5 exercises you can do with hula hoops

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Senior woman with hula hoop

Hula hoops may bring back fond memories of after-school gatherings and lazy summers in the backyard with your friends.

It was all the craze — and all about fun — back then, but did you know that hula hooping also burns about 210 calories in 30 minutes? That’s about the same as a 30-minute brisk walk!

And because it’s a low-impact, convenient workout, hooping has been making a comeback — for people of all ages —  as a fun way to lose or maintain weight, tone muscles, increase balance and have fun getting fit! Its rhythmic movement also makes it a great stress reliever, especially after you’ve mastered a few moves. Get in the hoop and learn a few tricks.

Have fun while you get fit with these 5 easy hula hoop exercises:

Basic waist hoop


Good ol’ fashioned hooping is a great way to burn calories and build core strength

Stand up straight with the hoop around your waist, parallel to the ground, with your left foot about two feet in front of your right.  Spin the hoop swiftly in a counter-clockwise direction and move your hips forward and back to keep it going (shifting your weight quickly from leg to leg as you go). If the hoop starts dropping, speed up! (If you want to spin clockwise, switch your feet around.)

Body pass

A super easy move that you customize to your fitness level

You don’t have to master any “tricks” to burn some calories with the hoop! Standing outside of the hoop, pick it up and hold it in front of you at waist level. Now pass the hoop around your body, grabbing it in front, then in back, keeping it moving around your body. As you get comfortable with that motion, add some of your own moves. Bend your knees, turn in a circle, speed up or move the hoop lower or higher. Do what feels comfortable to you — just keep moving!

Hoop dancing


Dance with your hoop until you break a sweat. No tricks about it!

If you haven’t yet mastered the basic waist hooping, you can still get a good workout with your hoop! Turn on some upbeat music and just dance! Move the hoop around your body, over your head, bend down, spin it, speed up, slow down… just keep moving to the music!

Hoop with a friend

Grab a partner and make your hoop workout even more fun

Hooping with a friend can help you work out harder and for longer, but you’ll be having so much fun you won’t even notice! Have hooping contests to see who can keep the hoop going the longest. Stand across from each other and roll the hoop back and forth, increasing the distance and speeding up each time. Or just do some hoop dancing together!

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Arm spin


This trick is great for toning your arms and getting your heart rate up

Extend your arm straight out to the side, place the hoop around your forearm and start moving your arm in a circular motion to keep the hoop spinning! Switch from arm to arm or get two hoops and spin them at the same time! The longer you can keep it up, the more calories you’ll burn!

If the hoop fits …

To get the most out of your workout, buy an adult hula hoop that comes up between your belly button and chest. As a general rule, the bigger the hoop, the easier it is to spin. Stand next to a chair or counter if you need to balance yourself during your hoop workout. If you see some new bruises soon after using your hoop, don’t panic … it’s normal for beginners to experience some bruising!

Once you have your hoop, you’re ready to enjoy all of the physical and meditative benefits of hula hooping, and maybe even feel like a kid again. Enjoy!