Hype or Happening? Fitness

Will weighted hula hoops help with your fitness regimen?

Hula hoops have been around for longer than Shakira’s belly-shimmying in her 2006 chartbuster ‘Hips Don’t Lie’. Used by children world over as a toy to twirl around their waists, hands and necks, the fitness community co-opted it to make it a part of aerobic exercise regimens. However, if you are looking to buy one, you will find options of getting either a regular dance hoop, or a weighted hoop. The latter has a greater mass of plastic, rubber or metal, and weighs one to three kilograms — some go up to five kilograms.

They are generally marketed for weight-loss. “To spin a weighted hoop you would have to recruit more muscle fibres, and so the possibility of burning more calories is higher,” says Dr Kannan Pugazhendi, Chennai-based sports medicine physician, adding, “It will tone your muscles.”

Hyderabad-based hula hoop trainer and artiste Supriya Srivastav says your choice of which hoop to use depends on what you are looking to get out of hooping. “You can use weighted hoops for an on-body core workout,” she says, but reminds us that they should be an addition to a cardio workout. “There is no such thing as spot reduction. You need to work every part of the body, including your arms, legs, neck, chest.” The problem with weighted hula hoops is that they can’t be transitioned from one body part to the other like a regular hoop. “You can’t use it on your chest, and if you’re doing it on your belly, you can’t move it down to your legs,” she says. “That’s why it has to be an add-on. Doing just weighted hoops and expecting it to give you overall fitness is a myth.”

If you’re just starting out hula hooping, do start with regular ones, instead of weighted ones, as the chances of injury are greater in the latter. Moreover, adds Dr Kannan, “I wouldn’t advise children to use weighted hoops, because their muscular tissue is not fully developed.”

In summation, hoops make for good aerobic workouts — especially for people with back pain, once they are cleared for this exercise. But remember not to fall under the trap of thinking that the heavier the hoop, the better. A little bit of weight is okay, but too much can only increase your chances of injury.

Are they a fitness necessity? Absolutely not.

In this column, we decode health trends and decide if it’s all just ‘hype’ or actually ‘happening’

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 10:03:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fitness/will-weighted-hula-hoops-help-with-your-fitness-regimen/article28821849.ece

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