canyon Hoops contributor with blog articles and videos and is the creator of Canyon Hoops Hoop Fitness DVD. To work with Leigh one on one for hoop fitness, dance, or weight loss contact her at email@example.com