Hula Hooping - another wonder sport!

When we think of hula hooping, we think of a plastic kid's toy but there is so much more to it than that, as I discovered when I started researching. 
 It is a fabulous form of exercise for both kids and adults, you can spin hoops around your waist, legs, arms or neck; do tricks, roll them and there is even a whole hula hooping community out there in the world - with a full-length documentary movie about them, and have you ever heard of World Hoop day?  I'll get to that soon! But first let's look at where it all began!

The History of the Hula Hoop

Hula hooping is an ancient practice - thought to have been popularised by the ancient Greeks.  Formerly made from wood, metal, vines, bamboo or other natural materials, they were used not only as a children's toy, but also as a fitness device.  Native American Indians and Eskimos used to use hoops to roll along and use as a target to practice for hunting by throwing and shooting arrows through them.   
Hula hooping became popular in Britain in the 14th century as a children's toy.  British sailors first saw Hula dancing in Hawaii around the same time, and with the similarity in movement - the name 'hula hoop' was born.

The Modern Hula Hoop

 The first plastic hula hoop was made in Australia, back in 1957, and sold in Coles department stores.  They couldn't produce enough to keep up with the demand.  A year later plastic hula hoops were marketed in the USA and the craze took off with millions sold.


In some countries of the world, hula hooping was banned -  it was offensive to shake your hips in public in Indonesia; Japan banned hula hooping because the hip rotating looked indecent and the Soviet Union saw it as a negative Western practice.


For some people, hula hooping is a way of life.  There is a feature film length documentary about people for  whom taking up hula hooping has changed their lives.  
 'The Hooping Life' - 'with a hoop and a dream they changed their worlds'. 
 The trailer is worth a watch!  

Then there's World Hoop Day,  which has been running since 2006 - and is an organisation which distributes hula hoops to disadvantaged and poor children around the world as a simple way of bringing joy to an otherwise devastating situation.

It's great exercise

As a form of exercise, hula hooping has many  benefits.  As with any kind of exercise and movement, it increases the blood flow to your brain, making you more alert, gets your heart rate up and increases your energy levels.  Hooping also increases spinal flexibility, strengthens those all important core muscles, improves co-ordination, balance and even massages your internal organs and intestines as it circles your waist - which is said to work like acupressure on key points, releasing blocked 'chi'!!. 

You can circle the hoop on your arms to tone those muscles, or even lie on your back and use your legs!  The possibilities really are endless when you start to think about it, and see what some people can do with a hoop!

Nowadays you can buy all sorts of hoops - coloured, glow in the dark, glittery, flashing, even weighted ones specifically for exercise purposes, and ones with built in calorie counters!

Just have a look and see for yourself what can be done! My daughters and I spent ages with this video going again and again on the laptop outside while we tried to copy some of the moves! Great fun!

So what are you waiting for - go grab your hula hoop!  I had to re-learn as an adult how to do it! I was surprised to find it's actually a rocking motion rather than a circular motion that you need to keep the hoop rotating.  Oh and the ideal size for a hoop should be - up to somewhere between your stomach and your chest when it's resting on the ground.  I can do it with my kids hoops - but maybe it's easier with one the right size!

Whatever you believe about the benefits of hula hooping - it certainly is a fun form of exercise - what more encouragement do you need??


  1. That is pretty incredible, I had no idea Hula hooping was around for so long. That little girl is pretty amazing! I like to hula hoop on Wii fit, LOL! My daughter is learning how to hula hoop in Kindergarten for her Dance Festival, she got a kick out of the video, thanks for sharing!
    Following you back,

  2. very interesting post I was not aware of it being banned but I can see why with the beliefs that were held at the time

  3. Nice. I've been considering buying one of the exercise hoops, but they're SO expensive! I might just have to invest in one. It really is great for fitness! =]

  4. I've heard that hula hooping is great for exercise, but I had no idea it dated back to Ancient Greece!

    Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog :) I hope you had a great weekend!

  5. Thats so much fun! I have boys and they are really convinced that hula hoops are for girls. :( Thanks for stopping by. I am following you back now :)

  6. I found that even Wii hula-hooping is great exercise...AND funny to watch!

  7. WOW! Your blog is just what I needed...I do compare my childhood to that one of my children all the time...hula hoops was such a big part of mine. Guess what I will be buying my kids today??? Time for HULA HOOPING!!!

  8. Hi Jill,

    I'm following you back from the blog hop. It's funny I saw this post about hooping on your side bar -- my post immediately before the one you commented on had a link to a hula hooping video:

    I've recently gotten into hooping and it's great fun. : )

    Love your blog. Lots of great ideas for activities and thought-provoking posts.


  9. If you were to take your hoop anywhere and hoop your heart out, would it be a city intersection?
    Cool idea. These guys did it: It’s a hooping flash mob. I like that


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