This post has been updated for 2022.
featured photo is of Pippin, by Rion Fish
There are plenty of generic articles on the topic of hula hooping health benefits, so if you’re just looking for scientific data, this probably isn’t the article for you. I’m not a doctor or a scientist.
I’m just somebody who has been hula hooping, teaching hooping, and making custom hoops for people of all body types for 8 years. I can tell you about how much hula hooping has enriched and improved my life, and how I know it will do the same for you.
#1 Health Benefit of Hula Hooping – Improved Mental State
There are literally so many health benefits of hooping, I could write a dozen articles or more about this topic. It’s hard for me to choose which benefit is truly the best, or has had the most impact on my life. But when it all comes down to it, hula hooping has made me a happier, more grounded, calmer and more confident person – so I have to say the mental health benefits of hula hooping are above all else.
When you turn on your favorite music and spend some time just hooping, you will get lost in your hoop. You will feel a sense of peace and calmness inside that you maybe have never felt before. You will enter what is described by experts as a “flow state” – a state of mind where you’re basically in meditation mode – you’re not thinking about when the rent is due, or worrying about the corona virus, and you’re not comparing yourself to others on social media.
You’re focused only on one thing – the hoop swirling around you. It is so refreshing. It is beautiful, and amazing, and it feels SO good.
Though I would never be so casual as to suggest that hula hoops should replace proper mental health care from medical professionals, hula hooping certainly can be an instrumental part of an overall wellness plan in your life. Hoops provide relief that nothing else I’ve found can provide.
This feeling of achievement that we get through our hoop practice is not to be understated – it makes you feel proud of yourself, accomplished, and driven to keep going to achieve more skills with your hoop.
It’s hard to put into words what hula hoops do for us on a mental level. But once you give it a try, you will completely understand.
How hula hooping can improve our relationships
Hooping gives us a feeling of direction when we maybe didn’t feel one before, so it can really help with our sense of self confidence. Pre-pandemic (and hopefully post pandemic soon), I bring hula hoops to all parties and gatherings. I know they will always bring a smile to people’s faces, so these hoops literally give me the power to bring a moment of happiness to people’s lives.
Some of my best friends I met through hula hooping. Eight years ago, when it was really hard to find any plus size women like myself involved in hula hooping, I started trying to build a community online and made some of the best friends I will ever have in this life. You can be part of our community by joining our Ruby Hoopers Facebook group.
For me, as an introverted personality, I always felt kind of awkward at gatherings just standing around making small talk. I was never good at small talk. The hoop gives me something to focus my energy on, while also entertaining others. These conditions always set the tone for me to feel more confident and personable, resulting in new friends, better existing relationships, and even opportunities I would never expect.
On a more personal level, I also strongly feel that hula hooping helped me gain the beautiful little family I have now. My love of hooping and sharing hooping with others is what bonded me to my husband when we first met, because who doesn’t like a person with passion and purpose in life? Since then, hula hooping has continued to help me be a good partner throughout our marriage because I am able to maintain a sense of peace and clarity through regular hoop practice. And when we decided to grow our family, I was ready physically and mentally for all the things pregnancy and motherhood would bring, even as I gave birth for the first time at age 37. This is because through hooping I achieved a strong body and a confident mind.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how amazing hula hooping is for bringing families together, since it’s a fun activity everyone can do together. Gather up some hoops, all the kids, and head out to the back yard for some quality, screen-free time in the sun that will make sure your kids sleep good tonight.
Physical Health Benefits of Hula Hooping
As a body positive advocate, I don’t throw the term weight loss around lightly, so I want to be clear that I am not suggesting that everyone who hula hoops should try to lose weight, or that weight loss is always a health benefit. I am only saying that if you want to use hula hooping as a tool to help you lose weight, you absolutely can.
Hula hooping is low impact cardio, meaning it’s great for getting your heart rate up without damage to your joints, so if you want to burn calories, hooping can help you do that.
I personally have used hooping to help me lose weight at various times throughout my life, and I can tell you that half an hour of hula hooping is every bit as effective as half an hour of Zumba or any other cardio activity.
You can also use hula hoops as more of a strength building workout, moving slower and doing repetitions to tone arms, core, legs, and more. Building muscle can be an important component of weight loss, since more muscle means more calories getting burned.
If you’re like me and you’re not really necessarily interested in weight loss as the main goal, but you do want to tone your body so you can have more energy, be able to play with your kids without getting tired so fast, and just feel good overall, hula hooping is really helpful for this as well. Hula hooping requires use of so many different muscles in your body that you probably don’t use much in your regular day to day life, so it really gives you a well rounded workout for all over toning.
The amazing thing about hula hooping is that it doesn’t matter what style of hooping you do – you will still use your core muscles, you will still use your arms and your legs, you will still need your back and chest. You will be moving in ways that may feel unfamiliar at first but over time will start to feel natural as you get stronger. You will bloom into the most graceful, strong hoop dancer as you learn and practice more and more.
It doesn’t matter your size, age, or anything else. Whether you are plus size like me, or petite, whether you are tall, short, young or old, whether you have special circumstances, you can absolutely get stronger and tone your muscles from hula hooping.
Go here to see what size hoop you should start with.
Lower Blood Pressure
I can’t stress the importance of this enough, because high blood pressure is, as we all know, a silent killer, something that affects millions of us across the world but we often never even know it’s a problem until its too late.
Hula hooping regularly gets your heart rate up, which improves cardiovascular health – gets your blood pumping and your heart working like it should to stay in tip top shape. Countless studies have shown that even a simple regimen of physical movement can work wonders for our blood pressure and hula hooping is no exception to that. This is one of the most vital hula hooping benefits there is.
I can personally attest to this; in my late 20s I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, which I had to go on medication for; this was actually the catalyst for me to even find hooping–I was looking for something to help me make a change in my life to become a person with healthier habits including moving my body more. Hooping was the thing that stuck for me, and I was able to bring my blood pressure down before I turned 30 to a point that I no longer needed medication.
When I became pregnant at age 36, I was concerned about experiencing high blood pressure during pregnancy which is common, but thankfully I got through it fine. I did hoop throughout my entire pregnancy though I had plenty of days that I didn’t.
I have also monitored my blood pressure closely since my child was born over a year ago, because I gained some weight with my pregnancy that I haven’t lost, and I wanted to see if that was going to make my blood pressure go up. So far, I’m sure thanks in part to my regular hoop practice, my blood pressure is normal and stable.
Improved Coordination & Balance
This has been a big one for me, because I honestly am surprised at just how much my coordination and balance have improved through hooping. My husband often comments on how amazing I am at catching things I drop before they hit the floor, for example. My footwork is amazing, I never trip or lose my balance. I am so used to standing and moving through really awkward positions in order to achieve certain hoop tricks, that I can really stay strong and balanced standing or walking or even jumping in all kinds of weird ways!
My coordination is amazing too; I can catch things easier if someone tosses me something, I can just move through my life with more physical confidence and elegance than I could before I started hooping. It feels easier to be productive and multitask to keep my household working, and to keep my hoop shop running.
Now that I’m going to be turning 40 in the near future, it’s more important than ever to me to keep working on my coordination and balance so that I can continue to enjoy all that life has to offer without worrying about hurting myself.
Hula hooping has many health benefits!
I didn’t plan on this article being this long, but there’s just so much to say about how hula hooping is impacting lives. If you are curious about hula hooping, I want you to know from knowing me that hula hooping is absolutely magical. It is really helping people from all walks of life and it can help you too.
Give me a few minutes a day for six weeks of your life and you will experience everything I have written about here today. I promise you that!