DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It was all the rage in the 1950s and 1960s, and now the hula hoop is making a comeback. But this time, the children’s toy is not being used just for fun. Rather, the hula hoop is a key component to a new, high-energy workout.
Forget everything you remember about the old school hula hoop, and welcome to Sassy Hoops – a fun and funky spin on the favorite ’50s pastime. “I think it definitely speaks to your inner child,” said hula hoop class instructor Julia McPherson. “It’s not a bulky piece of equipment. It’s something you can keep in your house, take outdoors, do with your kids.”
McPherson created the high-energy aerobics class, which incorporates basic hula hoop movements, but adds some twists. “It’s something you can incorporate into your [everyday exercise] routine,” McPherson said. “It’s fun, entertaining, and it’s very creative. There’s no rules in hooping, which is great.”
In the Sassy Hoops class, participants hula hoop around their waists, go through the legs, behind the back, onto the arms – some of these tricks take time and practice to master. But once you find the rhythm, you’re on a roll. “At first, it was difficult to start because muscle memory didn’t kick in,” said first-time hoop student Liz Krudewig. “But after a while, you get into it.”
And do not be fooled. The hula hoop might be a kid’s toy, but this exercise is not child’s play. It is an intense, calorie-burning, sweat-inducing workout. “You can burn anywhere between 300 and 600 calories,” said McPherson, “depending on your hooping intensity.”
Despite the hard work, the fun aerobic activity has many people hooked on hooping. “It was lots of fun, and adding arm movements really got my heart racing,” said student Tammy Slauson.
“It’s fun! And you feel it in your core. And you can feel it in your legs,” said Krudewig. “It’s just a different kind of movement.”
McPherson makes her own hoops for the students, which are custom-made according to the participant’s height. And, the hoops are collapsible.
Originally published on CBSNews.com, 2.18.11