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Katys Hula Hooping Story

Posted by Alec on February 11 2014.
Hula Hooping Story

Hula Hooping Story

My Hula Hooping Story started a couple of years ago. I was a pole and burlesque dancing teacher for Polestars and was super excited that they were going to be offering hula hooping too. I’d seen people hooping in the parks and on the seafront in Brighton where I lived then and thought it looked like a lot of fun. I looked online and found that there was one class in Brighton and it wasn’t Polestars. I went along, sat outside a church with some other beginners and discovered that basically, the teacher wasn’t going to turn up. Annoyed, I took myself down to Oddballs jugging shop and just bought an adult weighted hoop in blue and orange.

After lots of broken promises to learn to hoop together from friends, I gave up and bought the Hoop Girl beginners DVD online. The wait for it to arrive seemed as long as the wait for a cereal box coupon toy when you’re 8. Eventually it turned up – a whole reel of 30 tricks or so. But here’s the problem, I couldn’t even hoop round my waist yet and I got super frustrated. I decided to time myself every day, and every day, I would eek a few more seconds out of my personal best. By the end of the week I could do a solid five minutes of waist hooping. I had bruised hips and scuffed walls, but I was thoroughly hooked. These days when I teach a Polestars party or class, it makes me laugh when girls worry they don’t get it in the first few minutes – they’re all much better than I was on their first go!

Hula Hooping Story – Choosing a hoop

Size – For an adult, you’ll need a hoop that’s a lot bigger than you’re probably expecting. A good guide is to choose one that comes up to your hip – for most people, it will be around 38-40 inches in diameter

Thickness – the thickness of the hoop determines how hard it is to use (and how many calories you’ll burn), for beginners, we recommend a thick (circa. 25mm) hoop, and once you get the hang of it, graduate to a thinner one (around 20mm)

Weight – heavy hoops are great if you’re a beginner or are hooping for exercise; Lighter hoops are better for doing tricks (particularly if you’ll be doing them on your legs or neck!)

Where to buy a hoop?

When you were a kid, the hoops at the nearest toy shop or discount store were probably perfect; but for an adult, we recommend buying your hoop from a specialist dance or fitness store. We sell adult hula-hoops on our website and offer free nationwide shipping on every order.

Hula Hooping Story – Health Benefits of Hula Hooping

I’m not much of a fit-aholic. In fact, if I am at all aware that I’m working out, I immediately want to go home and eat pizza. Give me a challenge to learn a new trick on the other hand and I’m game. Reps just don’t cut it for me, so when I see someone do something that looks a little bit like circus magic, I want in. When I started out, all I could dream of was to keep the hoop going, then I desperately wanted to learn chest hooping, then hooping on my legs. By the time I’d conquered these I was teaching a beginners course and with all the practice I honed my tricks from gangly passes to fluid expressions of movement. It was super satisfying and my whole class was enjoying themselves. Those that were there to lose weight or keep fit, quickly forgot about it and just had a really good time. They were also thrilled at the end of the 6-week course to learn that they had lost on average an inch and a half off both hips and waist and burned 100 calories every fifteen minutes. That’s a Jaffa Cake every five minutes. Sometimes I will stop to have a Jaffa Cake every five minutes.

The Numbers

A recent study by the American Center for Exercise found that hula hooping burns around 210 calories per 30-minute session – a similar amount to a boot camp or cardio-kickboxing session. The ACE study suggests that given the variety of movements in hooping it should be considered a total-body workout that has the potential to improve your flexibility and balance while strengthening and toning the muscles of the back, abdomen, arms and legs.

Hula Hooping Story – Social Hooping

Not only is hula hooping a great fitness pursuit, but it really brings people together. I was temping a while back and didn’t really have time to get to know any of the other girls on my floor. I popped an email around and invited the girls to hoop at lunchtime. Within a few weeks there was a veritable army taking 10-minute de-stress hooping breaks, 1hr hooping lunch breaks (Jaffa every 5) and even going up onto the roof of the building on sunny days and hula hooping out there while we looked out over London. Last winter three of us went up to the roof in several inches of snow and hooped with joy as the snowflakes fell around us! Some of the gang liked to learn the tricks, some just liked to chat and waist hoop, but everyone was having fun. During days in the park over the summer, I would constantly find that hooping was a great way of meeting new people. Some would come over and say ‘can I have a go?’ and others would just like to watch me hoop dance and ask me about it.

I once inadvertently sat near a group that had also bought hoops to the park and we trick-swapped over our picnics. A friend of mine took a theatre show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year and I promised him a 1:1 hoop lesson to give out as an auction prize. A few weeks ago the winner – a lovely bloke called Olly – came to the car park round the back of my house to learn a few tricks. The light faded and there were fireworks going on locally. For the last 15 minutes as a little treat, I wheeled out my LED hoop and Olly smiled broadly as he showed off his new moves with light dancing around him. I even took my travel hoop to Turkey for the last two years of holidays and my holiday chums are getting into it. There we are in our bikinis, hooping by the pool, or drunk and strangely better at it… Last weekend I was hooping in my Dad’s back garden with my Dad in his mid-60s, my sister at 40 and both my nieces under 10. What a brilliant sight!

Hula Hooping Story – Conclusion

So, what’s the big draw? Is it the bright colours, the fitness, the sociability? I think it’s more than that, it’s primal, we’ve all been dancing since the dawn of humanity and with a bit of plastic you can be caught up in the wheel of life, turning and throwing and spinning. In the greater part of my time I am an improvisational comedian. It means that I exist only in the moment, I listen and remember and feel what is going on around me and tune in with it. Hooping does the same thing for me and it’s lovely to be lost in concentration and flow. Pick one up, drop it, pick it up and get hula hooping!

Written by Katy Schutte. When she’s not hooping, Katy teaches a variety of dancing styles and improv comedy workshops in London for Polestars.

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