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New hip exercise.. try la

Saturday, February 2, 2008

About two dozen women and men, on a recent afternoon, decided to slough off winter pounds and become more in touch with their bodies. They did not use complicated exercise machines or torturous-looking Pilates devices, but something far more friendly and familiar: the hula hoop. I hate the thought of going to the gym, but pick up a hoop and it can be playtime, says Noelle Powers, 30, who is teaching the six-week course. It is a great way to burn calories and strengthen muscles, especially core muscles, and it can be very meditative.

The hula hoop, the baby boomers beloved toy, is back. Hooping classes are popping up at gyms and community centers around the United States. Hipsters tote hoops to concerts and dance clubs. And many celebrities are giving the hoop a whirl, including musician Beyonce, who reportedly uses it to maintain her famously bootylicious figure.

People didn't even imagine that you could do things like this with a hula hoop, says Rayna McInturf, founder of Hoopnotica, a California-based hooping school. Whereas advanced dancers pull off elaborate tricks such as twirling a hoop on their feet while standing on their heads most of the students in Powers first class were looking to nail down the basics and enjoy a fun workout.

Hoops for adults are wider and heavier than those for kids, which makes them easier to spin around a larger waist. And fans usually just call them hoops _ since they aren't part of the traditional Hawaiian hula dance.

In ancient times Egyptian children made games out of hoops of dried grapevines. Medieval doctors of the 1300s in England, blamed the use of hula-hoops for dislocated backs and heart attacks. The hula hoop was introduced in 1958 by the Wham-O company of California, producers of other childhood delights such as the Slip-n-Slide and the Frisbee. More than 20 million hoops were sold in the first six months of production, according to Wham-O marketing associate Martin Marechal.

The hula hoop became an iconic toy of the day and is often noted, along with flagpole-sitting and goldfish-eating, as one of the great fads of the 20th century. Sales dropped in the early 1960s, Marechal says.

Hoops grew in popularity with adults after the Colorado-based jam band The String Cheese Incident started flinging them into the crowd at concerts in the 1990s. Hoop dancing became a popular event at underground dance parties and burlesque shows, and the demand for classes grew. There was an explosion (of interest) about four years ago, says McInturf.

Several Web sites offer adult hoops and instructional DVDs for sale.

Hoop dancers have appeared in music videos _ including Justin Timberlakes What Goes Around and Beyonces Work It Out. In November, about 20 people hooped on New York rooftops as performance art, according to an article in The New Yorker.

It is a good workout, says Powers. And you just can't help but feel happy when you're in a hoop.

Hoop it up

Before you begin to hula hoop, warm up. That means a few stretches, a little jogging and some jumping jacks.

It is not easy. So, start with four five minute sessions and then work up to two ten-minute sessions.

Once you are comfortable with the hula hoop, you can try moving your arms for a more challenging workout. You can punch, swing or wave.

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Posted by Tuan Rumah at 8:00 PM  
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I think I'll start with this! Thanks!

I've included your blog to my list of Top Ten Influential Blogs of 2008.

C5 said...
July 3, 2008 at 12:02 AM  

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