Today I was at a hooping - aka hula hooping - workshop. I adore hooping. I love it because I get to move to pop music (when most of the time I'm dancing to more challenging Egyptian tunes); I get to follow someone's instruction (when usually I'm the instructor); and I get to be on my own (when usually I'm with my lovely children). The hoopers I've met are quite a friendly bunch so that helps too.
Our teacher is Ann McLaughlin, who, like me, teaches bellydance. She's friendly and cheerful and her workshops have a nice atmosphere. The hoopers ranged from total beginners to some ladies with some really lovely moves, with lots of us who'd only been to Ann's last workshop in Edinburgh. We were at the Pilmeny Youth Centre, which is as bright and sunny as the day was.
The pace was good and my heart rate was up for most of the hooping time. I usually practice at home on my own, so it's very easy to go at a comfortable pace and not challenge myself! When we were working on getting the hoop to spin at an angle - higher at the front than at the back - which involves tilting your pelvis upwards and pushing up from your heels - I got sweaty and really felt like I was working hard.
The continuous hip movements required to keep the hoop round your waist come from the feet, and really work up and down your core. Moving your hips side to side - which also keeps the hoop in motion - really work the sides of my butt - I think that's the gluteus medius and minimus. We also did hoop spinning overhead with one hand - a real challenge to keep going with a heavy hoop for more than about 20 seconds, good for upper body strength.
On the way home I stopped in a couple of parks with my daughter, enjoying the unseasonal warm Scottish weather. While she clambered, swung and slid, I did a bit of showing off with my hoop, practicing NOT thwacking my nose as I lowered the hoop from over my head to on my waist! It was so much fun, being out in the sun and being active.
The wisdom of making fitness something you enjoy doing makes hooping a perfect workout for me. All I need now is sunny weather and a great big garden with a stereo and I'll get everything I want from hooping!